Cities resulted more vulnerable to major global challenges, such as climate change and the pandemic. Indeed, cities are the places where most of the global population is concentrated; the high level of anthropisation caused a total break with the rest of the biosphere and the concentration of air pollutants poses health issues and is also proven to be correlated with the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic. Historical districts are even more fragile due to the compactness of the urban structure. Considering the urgency of these issues, urban resilience strategies has been a key topic in research for several decades. However, these strategies are often based on standardised actions, easily applicable to peripheral or recent areas, but not suitable for historical centres. Indeed, large-scale renaturing processes are hardly implemented in historical districts where transformable public space is lacking, and similarly new spaces designed for social distancing barely match the compact urban fabric. Overcoming these limitations requires a change of perspective and the re-placing of cultural specificities at the very centre of resilience strategies. The international debate fully support this approach, as remarked in the The Hangzhou Declaration (2013), which recognized the active role of cultural haritage for enhancing “the resilience of communities to disasters and climate change”. To further explore the topic, the case study of Milan (Italy) was investigated. Milan is located in one of the most polluted areas in Europe. It has been experiencing the effects of climate change for years, especially in terms of rising temperatures, and was one of the cities most affected by the pandemic. Moreover, Milan is at the forefront of experimentation with innovative strategic planning. However, its historical centre is still marginally involved in urban adaptation processes. In this study, we analyse the specific urban and architectural features of the historical centre and we focus on the role of residential courtyards. In the past, these courtyards were places for socialising, integrating greeneries into the compact city and an extension of the public space of the street. Today they are underused and degraded spaces, dedicated to waste collection and car parking. The courtyards network represents a neglected potential for the re-naturalisation of the centre, which can have consistent benefits in terms of climate mitigation, psycho-physical benefits associated with the contact with nature and a more equitable distribution of green areas. The widespread distribution of these spaces makes them privileged places for recreating micro-scale social interactions. Lastly, due to their shape, courtyards have a better microclimate than the outside, and thus can represent shelters from summer heat waves, especially useful for the most vulnerable segments of the population. The results of the study are closely linked to the specificities of the context, but the methodology and general considerations can be extended to most European cities, linking resilience strategies with the idea that “heritage value and significance may be embodied in the uses, meanings, and associations of a place, in addition to the physical fabric” (Cassar, 2009). The contribution is part of YADESMSCA RISE Project.

Re-starting from cultural heritage to design the resilience of historical urban centres

nerantzia tzortzi;maria stella lux
2022

Abstract

Cities resulted more vulnerable to major global challenges, such as climate change and the pandemic. Indeed, cities are the places where most of the global population is concentrated; the high level of anthropisation caused a total break with the rest of the biosphere and the concentration of air pollutants poses health issues and is also proven to be correlated with the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic. Historical districts are even more fragile due to the compactness of the urban structure. Considering the urgency of these issues, urban resilience strategies has been a key topic in research for several decades. However, these strategies are often based on standardised actions, easily applicable to peripheral or recent areas, but not suitable for historical centres. Indeed, large-scale renaturing processes are hardly implemented in historical districts where transformable public space is lacking, and similarly new spaces designed for social distancing barely match the compact urban fabric. Overcoming these limitations requires a change of perspective and the re-placing of cultural specificities at the very centre of resilience strategies. The international debate fully support this approach, as remarked in the The Hangzhou Declaration (2013), which recognized the active role of cultural haritage for enhancing “the resilience of communities to disasters and climate change”. To further explore the topic, the case study of Milan (Italy) was investigated. Milan is located in one of the most polluted areas in Europe. It has been experiencing the effects of climate change for years, especially in terms of rising temperatures, and was one of the cities most affected by the pandemic. Moreover, Milan is at the forefront of experimentation with innovative strategic planning. However, its historical centre is still marginally involved in urban adaptation processes. In this study, we analyse the specific urban and architectural features of the historical centre and we focus on the role of residential courtyards. In the past, these courtyards were places for socialising, integrating greeneries into the compact city and an extension of the public space of the street. Today they are underused and degraded spaces, dedicated to waste collection and car parking. The courtyards network represents a neglected potential for the re-naturalisation of the centre, which can have consistent benefits in terms of climate mitigation, psycho-physical benefits associated with the contact with nature and a more equitable distribution of green areas. The widespread distribution of these spaces makes them privileged places for recreating micro-scale social interactions. Lastly, due to their shape, courtyards have a better microclimate than the outside, and thus can represent shelters from summer heat waves, especially useful for the most vulnerable segments of the population. The results of the study are closely linked to the specificities of the context, but the methodology and general considerations can be extended to most European cities, linking resilience strategies with the idea that “heritage value and significance may be embodied in the uses, meanings, and associations of a place, in addition to the physical fabric” (Cassar, 2009). The contribution is part of YADESMSCA RISE Project.
978-618-84403-7-1
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/1218568
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