The XVI edition of Urbanpromo Projects for the Country deals with a very articulated range of themes, which can be combined into three main thematic themes:
- landscape, environment and territory;
- contemporary city;
- city and society;
Come di consueto, ogni tema è trattato in convegni in cui le buone pratiche sono illustrate dai loro protagonisti all’interno di cornici scientifiche, culturali o giuridiche atte ad evidenziarne, di volta in volta, i tratti salienti.
LANDSCAPE, ENVIRONMENT AND TERRITORY
The theme “landscape, environment, territory” also consists of emerging themes, brought to the attention of administrations and operators starting from the first significant experiences.
Climate change has poured new imperatives on urban planning and building design. The alternation of long periods of drought with short and intense rains has brought to the fore the question of hydraulic invariance, which some Regions and Municipalities have begun to address by issuing norms that introduce strong stimuli to innovation in design. Hence, the opportunity to seize the most interested initiatives in order to induce emulative behavior.
The activity of the Regions and Municipalities in the regulatory field is finding an interesting ground of innovation in the field of Building Regulations. After having regulated the quality of the construction of Italian cities with norms based above all on dimensional relationships, then having been the subject of performance innovation and, more recently, of an important work of national unification, the building regulations are experiencing a phase of great innovation for effect of the affirmation of the principle of sustainability and therefore of the use of new materials and technologies.
The regeneration interventions of parts of degraded cities, which today are at the center of the administrations’ interests and the object of the main entrepreneurial initiatives, have their origin in the reclamation and demolition activities.
Land reclamation and demolition are important results in themselves, regardless of the final destination of the land, because they make the city healthier, put exhausted areas back into play, open up new projects. With regard to remediation, in several operational contexts the times and costs determined by the current regulatory framework are considered excessive and such as to conflict with the pursuit of the primary objective of environmental remediation. As far as demolitions are concerned, significant technical advances have been made in the field of differentiation and recycling, but it is not always possible to absorb the costs of demolitions in new construction interventions.
It is therefore worth taking stock of the existing criticalities in activities that are the basis of urban regeneration processes as well as of the methods designed to remove them, at least partially.
The current “contemporary city” aggregates a wide range of urban situations, each of which deserves, for its specificity, a thorough examination.
The headquarters of Urbanpromo 2019 – the Nuazza Lavazza in Turin – is an emblematic case of the regeneration of a degraded part of the city thanks to the use of private entrepreneurial and financial resources, in agreement with the Administration of the City. The urban, social and economic regeneration of parts of cities degraded through public-private partnerships is a central theme of the event, which aims to enhance and disseminate the most successful achievements and the most stimulating projects, to promote, by example, the start of redevelopment processes.
A particular situation is that which is common, under the specific owner profile, public real estate, in reality a very different universe in many other aspects. The “plan for the sale of public buildings”, which the Government is defining, interacts with numerous other tools of exploitation and alienation that can be used today. The fate of public buildings relates to the evolution of the urban context in which they are located, to the expectations of local communities, to the possibility of attracting private investments, to the trajectories of economic development of cities. Current programs and initiatives, with particular regard to good practices, deserve appropriate study.
Another particular situation is that of the port cities, involved in the reform that led to the institution of the Port System Authorities and open to innovative processes of port planning that involve extensive urban areas going beyond the fundamental maritime domain and regardless of the administrative boundaries of the Municipalities . The Port System Authorities – who have already had qualified opportunities for collegial confrontation in the previous editions of Urbanpromo – are today urged to set up sustainable development strategies that involve cities and their resources.
Still with regard to urban regeneration, a particular and important angle is that which favors the function of companies operating in commerce, tourism, services and transport, whose vitality is an essential ingredient of city life. The identification and enhancement of the most interesting experiments in progress in the country – from design laboratories to the creation of new markets to the conversion of abandoned areas – is an essential component of the event.
The role of culture in the promotion of urban redevelopment processes has more variations: the protagonism of museums and cultural institutions, the historical-architectural and landscape resources of cities, brands and promotion networks based on the example of the Unesco Creative Cities, the activating tools such as integrated culture plans for the enhancement of cultural assets and activities, innovation and social growth. Sometimes the attractive force of cultural assets is such as to produce undesirable effects on the resident population. Hence the opportunity to investigate processes, events and protagonists.
The “contemporary city” also needs to be able to grasp the critical issues affecting social fabrics and, starting from these, also the economic and urban ones. This in order to find appropriate remediation policies and strategies in terms of cultural growth, social inclusion, space-functional integration, service provision, efficiency and savings in the use of resources, security, removal of urban degradation. The scientific conference “The contemporary city: a giant with feet of clay. The new urban fragility and the tasks of urban planning “, promoted by INU / URBIT together with the magazines Urbanistica and Planum, urges the scientific community to produce analyzes, interpretations, proposals, experiences.
“Urban-promogiovani”, which aims to direct the training paths of future designers towards urban redevelopment and to disseminate the best works carried out by students in university teaching laboratories as part of an international comparison, is a fixture of the event since ten years.
CITY AND SOCIETY
The “city and society” strand is identified above all in the initiatives planned in the framework of “Urbanpromo Social Housing”.
“Urbanpromo Social Housing” is the only existing office in Italy in which every year all the subjects operating in the field of housing policies meet to take stock of current programs and reflect on the prospects of the sector. Year after year, the authoritativeness and representativeness of the speakers, the innovative content of the ideas, the quality of the projects exhibited, the openness to comparison of the experiences of other European countries, have fueled the growth of the event, whose prestige is undisputed.
In recent years the union between social housing and urban regeneration has been evident. It was therefore considered appropriate to enhance the interdependencies also in the cultural program of Urbanpromo, while maintaining the identity specifics of social housing.
Within “Urbanpromo Projects for the Country” the identity of “Urbanpromo Social Housing” emerges from the specificity of the three themes addressed in this edition.
A first theme is that of “access to community resources”. Community programs of financial support for social housing interventions place this particular destination within the great framework of social infrastructure, which also includes educational, health, welfare and other services. Access to community resources raises questions of significant importance, among which the identification and appropriate interpretation of funding sources is only preliminary. European experiences demonstrate how strategic vision, the ability to establish partnerships and the ability to successfully manage acquired resources are required.
The “enhancement of the social heritage”, in relation to these programs but also more generally to all investment programs, places people at the center of its attention, and therefore the methods and tools with which, in the most advanced experiences, is trying to create a community welfare, and therefore how, with this perspective, we are facing the phenomena of aging, immigration, impoverishment, depopulation.
Thirdly, the event intends to discuss the developments in the social housing sector with the impact investing approach, which is growing rapidly in the world as a result of the emergence of the EGS (environment, society & governance) logic in the allocation of its portfolios by large investors, not only non-profit ones but also profit ones. The exploration regards the great variety of subjects that act by measuring the social impact of their investments and the social housing models towards which they direct the commitment of resources.
The theme of “Cities and societies” also includes the theme of “Cities accessible to all”, developed in recent years by INU / URBIT both in conceptual and organizational terms. Accessibility is not just about overcoming architectural barriers, but also about perceptive, sensorial, cognitive, social, cultural and economic barriers. This approach was shared with the main associative expressions, with the university research groups active on the topic, with the Regions and the most committed Municipalities. The improvement of the living conditions of people with disabilities is the objective of this specific field of research and proposal.