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Ideas of city and urban transformations



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In the post-industrial time, the process of transformation and growth of the city assumes new names that are very different from those traditionally taken into account by urban history: terms such as New Towns, mega-cities, city/region, Global City, Hyperville, StadtLand, Technopolis, urban archipelago, Urban Islands, New Urbanism, Smart City and others, testify to how population displacement caused by de-industrialization and the computerization of communication in everyday life are evident phenomena of a urban and social reality that comes to the fore with the strength of rapid change and powerful, widespread economies of scale. Among the phenomena that in the last twenty years of the 20th Century created a genuine revolution in the urban structures of the world’s industrial cities, two should be considered crucial: the gradual closure of many productive activities that occupied large parts of urban territory, linked to the abandonment of various obsolete public infrastructures, and the progressive formation of an extended city spreading out along the major lines of communication, also in areas not physically connected to the traditional urban periphery. Also in Italy, the question of re-using land already built on and abandoned constructions provided the opportunity to reintroduce the three themes of urban and architectural research that were typical of previous decades: the morphology of the compact city, the architectural typology as an element of shared civil rules, the conversion and restoration of existing buildings, which includes the historical querelle between ancient and modern. At long last, the need for projects to include urban and architectural quality has started to become an objective that is publicly acknowledged, one that is sought after through the medium of public and private design contests.




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