The fourth edition of Urbanpromo Green 2020 confirms its approach aimed at deepening the forms and modalities of the guiding principle of sustainability in city and territory planning, and in the designing and implementation of interventions, by making interact theory and practice, the technical-scientific profile and the concrete experiences. The event develops an articulated framework of themes that are explored in conferences and seminars, carried out in various ways.
The protagonist of the opening conference is the RUS – Rete delle Università per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile, whose initiative is a part of the pre-festival ASVIS – Alleanza per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile. The conference, in plenary session, investigates the relationship between the University and the urban reference systems from three perspectives.
The first one is endogenous, and is aimed at planning, models of spatial, environmental, technological, and energy structure of a sustainable campus.
A second point of view is exogenous, and investigates the synergies between universities and the urban system in terms of the ability to trigger complex processes of regeneration of urban fabrics and the creation of new economies. The third glance is transversal, and develops the University’s relationship with institutions, bodies, associations, companies, businesses and its impact on the economic-social and territorial aspects.
A wide spectrum of issues are subsequently addressed.
The issue of urban density has gained a leading position in the debate about the post-Covid city.
In recent times the compactness of the settlements, as opposed to the “widespread city”, was considered as a sort of “antidote” to the environmental and climatic crisis generated by the urbanization processes. In the period following the outbreak of the pandemic, the contents of the urban planning debate underwent an authentic reversal. However, if an important factor of danger is seen in urban concentration, the relevant benefits that dense cities are able to generate are underestimated. It is therefore necessary to identify a balance point between opposing theses and to extract useful indications to improve urban quality from significant experiences.
The policies aimed at limiting the effects of climate change put in place by the cities are expressing best practices that deserve to be compared in order to highlight the innovations to be introduced in urban planning, the various measures intended to affect the quality of the city , the technical evolution of public works. The resilience and antifragility policies of the administrations also involve private companies, joint companies, universities, associations.
The “resilient city” in recent years has activated an important line of analysis and design proposals especially with reference to climate change and natural disasters. The outbreak of the pandemic has strongly grafted new imperatives into the idea of the “resilient city”. A new source of needs to be met with urban, housing and production solutions, with urban systems and social networks, which put urban communities in a position to face new emergencies that are no longer only environmental, but also health, social and economic. From the most recent life experiences, some reflections for the future of the city.
The presence and quality of green in cities, as an essential component of sustainable urban development, is at the heart of the urban planning policies of many municipal Administrations. Initiatives realized or in progress, sometimes are aimed at recover spaces in densely built-up fabrics, other times they reorganize the fragmented green of urbanistic standards, other times they still leverage the forms of active citizenship to manage public green in abandonment.
The objective of the production of ecosystem services and the strategy of urban microsurgery are materializing in numerous projects. In this context, the value of green, in its multiple forms, for the quality of life in cities and for human health is the subject of an interdisciplinary analysis.
The Eco-districts are now twenty years of experience in the design of sustainable urban settlements, characterized by particular attention to the energy, environmental and soft mobility aspects. It therefore deserves to make a critical balance of these experiences, to deepen the results obtained in terms of innovation of construction methods, management of resource cycles (water, energy, waste) and environmental performance (permeability, open spaces) at district scale , in addition to improvements in bicycle and pedestrian traffic. It deserves also to verify if these results have been accompanied by appropriate responses in the field of social inclusiveness and the empowerment of local authorities and economic operators.
The theme of “landscapes in transition” is as current as catalyst for critical issues.
In Puglia, in the landscapes devastated by the xylella, the reconstruction of the landscape is assigned, for better or worse, to the individual agricultural production initiatives with results that deserve to be examined to define appropriate strategies.
In Italy there are numerous quarries in which the mining activity has ceased for some time: most of the time they are abandoned and affected by spontaneous renaturation processes, but are sometimes the subject of reuse projects for recreational and cultural functions.
The territories devastated by the earthquake host temporary ruins and settlements, waiting – for too long – to find their own identity even in new landscapes appropriate to their history. A reconnaissance together with proposals for the future.
