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“Social infrastructures” may contribute to the cultural and economic development of human settlements in the current cycle of territorial transformation, marked by the demolition of many urban areas due to the dismantlement of heavy industry. Our work method has been defined in detail by decades of experimentation, thanks to the results achieved. The approach is based on the canons of operations research: study of historical formation of settlements, valuation of the demand for conservation and transformation of the environment and the available territorial resources, description of probable and desirable scenarios of reorganization of the settlements; hypotheses of intervention and consequent development of architectural projects. Our researches do not infer any proposals from postulates; they are formulated on the basis of a comparison between territorial contexts, estimated demand and disciplinary heritage. This attitude facilitates the confrontation with other disciplines and with other subjects involved in the transformation, specially public administrations. The researches – completed and in progress – focus on functional systems, planning of parts of the city, designs of urban architectures. Study area The principal study area consists of the “Lombard polycentric city” (Milanese and Lombard urban system). Analyses of functional systems The researches: analyze functional systems (functions of community life); value their probable and desirable development in a medium-term period; propose intervention strategies that are adequate to the aims and coherent with the strategies for the control of the territory. The coherences are verified, in particular, in relation to mobility and accessibility, landscape and environment. The results consist of proposals for the territorial reorganization of the functional systems, the definition of the prerequisites (functional and dimensional) of new urban complexes, localization of interventions, specification of programs for interventions in relation to the site. The principal functional systems studied are: educational system (universities, senior secondary and vocational schools), health care system, library system, museum system. 60 Supports: history of urban architecture and territorial government instruments The design research, which concerns an urban and architectural scale, is backed by: a) studies on the history of the landscape, the townscape and urban architecture (the most recent ones concern the territories of Lecco, Rho and the Olona Valley). b) studies on territorial control instruments (the most recent ones concern the use of equalization in plans, as provided by the new Lombard town planning law). Principal work themes: 1. Urban structures for the Milanese university. In the Nineties the Group focused on the reorganization of the Milanese university system and the new premises of the Polytechnic and the State University. It is currently dedicated to the new Restoration Centre. 2. Building types associated with the evolution of the health care system, the integration between new health care routines, new user requirements, transformations of the environment (research for the Lombardy Region on the conversion of the twelve Lombard psychiatric hospitals). 3. The library as a community facility capable of triggering new behaviors and configuring parts of the city (Milan: the Beic at Porta Vittoria, and the Library - Mediatheque - Cultural Center at Porta Volta. Lecco: the Civicuniversity Library). 4. Reorganization of the Milanese museum system and the Museum of the Present at Bovisa, next to the Polytechnic, for exhibitions and communication of research in the arts and scientific-technological innovation. 5. Transformations of the areas surrounding the new Trade Fair Center of Rho-Pero with reorganization of a part of the city dedicated to communication and accommodation, organized on the basis of the public transport network, integration with the natural environment, and the exploiting of monuments and historical urban centers. 6. New facilities for the Polytechnic in Lecco, designed to harmonize with the foothill valley nature, located in the municipal territory. Not unlike the case of the Bovisa centre, the creation of the Polytechnic structure could affect surrounding areas, boosting productivity and triggering a more positive utilization of territorial resources. 7. New building types for convention events in medium-sized Lombard cities, applied to the Lecco Province. 8. Conversion of the areas of the municipal market halls in Milan, with new categories for trading distribution. 9. New types of dwellings for aged and disabled persons and for students, in Milan, Varese, Lecco, and Bergamo. 10. Transformation of a Milanese urban area with: a part of the Naviglio Grande (the Great Waterway, started in the XIIth century); an abandoned stretch of the Milan-Vigevano railroad; various disused industrial areas. 61 Strategic objectives: realization of an green areas system integrated with cultural facilities, dwellings and new tertiary activities.
Marcello De Carli