Epic - PhD

Some PhD students from Università Iuav di Venezia take part in the EPIC research center and contribute to expanding researches and dialogues on the issues of “cities under pressure”. The research topics are different and range from climate adaptation to circular economy, from post disaster planning to future reconstruction strategies, from new technologies to planning in complex environments.


The other modernity of the reconstruction of Friuli

The reconstruction of Friuli after the earthquakes of 1976 is an example of an overall positive response to the recovery of heritage and the community development after a disaster. Main positive aspects of the reconstruction process were the choice to preserve urban fabric where it was as it was, the downward delegation system and the break with the earlier approach. The successful points and the limits of the choices made arise from analysis of the management system, from adopted tools and from results, both general and punctual, of the reconstruction. The relevance of the Friulian experience is also reflected in the comparison with other post-earthquake reconstructions in Italy. Starting from the study of the Friuli System and the comparison with subsequent strategies, it is therefore possible to identify valid characteristics to be carried on and updated for future reconstructions.


The city of differences

The division of urban populations by ethnicity, religion or social class is a common feature in historic cities and increasingly frequent in contemporary cities. Among the numerous analyses in this regard, the ethnologist Ralph Leon Beals describes this trend in the article “Urbanism, Urbanization and Acculturation” published in “American Anthropologist” in 1951: “It is a fairly well established dictum of urban studies that people tend to settle among their own kind”. Why inhabitants who share common cultural aspects grouped together? Is it spontaneous polarisations or programmed decisions? These are some of the questions that motivate the research project in this field. One of the objectives is to examine and compare pre-industrial settlements divided by ethnicity or religion, in order to draw new considerations for future social integration in cities.


From the neighborhood to the cellular city. The reconstruction of the small size

The research investigates the concept of neighborhood, meaning by neighborhood “a part of the city” according to the definition of Ludovico Quaroni that appears in the 1956 issue of La Casa journal, edited by him and entirely dedicated to the neighborhood. The rediscovery of this small dimension takes place in two directions: from the medieval age towards the present, studying those free cities of central-northern Italy that presented a subdivision of the city into neighborhoods and smaller units, according to an already developed form of administrative decentralization, and from the Second World War towards the Middle Ages, re-reading the literature and projects that proposed cities of neighborhoods, supporting the idea of a nuclear or cellular city, often referring to the towns of the Middle Ages. In a world that is moving towards the virtual and where the new means of transport and communication have allowed other forms of proximity, we maintain that for some things there is still a need for a direct physical relationship. The study of the advantages of the small size is therefore necessary.


Plans of Beauty and Happiness. The surviving morphology of the Hilltowns as an urban design model.

San Gimignano is different from many small Italian villages. An account of its urban development must be preceded by a brief reflection on the reasons for this diversity, which raise historical and methodological problems of a more general scope. San Gimignano occupies a unique place in history: it was a myth for urban designers and architects in the XX century, it’s still an example of medieval urban design, and can be an example for many projects of the future. Studying San Gimignano it’s not only a fascinating scientific task, but it’s important in order to explain a new form of project that can be valid in our age.


Emerging patterns of resilience systems in urban design and planning

The ongoing climate emergency is causing several stresses and shocks to urban environments, and cities face continuous emergencies with repercussions throughout the urban system. Through the notions and approaches of Climate Change Adaptation (CCA), Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Urban Resilience (UR), the thesis investigates the systemic effects of climate emergency at the local level. Of these disciplines, the different theoretical and operational frameworks defined at a global level are used to understand both the field of action available and how urban design and planning tools can intervene. By comparing emerging practices in European case studies, the thesis seeks a synthesis between theoretical and practical approaches to understanding how climate action is shaped within the fields of urban design and planning.


The Construction of a new gaze: The Valley Section Tool.

The research sheds light on a definition of a new “Survey” project overcoming mono-disciplinary approaches where society, space and the corresponding spatial organisations cannot be read in unison. Looking back at the legacy left to us by intellectuals such as Sir. Thomas Henry and Sir. Patrick Geddes, the research, through an evolutionary framework, defines the genesis of an idea, the history of an idea: “the Valley Section”. Assuming the “historical” dichotomic relationship between the ‘dividing water’ - which defines governmental spatiality - and the river basin, understood as that fundamental physiographic unit, the research explores how the ‘Valley Section’ can be defined as a model for the description and reading of today’s Italian territory. As a matter of fact, in a context of changed geography - environmental, social and economic transition - the re-reading process of the ‘Valley Section’ aims to be a veritable tool for planning and designing with inherent critical power, which has been largely lacking so far.


The Gulf of Trieste, a Landscape and Climate Adaptation Planning integration model for the Mediterranean basin.

A strong bond between maritime space, water and coastal settlements characterizes the Mediterranean basin. These features shaped the history and morphology of this territory. The Mediterranean coasts cope with complex environmental and social challenges: water scarcity, unsustainable agriculture, natural resources exploitation, bioregional systems depletion and an increase of climate change impacts on urban areas and coastal environments. Understanding and forecasting the evolution of this scenario - in terms of governance and morphology - is essential to undertake effective planning strategies and actions. The research bases on two main investigation axes: Regional Landscape Planning (RPP) and Climate Adaptation Planning (CAP). The research aims at identifying, integrating the RPP and CAP approaches, a transboundary planning model that can support a combined knowledge and strategic framework. The approach objective is to manage the Mediterranean coasts risks and opportunities. The methodology bases on a combined territorial unit defined as Landscape Transect (LT). The implementation of the LT on three different interaction contexts will test the LT performances and versatility, namely: Land-Sea (L-S), Trans-Alpine (T-A) and Metro-Urban (M-U). Specifically, the research aims at implementing the (L-S) LT on the Gulf of Trieste to demonstrate the validity and the replicability of the approach.