The Peer review has evaluated this group as Average
The Group's main areas of research are based on well-established traditions going back to the 'seventies and concerning settlements (the history and the form of urban development, the home, the social services, urban refurbishing, the action taken by the historic city centres, and regarding an environmental heritage), in the definition of a role for architecture in the process of the transformation of the city and its territory by sponsoring architectural projects for the building industry and urban development. The Group's approach is based on study and forms of action with a view to possibilities inherent in the history of the territory, the city, and connecting fabric, its material culture, and the social organization of its inhabitants – aspects knowledge of which is taken for granted in identifying the reasons for the transformation. The research is applied to different contexts, from the monumental areas of the historic centres to the historic outskirts, the suburbs, and the territories that are unstable and problematical in the European countries and the countries now emerging and in the process of development (especially in Italy, the cities of Milan, Brescia, Cremona, Mantua, and the territory of the Val Cavallina, in Africa: Morocco, Tunisia, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Kenya, and Tanzania; in Central America: the Dominican Republic; in South America: Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil; in Asia: Bhutan, Georgia, and Pakistan). The Research Group, with the co-operation of students working for degrees, or to obtain a doctorate, or master's diplomas: all have taken up the challenge in various contexts, especially with regard to: - The identification and cataloguing of historical and cultural resources (historic city centres, individual buildings, and archaeological sites); - The study of urban dynamics; - The working out of strategies of requalification of the territory through the exploitation and synergy of historical and environmental resources - whether of a cultural or of a naturalistic nature; - The study of the architecture, of the territory, and of tradition in relation to the transformation of settlements; - The specific projects for the requalification of quarters that are run down, as well as informal areas; - The role of things "modern" in a context of considerable historical and environmental interest. 81 The principles of the Group's research date back to the definition of the heritage as the fruit of culture and civilization, with historical roots – both cultural and naturalistic-environmental – to be evaluated as the evidence of a durable past (suffice it to remember the International Treaty on the Protection of the World's Cultural and Naturalistic Heritage, UNESCO, 1972). At the same time, these cultural assets also have an economic value, with an extremely delicate aspect, which may from time to time call for support, transformation, or the destruction of historic, cultural or naturalistic values – indeed, the very environmental assets. The general objective of the research activity is to perfect a method for setting up, in a process of mutual enhancement, the places of historic memory and the surrounding territory: the resources themselves and surroundings that are not indifferent to their own historical background; without separating action taken on the urban fringes with their inherited and environmental aspects, each with its system of social and economic dynamics. The models of the urban settlements, including the marginal areas, especially in the developing countries, are not without aspects of considerable interest with regard to the readapation of the cultural models of the settlements and, not least, without their ancient background plus their new urban contexts. Enhancement of the heritage must not be reduced to the conservation and protection of remnants of the past, but should make them comprehensible and enrich them with improvements, both physical and semantic, with the context surrounding them. The strategy of remedial action for requalification of the territory can proceed via the synergy and adaptation of historical, cultural, naturalistic and environmental resources, adopted because of their real intrinsic value and/or for their potential ability to interact, not forgetting that associated measures are not to be separated from mankind's day-to-day living needs, even the primary ones of the settlement and economic activities. The close interconnection between research and didactic activity has made it possible to apply the latter to allied skills, while, in accordance with the Group's long tradition, special attention is given to teaching methodologies, the results of which have been seen in specific publications. A significant event has been the promotion of international co-operation in the areas of research and teaching, without which it would not have been possible to compare and map out strategic lines of research and the very teaching methods themselves (international seminaries giving birth to projects, co-tutored degree theses, master and doctorate theses).