The effort to make the city increasingly accessible to all with its services and opportunities has to meet very diverse needs in changing contexts. The ageing population, on the one hand, and climate change on the other, have interdependencies that deserve to be explored under the profile of a “city accessible to all”. A deepening with a strong social connotation.
In the field of soft mobility, the growth of national and local initiatives aimed at realizing new cycle routes urges us to create a systemic vision. Not only to represent, even if still in pieces, the new network that individual initiatives could contribute to forming. But also to make evident and enhance the interdependencies between infrastructure, communities, cities, landscapes. A line of research, documentation, institutional and social interaction, which deserves to be followed and supported during its evolution.
The relationship between the city dimension and the water continues to be a fundamental driver for urban transformation. The same projection of the port city, disputed between the verticality of the fondaco house and the indefinite spatiality of the sea, between the logistical and commercial function that has always been inherent to it and the needs of representation of the classes that govern it, constitutes a continuous source of stimuli to understand urban and territorial dynamics.
The complex theme of the “port cities”, the permanence and the change of its paradigms, from those expressed through the duty-free allowances to those that mark their evolution from port city to tourist city, are the subject of specific study.
The wood and natural materials are emerging as one of the most significant innovations in the field of building and urban design. Ancient materials, or constituent manufacturing waste, which have been rediscovered, and sometimes discovered, as capable of significant technical performance. In international experience, the use of wood and the recovery of processing waste tend to develop possible synergies for a totally “bio” design and construction. In Italy an unavoidable term of reference are the Minimum Environmental Criteria, introduced by the legislator to improve the quality of buildings. Among the ongoing trials, an experimental project of temporary housing units has reached the operational phase.
In the city, the production of construction waste, namely the inert materials from the construction and demolition sector, is the most relevant type of special not dangerous waste. It therefore becomes extremely important to be able to reuse and recover this material as much as possible. The spread of good managementpractices for construction and demolition waste, in the spirit of the objectives and activities of the ICESP platform, is aimed at highlighting the enabling factors and the limits that the national and local context exerts on the transferability and replicability of the practices.
The parts of the cities built in the immediate post-war period and up to the 1980s need to rebuild a new urban image, and the national building heritage requires to be improved in terms of energy efficiency and anti-seismic safety. As a measure of support for the economy, the cost of interventions that can be used for tax deductions has recently been increased up to 110%. However, lights and shadows appear on the effective effectiveness of tax incentives as a lever for the overall improvement of the building heritage of our country. Useful clarifications are expected from the experts of the institutions in charge and from the sector operators.
The situation created due to the Covid 19 emergency has given a new acceleration to the debate about the food policy. The pandemic has highlighted, on the one hand, how the characteristics of the food system can influence the well-being of the city and interact with its transformations, on the other how important the connections with the surrounding area are and how much the globalization of consumption has now distorted this relationship, changing our behaviour and our cities. During the long months of the emergency, expectations, guidelines and practices have emerged, that probably will produce longer-term transformations, not only in the food system, on which it is worth reflecting.
The rethinking of the development models proposed by the circular economy requires to review all the stages of production linked to the use of primary resources and to pay attention to the entire production cycle, through the enhancement not only of natural capital (primary resources and environmental impacts), but also social (work and well-being) and economic (investments and incomes). For a full adhesion to this paradigm it is necessary to have analysis and evaluation models capable, on the one hand, of helping to identify the causal and retroactive connections between the different elements of the system, and, on the other, of highlighting the complex system of underlying economic convenience. From here, the usefulness of a state of art verification in the evaluation field.
On these and other relevant issues that animate the studies and designs inspired by the idea of sustainability, Urbanpromo Green 2020 involves the vast community made up of State bodies, Regions and Municipalities, other public subjects holding various skills, professional orders, associations, professionals, research and training world, companies producing goods and services that contribute to the realization of sustainable development.
The scientific and political-cultural results achieved on each of the proposed themes give life to the plenary session with which the fourth edition of Urbanpromo Green ends.