Best Practice in Innovative Design Guidelines for the Open Space Network at Metropolitan and Local Level

Published at: 29 November 2011

The open space system is put forward again in recent masterplan schemes, whose strategic framework is characterised by continuity and chain paradigm. This has become a crucial component for the regeneration and integration of the inner and modern city with the contemporary urban fringe. The importance of this research field stems from the great availability in contemporary global cities, coupled with the abandoned land, left over space remaining from the settlement process.

The questions addressed in this research deals with a number of issues.These are: first, the way these areas are associated to very different typologies and factors (real estate residues, minor roads, old railway routes disused, old valley lines broken, green rural residues, left over space after planning); second, how these are subject to improper use (warehouses, temporary vegetable gardens, improvised play areas, unauthorised parking lots, etc.) or inadequate use (green public spaces divided into town districts). Finally, how design tend to ignore these residual spaces or to use them in a fragmented vision of public and green spaces. Generally, the re-use of these spaces has been episodic. Its motivations were mostly connected to the centrality land values, as well as to the agents' contingent intentions, purely for densification purposes (“to fill in gaps”) or to protect the empty space. The hypothesis is to re-use these areas (left over space, abandoned land, brownfield site) to built green chains viewed not only as an ecological recuperation of the city's environment quality but also as an occasion to find space for the social aggregation and as an opportunity to give a unitary design and formal quality for the whole city and its parts. The research unit would like to give to Marghera case study, analyzed by the IUAV unit, a group of best practice in innovative design guidelines (functional mix, technological solutions, qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods, management for land reclamation,…). These international examples are selected on the capacity: to contribute to the realization of the open space network at metropolitan and local level; to offer a set of design typology for different contemporary city context. The research focuses on: - the new significance of the urban open space, which uses the chain/network concept design of continuity/integration; - the role it can play as an urban regeneration and integration instrument, starting from the re-use of abandoned and left over space; - the real feasibility and efficacy, combined with its limits, of the general thesis and the first design experimentation on these themes. Rilevant typology of re-use to investigate are: - morphological hollow and deposit materials for naturalization project; - old river and canal for naturalization (ex. Boye System in Essen) and for leisure and sport activities - harbour for new waterfront (ex. Inner Harbour in Duisburg) - industrial path for the new urban pattern - old railways and mayor industrial infrastructure for linear park, or pedestrian and cycling network (ex. Munich and Aachen); - industrial manufactory in the inner city and industrial pattern for leisure/cultural buildings, for luxury residential neighbourhood and for social housing; - large pavement for permeabile space; - urban residual trees for urban forestry. Emscher Park is brownfields redevelopment, started in 1991, on a massive scale. Emscher Park lies in the Ruhr valley of northwestern Germany, once the heartland of Europe's steel and coal industries. With the restructuring of these heavy industries, derelict steel works and abandoned coal mining operations spread throughout the northern Ruhr region (high unemployment, environmental contamination,...).

The State Government of NorthRhine-Westphalia created a regional redevelopment approach -- the Internationale Bauausstellung E.P.- International Building Exhibition EP/IBA. IBA is confronting the complex regional challenges of repairing the environmental damage left behind from these heavy industries, while also designing urban communities of the future. IBA has achieved in 10 year the ecological, economic, and urban revitalization of the Ruhr valley and the Emscher River through the creation of collaborative partnerships with local authorities, private industry, professional associations, environmental groups, and citizens.

The aim of the conferences is to think at the Emscher case study as occasion to offer different tipologies of reuse. The conference is part of 3 research project:

- Urban regeneration: visions and strategies, prof. Anna Palazzo, DIPSU Roma Tre;

- Open space system, arch. Lucia Nucci, DIPSU Roma Tre;

- Re-Think Marghera, arch. Esther Giani with Prof. Giancarlo Carnevale, IUAV.