What is the quality of a city? Ways of thinking spaces that change

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Submission Summary
Traditional planning deals with the nature of environmental decision-making but fails to formulate an overview of how the city changes. It is important to understand the effects of changes in scale, - the rate of growth and its speed - rather than pursuing the search for the optimal size of the city. The New Urban Agenda discussed the performance dimensions of the contemporary city environment knowing that the quality of place derives from joint effect with the society that uses it. How can the performance dimensions of a city be measured? _The effort is to find the value of metropolitan form that gives meaning to metropolitan projects. We define 4 dimensions: physical, economic, energy, social and governance to define the ethical axis that should guide the decision making of metropolitan projects and the assessment of their impact on a fragile and scarce territory. Therefore, the mutation of the heritage of the past is decisive for the realization of the metropolitan centralities, which establish another functioning, bringing to life the interweaving of past and present times passing from metropolitan, to city, and neighborhood scale. Rule and Model_ Metropolitan Paradigm (Ortiz) is the reference to measure the metropolis performance, otherwise, the quality-rules of a metropolis become indeterminate because every city-model is based on certain constants of the biological and cultural structure of territory and inhabitants. It is a paradigm of inter-scalar connection rather than an ordered sequence of spaces: Paradigm (which places its centralities) and Characteristic Figures (a way of qualifying the centralities to make them attractive with respect to the different Actors of the city). Metropolitan Architecture project_ Heterotopias (Shane) are hybrid architectural entities articulating scales (Fenton), urban-morphotypes (d'Alfonso) determining original configurations, new built form types (Simmonds). They are the foundation of mental maps at the metropolitan scale. As metropolitan fabric emerges the formation of a "body-space” (Shane). According to Rowe's reversal-code, open space is reversed from the background to the figure that works for the construction of a mental map of the void at the metropolitan scale. Its formal paradigm structured by eco-armatures (Goveurneur) allows the recognition of a conventional form and provides the potential for a system of gradation of public, semi-public, common and private spaces within a functional logic, allowing new architectural sign to express the value content of a society and its culture. The metropolitan architecture project’s form, - a function of creative and managerial moment -, allows the continuity of green-grey infrastructures through the built space and a gradient of privacy from public, to common to private. The city is still analyzed as a spatial phenomenon, being represented by data/quantities that are related to space. But the value of form plays a fundamental role within the metropolitan discipline at all scales, as spatial relationships within metropolitan settlements are increasingly not metric, but relational. Conclusions_ We identify "the nature of the connection that can exist between heterogeneous elements" (Shane) and the model to represent metropolitan quality-living related values, analyzing the settlement at the local scale that "requires a central master planner, planning agency for emergent systems, creating New Geography and new reading devices”. Maps for new territories, to reveal their quality and to recover their weaknesses. We have developed a tool that consists of a Glossary and open-source-spatialized-data maps Platform to connect the quantitative data with key quality concepts. We study physical reality and its impact on the lives of metropolitan inhabitants, socio-economic flows and the meaning of the concept of "environment" today; concepts too much entangled in the perspective of globalized and capitalist development.
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7: Shaping Liveable Places
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Assistant Professor
POLITECNICO DI MILANO, DAStU Department of Architecture and Urban Planning
Research Fellow MSLab - DASTu Politecnico di Milano - Ph.D. Student at ETSA Seville
Politecnico di Milano
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