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2013 edition

Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Forlì

urban theatrality, Our Via Emilia, compact city, post-earthquake emergency 
One theme, various problems

The title of the new edition of the Festival of Architecture introduces a multifaceted problem that is characterizing the evolution of the city, and in this case the cities of Emilia, in line with a European framework of possible, not to say indispensable, comparison.
The problem of urban theatricality emerges at the moment when the city ceases to expand and necessarily must look to itself thereby highlighting that lack of an identifying image as well as of liveability and belonging that has marked its recent development. How can we retrieve through the tools of architecture and the urban project a condition in which the city, in particular that of the suburbs, becomes a theatre of the relationships and social representativeness that animate it?
To this particular issue is linked the search for suitable models to interpret transformation and densification processes of the urban body, within the meaning of the so-called compact city according to a logic of restructuring the urban morphology, in particular the one that has developed through the mere addition of buildings and spaces with no formal denotation. The return of the second state of progress of the 2013 Spinner research on urban centrality, in comparison with other European cases, foreshadows an advancement in the focus on possible scenarios where it is possible to combine densification and a renewed sense of urban places.
The two thousand and second anniversary of the foundation of the Via Emilia finally brings the urban theme to its poleogenetic origin as manifested in the polycentric system of the cities of Western Emilia revealing extraordinary identity potential and possibilities for future transformation.
Finally, the case of the earthquake, and disasters in general, calls for the development of answers on settlement aspects by cities in terms of prevention, organization of the emergency phase, activation of regenerative processes in the medium- to long-term. The recent Emilan case can provide a first résumé on how the range of answers have been interpreted and are developing today. In particular, the post-earthquake emergency phase introduces a series of methodological options on the criteria for reorganizing settlements which, it is to be hoped, can offer a systematisation for the future.


Prof. Carlo Quintelli, Director of the Festival of Architecture