Research project of national interest (PRIN) 2015

Conference  January 28th-31st, 2019                                                                                                                                                    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NATURE AND WELL-BEING IN THE DESIGN OF CONTEMPORARY PUBLIC SPACE

 

Premise

Health and wellbeing can profoundly influence the structure and contents of the contemporary city. In the nineteenth century, the ill body of the city was subject to surgical transplants ad city parks, like green lungs, were destined to have a purifying role in hygiene and education, while ill parts were substituted. In recent years, the medical metaphor of tissue regeneration has replaced that of surgery. Today it seems necessary to start thinking about design operations that are aimed at the achievement of urban conditions which improve the health of people living in the city, involving architecture from a strategic and operational point of view.
Examining the relation with nature and landscape that large “artificialized” open urban spaces establish within the contemporary city has been a specific key to understand the theme of Prin Research 2015 “The city as a cure and the care of the city”. The Conference aims to investigate the relations between health, architecture and city, focusing on the contemporary public space, starting from the overcoming of the traditional idea of urban park. Four sessions, dedicated to the themes of architecture and landscape, will host contributions, points of view and projects elaborated on these themes, aiming to a comparison among different national and international experiences.


URBAN DESIGN AND HEALTH: THE ARCHITECTURE AS THE CURE
In the idea of redefining the role of park, not as a fence yet as a connection and cure for citizens’ health, closed and single-purpose spaces lose sense and acquire an accomplished meaning within a logic of very articulate urban relations. A map of new spaces and buildings, with specific architectural and social characteristics, is in need to be defined, in order to identify landscapes affected by dynamics of change, starting from trigger points and elements.
These propulsive regenerative nodes of contemporary open space are represented by functional and aggregative clumps and by their interiors, such as schools, hospitals, interchanges mobility nodes, becoming new points of architectural experimentation. This opens a review process on the typology of buildings and on their relation with the open space that, deeply modified, may induce a new functional and relational capacity of the building, based on the public and urban character. Sports galleries, garden-halls, therapeutic terraces, kitchen-gardens, recreational and prevention areas, could be grafted into the existing or newly constructed urban structure, in a complex way between enclosed and open space. This deals with an operation of “reduction” and, at the same time, of “amplification” which allows existing spatial and constructive figures to breathe and, reinterpreted as articulated and open ensembles, to be completely modified, integrated and redefined.


NATURE AND HEALTH: LANDSCAPE AS PUBLIC NATURE in the city
Landscape has appeared often in the history of humanity, as a salvific, healing and therapeutic element. This has always taken on different forms so that, while landscape, in the common consideration, seems unchanged, on the contrary it is in constant transformation also in relation to the “salvific authenticity” search for the origin, to the role that Nature offers as defender of a healthy and well-being condition for humanity and environment.
Landscape Design as Public Nature puts collective and natural space at the center of any discussion, conferring the primary role with significant results on living issues, establishing the contemporary civic life in cities and communities: this is the node from which to consider a position of responsibility within the practice of design.
Open space is indeed the place of democracy, which gains the status of a living and changing thing and this is because it welcomes and belongs to everyone. Public Nature - in landscape design – promotes practices at the various scales of intervention. It is, today, synonymous of commitment and responsibility, freedom and community, rest and free time.

ITALY HEALTH-CITY OBSERVATORY
Italian territory governmental policies which act in relation to the urban health theme are today characterized by a secondary approach. For this reason, the construction of an Observatory is important in order to reflect on initiatives, actions and processes that deal with health issues in Italian cities, starting from research and experimentations conducted in Rome, Venice and Naples. It is therefore very significant to investigate the most relevant experiences active or in an preliminary phase, to establish a comparison and draw a broader and more complex picture on the Italian situation. On the one hand, the main objective is to verify the health conditions of cities, identifying their structural deficiencies from an urban point of view and presenting their epidemiological status; on the other hand, to present the effective strategies and new projects that have been proposed in order to improve the quality of citizens’ life and the cities’ conditions.
In this perspective, the main objects of discussion are the initiatives and interventions that affect buildings and public spaces and soft mobility, able to address the issue of urban health promotion through systemic operations, deepened according to many aspects such as territorial area, actors, initiative typology, scale and field of action, spaces involved.
The proposed operation is ultimately instrumental in order to reveal scenarios where the interweaving of the different aspects generates exemplary cases, in which citizen care and welfare from collateral becomes a central objective in the overall picture of Italian cities urban regeneration.

ITALY HEALTH-CITY OBSERVATORY
Italian territory governmental policies which act in relation to the urban health theme are today characterized by a secondary approach. For this reason, the construction of an Observatory is important in order to reflect on initiatives, actions and processes that deal with health issues in Italian cities, starting from research and experimentations conducted in Rome, Venice and Naples. It is therefore very significant to investigate the most relevant experiences active or in an preliminary phase, to establish a comparison and draw a broader and more complex picture on the Italian situation. On the one hand, the main objective is to verify the health conditions of cities, identifying their structural deficiencies from an urban point of view and presenting their epidemiological status; on the other hand, to present the effective strategies and new projects that have been proposed in order to improve the quality of citizens’ life and the cities’ conditions.
In this perspective, the main objects of discussion are the initiatives and interventions that affect buildings and public spaces and soft mobility, able to address the issue of urban health promotion through systemic operations, deepened according to many aspects such as territorial area, actors, initiative typology, scale and field of action, spaces involved.
The proposed operation is ultimately instrumental in order to reveal scenarios where the interweaving of the different aspects generates exemplary cases, in which citizen care and welfare from collateral becomes a central objective in the overall picture of Italian cities urban regeneration.