Urban regeneration projects and initiatives are producing, especially in the last thirty years, a strong change in the pattern of urban public spaces in European cities: architectural design stands as a true «treatment of space» (Emery, 2008), where its purpose is to «protect the public value of undeveloped natural areas» disclosing «the strategic preciousness of places even if minimal» (Ottolini, 2002). Within this new process of transformation, rediscovery and new configurations of urban public spaces, water is recognized as an important resource structuring the new open spaces, thanks to a new ecological awareness, reading the form and the role in order to adapt to the changes that the city and society have matured. This paper dwells on a specific case study that explains how the architectural process, within the design of the water presence in the territory, becomes an important feature for re-qualification, designing the public space for the community. The case study is sited in the north of Milan, in the middle of the città infinita (Bonomi, 2004), where, after Milan-city, we have the most populous and urbanized territory of the entire region. In this part of the region we can find a density of 4.000 inhab/km2 instead of 415 inhab/km2 according to the regional average. The city centers of this area spread around claiming all the space they could. The north of Milan is characterized by the presence, often forgotten, of the Villoresi Canal, a canal that links Ticino river to Adda river unraveling itself for 86 km. This canal is the opportunity and the resource that all the cities in the north should exploit. In this scarcity of free land, where all the cities are expanding, in 2001 Regione Lombardia started to give indications and rules to cities in order to preserve the landscape that is disappearing with time. Every water course, natural or man made, is considered a common patrimony, according to the regional decree, and so is the Villoresi canal. It is a water infrastructure in origin built in the countryside with the only purpose of irrigation. Nowadays, the cities moved forward, surrounding the canal without it becoming a feature of the city-life. The 2001 law gives to the canal 10 meters on each side of free unbuilt space and promotes in an area of 200 meters roughly, green connections, pedestrian and cycle paths, ecological corridors... The canal will become the most important thread of the net that can link all the cities in the north of Milan and it can become an example for similar metropolitan areas. A network of relations that can generate new public spaces. In this way the water could come back to play a central role not only in the conformation of the open spaces of the city but also in social processes, returning to the community new living spaces: architecture as «the weighed construction of space» (L. I. Kahn: Bonati, 2002) with its geometry, its dimensions, from the planimetric relations with the context to the scale of furniture, the human scale. The project becomes the interpreter of places of the city in direct contact with water, forming a complex network of relationships. It’s all about grasping the potential that the complex experiential relationship between man and water allows, interweaving with the living body, full of signs and tracks, of the open spaces of the city.

Change the city, Design the Water

GALLIZIOLI, CATERINA
2013

Abstract

Urban regeneration projects and initiatives are producing, especially in the last thirty years, a strong change in the pattern of urban public spaces in European cities: architectural design stands as a true «treatment of space» (Emery, 2008), where its purpose is to «protect the public value of undeveloped natural areas» disclosing «the strategic preciousness of places even if minimal» (Ottolini, 2002). Within this new process of transformation, rediscovery and new configurations of urban public spaces, water is recognized as an important resource structuring the new open spaces, thanks to a new ecological awareness, reading the form and the role in order to adapt to the changes that the city and society have matured. This paper dwells on a specific case study that explains how the architectural process, within the design of the water presence in the territory, becomes an important feature for re-qualification, designing the public space for the community. The case study is sited in the north of Milan, in the middle of the città infinita (Bonomi, 2004), where, after Milan-city, we have the most populous and urbanized territory of the entire region. In this part of the region we can find a density of 4.000 inhab/km2 instead of 415 inhab/km2 according to the regional average. The city centers of this area spread around claiming all the space they could. The north of Milan is characterized by the presence, often forgotten, of the Villoresi Canal, a canal that links Ticino river to Adda river unraveling itself for 86 km. This canal is the opportunity and the resource that all the cities in the north should exploit. In this scarcity of free land, where all the cities are expanding, in 2001 Regione Lombardia started to give indications and rules to cities in order to preserve the landscape that is disappearing with time. Every water course, natural or man made, is considered a common patrimony, according to the regional decree, and so is the Villoresi canal. It is a water infrastructure in origin built in the countryside with the only purpose of irrigation. Nowadays, the cities moved forward, surrounding the canal without it becoming a feature of the city-life. The 2001 law gives to the canal 10 meters on each side of free unbuilt space and promotes in an area of 200 meters roughly, green connections, pedestrian and cycle paths, ecological corridors... The canal will become the most important thread of the net that can link all the cities in the north of Milan and it can become an example for similar metropolitan areas. A network of relations that can generate new public spaces. In this way the water could come back to play a central role not only in the conformation of the open spaces of the city but also in social processes, returning to the community new living spaces: architecture as «the weighed construction of space» (L. I. Kahn: Bonati, 2002) with its geometry, its dimensions, from the planimetric relations with the context to the scale of furniture, the human scale. The project becomes the interpreter of places of the city in direct contact with water, forming a complex network of relationships. It’s all about grasping the potential that the complex experiential relationship between man and water allows, interweaving with the living body, full of signs and tracks, of the open spaces of the city.
“Changing Cities” Spatial, morphological, formal & socio-economic dimensions
9789606865657
water; urban waterfront; infrastructure; Villoresi Canal
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/781319
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