We are based in Bologna

April 6, 2013
By City Space Architecture

Right after the war, the Emilia-Romagna Region is the place where, better than in other Italian Regions, the debate on the issues of the city and its regulations develops. In Bologna a cultural discussion is formed, contributing significantly to the founding of the National Institute of Urban Planning in 1930, policies and plans find an opportunity for experimentation: INA casa projects (1949), designed by famous architects working in the national context, projects of suburbs outside the urban perimeter, the historical center conservation plan (Cervellati, 1969), policies for preservation of cultural heritage and rehabilitation of degraded areas, located near central areas, after the replacement of industrial or productive functions, actions for increase in value of modern architecture buildings (2002), as an expression of urban quality. The planning instruments operating in the regional context, for the realization of plans and programs, correspond to the founding principles of the original program of urban planning discipline (1942) and to the prescriptive system that allowed a wider application, widely recognized.

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Bologna

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But during Nineties a progressive loss of legitimacy of urban planning discipline as an instrument of urban policy, as a consequence of an increasingly bureaucratic method based on prescriptive rules, seems to open a season of substantial powerlessness of urban action. In the face of economic and financial crisis, as well as the crisis of welfare and governance, as we see today, it is essential to develop a new critical comprehensive thinking, able to be accompanied by the ability to experiment and innovate less conventional operational methods, able to face all questions that requires to plan and design in contradictory, unpredictable and uncertainty conditions. New urban conflicts, new problems of citizenship and social cohesion, new conditions of inequality and insecurity, new designs and life styles, make it necessary - at the basis of a reflective urban action - a new ability to listen, communicate and share. A more open creative capacity is required in order to be able to imagine scenarios of next changes - the eco-city, the smart city, the digital city 2.0 and the urban network, the city with the innovative management of technology flows of knowledge and communication, etc. - and to deal with problems, more and more present, of public-private process and to seek a balance between the sensible forms of contract and the schedule of the regulatory plan.

The actions promoted by the Emilia-Romagna Region and by the city of Bologna, at the beginning of 2000, are the result of a critical review of urban planning outcomes of past years, with the aim to promote a renovated urban theory, fully aware of its task, careful to this and forward-looking, able to interpret the problematic relationship between urbanism and society, to work with updated tools and to promote effective action.

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About this topic, you can read more in the monographic issue, edited by Piero Orlandi and our President Luisa Bravo, entitled "Città e Regione in Emilia-Romagna. Il progetto di un territorio e la sua storia", in the open access e-journal IN_BO. Ricerche e progetti per il territorio, la città e l'architettura, Vol. 4, n. 6 (2013), published by the Department of Architecture, University of Bologna.