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Innovation in planning <br/> Edited by Pier Carlo Palermo

Innovation in planning. Italian experiences

Pier Carlo Palermo

Published by APROpress, 2006 | ISBN 84-934828-0-3

In Italy, practices of spatial planning and urban development have undergone significant transformation in recent decades and above all during the '90s, despite the continuing influence of more traditional models and attitudes. A revision seems necessary for the country's modernisation, but this process does not yet seem complete and the results appear uncertain.
There has been a proliferation of new experiments, but they do not always represent real innovations able to guarantee quality and effectiveness. Critical reference to certain great Italian traditions may help to clarify the meaning and value offered by the most recent experiences. Perhaps more than elsewhere, in Italy there has been an attempt to unite the traditions of spatial planning and urban design. Today there seems to be a mature critical reflection on the excessively rigid and prescriptive conceptions of physical planning, and on the possibility to control transformations through urban architecture projects. On the other hand, these typically Italian traditions lead to a distincing from many international currents of planning theory, which to our eyes can seem too abstract and merely procedural.
The theory is that a critical review of Italian experiences in planning and physical designing can reveal an in some respects original approach of policy design, which seems to be capable of overcoming certain limitations in current planning and policy studies. In this phase in Italy we have a wide set of linked experiences in policy making and urban designing that could permorm a truly innovative function. However, these are still "trials of innvoation": an open process not without risks, requiring further consideration and responsibility for judgements and choices.




I. Opening

Scenaries and figures




II. Themes and questions

Decline of the grand public project

Difficulties of some late-modern experiments

Reformist will and uncertainties

Interpretation of policies

Places and modes of innovation


II. Fields of experience

The union territory

Large area spatial planning

Local planning

Urbanism and planning


IV. Probing innovation

Governance, regulation and development

Vision, strategies and projects

Towards a new urbanism





Pier Carlo Palermo has been dean of the Polytechnic of Milan's Architecture and Society Faculty since 2002, when he was already head of the Department of Architecture and Planning. He was formerly professor of Urban Planning at the University of Venice and Reggio Calabria. His main research interests include theory and history of urbanism, urban studies, spatial planning, and policy design. He has been working as planning consultant on programmes of national and international interest (EU programmes, Italian Ministries of Economics, Environment, Infrastructure, and others). On these themes he is the author of a dozen books. He has recently published Prove di innovazione. Nuove forme ed esperienze di governo del territorio in Italia, Milan, 2001; Il programma Urban e l'innovazione delle politiche urbane, Milan, 2002; Progetti integrati e sviluppo territoriale (with G. Pasqui), Rome, 2003 Trasformazioni e governo del territorio. Introduzione critica, Milan, 2004.