In Favour of Spontaneous Urban Growth

“A regeneration strategy for a sustainable urban transformation in Turin, Italy”

In the last decades the global economic restructuring has increased even more the pace of the urbanization and created new preconditions for essential urban transformations. The process of massive deindustrialization has led to serious reconsideration in regards to the physical structure and utilisation of the inner-urban space. Cities have been forced to work hard seeking for new spatial formations and opportunities allowing them to facilitate further economic growth within the post-industrial context (Couch & Fraser, 2003). The numerous urban regeneration projects have certainly brought an improvement of the urban quality of life, economic and environmental prosperity but today we have reached a stage, especially in the Western World, when there is neither an available financial capital nor political urgency to support these developments. As a consequence considerable amount of physical fabric has been left under the label ‘to be redeveloped’ for a decade or two abiding as spatial voids within urban areas. This argument implies a certain notion that the existing approaches towards urban regeneration do not seem to fundamentally successful means for achieving sustainable urban development in the modern context. Therefore, this graduation project addresses the urgent necessity for formulating new, highly flexible modes of urban transformations. It is both a research vehicle and design laboratory aiming to seek for an innovative urban regeneration approach relying on morphogenesis approach, spontaneous urban growth and temporary land-uses. The objective is to understand the qualities of the spontaneous urban growth, operationalise them and develop an experimental design project within the context of Turin. The ambition is to achieve this urban redevelopment with strategic and temporary urban design interventions rather than part of a large urban development project. The final products of this graduation project will be: (a) development planning strategy and (b) temporary masterplan. The execution of this thesis aims to provide a better understanding regarding the issue of spontaneous urban growth, develop an applicable design method based on the concept and reflect on the results of this experiment in order to deliver a valuable knowledge in the field of urban regeneration and design.

About Frank Reitsma