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Suburbs of TO-morrow : strategies for the regeneration of "Le Vallette" neighborhood

Lorenzo Penna

Suburbs of TO-morrow : strategies for the regeneration of "Le Vallette" neighborhood.

Rel. Silvia Malcovati, Christian Rapp, Haike Apelt. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Costruzione Città, 2015



The work subject of the present thesis is the result of a year-lasting collaboration between the Polytechnic University of Turin and Eindhoven Technical University’s Chair of Rational Architecture, guided by Professor Silvia Malcovati as Italian Supervisor and Professor Christian Rapp together with Haike Apelt as Dutch Supervisors.

The exchange Project focused on the city of Turin and bears the name “Gran Torino Graduation Studio”.

The work was focused on the city of Turin and involved sixteen students of both universities. Starting from a typo-morphological analysis on the architectures of the city, from its Roman past until the most recent times, it concluded with sixteen individual designs developed from each single student’s research question, in which the outcomes of the first analysis were also taken into account.

The researches carried out in the first semester of work led to the publication of Gran Torino Atlas, which provides a complete overview on the city development, together with those architectural changes that accompanied it along the centuries.

The first months of work was mainly dedicated to the above mentioned publication: each of the teams, made up of an Italian student and a Dutch one, dealt with one among the different chapters that the Atlas consists of.

Within the Program the Italian students were given the chance to spend five months in Eindhoven working on their individual thesis, collaborating with Dutch students and learning from the Dutch method.

The entire work of my thesis is strictly related with the publication of the Atlas. Together with a Dutch colleague, I worked on the draft of the chapter n.7, entitled “Postwar Turin”, which focuses on the years after the Second World War and with problems related to the reconstruction, as well as on the “economic miracle” and the consequent immigration flow from South of Italy.

The latter one brought as a consequence a large increase of demand for housing, to which the State answered through the so called “Ina-Casa Plan”, made by the Prime Minister Fanfani, which allowed the construction ex-novo of entire neighborhoods, scattered in the periphery of Turin. Although the intentions of the Plan were noble (to find an accommodation to all those people who came to Turin looking for a work), if we look today at those neighborhoods, we notice that they are interested by an extreme degradation and saw their reputation ruined through years.

If we zoom out and widen our views not only to the single case of Turin, it is possible to observe that discrediting suburbs is a phenomenon that is present every time a city has expanded out of its original borders. In those years, in which the peripheries face strong pressure from the city, passionate debates arose on what would have better been the proper characters of settlements. With the advent of the modern movement, a counter-trend was founded against the traditional construction of the city (made up of streets, squares and blocks of buildings) which shatters the urban fabric. There are many answers given after the construction of the first modernist neighborhoods, which since the beginning presented a series of new problems: from European conservative theories against functionalist stances, after the Second World War, which sees the traditional city as the only sustainable solution, to more contemporary American theory of the New Urbanism which attempt to adjust and contain what now have become suburbs.

My reflections are to be text of debate. What can be done to reignity? Is there only a single solution to solve thesere any othersacters that need to change and which aspered?

I thought it was appropriate to choose a neighbs of wer these questions by working directly oice was a neighborhood in the north-west area oValletr the Atlas work, I was impressed by the ms of the district, which creates a lot of different sunities. Despite this, it looks like one of the most problematic parts of Turin from a , probably because it is one of tom the city center.

The second step, recounted in the third chapter, was an analysis of the garden city model, inspiration for suburbs similar to Vallette arose in those years, and the theories developed around the sprawl city. During this phase I came in contact with a series of issues linked to the compact city paradigm, that is sustainability, densification model, reconstruction, continuity and multi-functionality.

For sure, these are complicated terms which are often misunderstood and took broad meanings, but they brought me to reflect and ask myself more specific questions: can the densification be a considered a valid method to bring the quality of the compact city in the suburb? What does density mean and which ones of its qualities are really useful for the city life?

At what level of density do we aspire? In addition, are we sure that both density and densification are absolute values? Or do valuable alternatives exist?

From complex terms always derive even more complex questions. It has strengthened my conviction that, in order to properly reply, there was no better way but to try providing solution to some practical issues. This justify the approach of the fourth chapter, in which, after some personal reflections in its first part, I tried to define strategies Which could work as support to the guidelines for the design of a masterplan.

The thesis concludes with the fifth chapter, with my personal design proposal for a portion of Vallette neighborhood, developed on different scales ranging from the one of the masterplan to the conclusive detail on 1:50 scale.

Despite there were large debates, there has not been defined yet a clear and efficient methodology that can be seen as a solution to the “explosion of the city”. What can be witnessed instead is the tendency to experiment new solutions, conceived by virtuous architects and planners, such as selective densification, urban surgery and concentrated sprawl. Unfortunately they have not demonstrated their full effectiveness yet.

On the light of these premises, the aim of my thesis is to build my own method, which can overcome the issues around “Le Vallette” neighborhood. The process starts from general considerations about the contemporary debate on sprawl cities and it turns into concrete design intentions, passing through a critical analysis of the intentions that guided the project designers.

Relators: Silvia Malcovati, Christian Rapp, Haike Apelt
Publication type: Printed
Subjects: A Architettura > AH Buildings and equipment for the home
U Urbanistica > UK Pianificazione urbana
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Costruzione Città
Classe di laurea: UNSPECIFIED
Aziende collaboratrici: UNSPECIFIED
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/4300


1. Reconstruction period and Ina-Casa

1.1 Postwar struggle

1.2 Economic miracle and 1969

1.3 A general Plan for Turin

1.4 Ina-Casa plan

1.5 Ina-Casa for Turin

2. “Le Vallette” neighborhood

2.1 The area

2.2 Project development

2.3 Project analysis

2.4 The situation of today

3. Problematic suburbs

3.1 Garden city of To-morrow

3.2 Contemporary debate

3.3 A case study: Western Garden cities of Amsterdam

4. Building the strategies

4.1 “Good” neighborhoods

4.2 Model for the neighborhood

4.3 Strategies

4.4 The masterplan

5. A project for “Le Vallette”

5.1 The fragment

5.2 Densification

5.3 Green belt

5.4 The addition

Conclusions Image references



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