Laura Fregolent, Università Iuav di Venezia; Laura Pogliani, Politecnico di Milano


Eco-Districts are a 20-year experience in the design of sustainable urban settlements, characterized by a particular attention to energy, environmental and soft mobility aspects. Under the broad meaning of Eco-Districts we have different examples, in terms of size, objectives and sustainability issues in some European capitals (Paris, Amsterdam, London, Helsinki, Copenhagen and Stockholm) but also in smaller urban centres, such as Malmö, Freiburg, Hannover, Grenoble, Linz, occasionally developed as part of extraordinary urban events. In Italy, Bolzano, Trento and Faenza are best known cases. Trento and Faenza Districts have proved to be problematic from a real estate point of view.
Despite the support of European programmes on urban sustainability and notwithstanding a good success in the media, there is still no real critical review of such experiences. What were the weakest points in the implementation process? Undeniable results have been achieved in terms of innovation in construction methods, management of resource cycles (water, energy, waste) and environmental performance (permeability, open spaces) at the neighbourhood scale, as well as improvements in pedestrian cycling. However, all successful results do not seem to be counterbalanced by convincing responses in the field of social inclusiveness and empowerment of local authorities and economic operators.
By discussing some cases and by means of a multi-voiced reflection, the seminar will try to investigate the reasons and address the results of Eco-Districts. The review can offer the opportunity to understand the conditions for a future revitalisation of this experience. In a perspective of territorial regeneration, the debate must focus on the issues of sustainable living.