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Urban Regeneration

Urban Regeneration: the Cases of London and Rome

Workshop, 12 July 2013

UCL Engineering Building Room 1.02

2 Malet Street WC1 E7

Speakers: Paola Briati,UCL, Ben Campkin,UCL, Giovanni Caudo, Roma Tre, Martine Drozdz, LSE/Lyon, Michael Edwards, UCL, Silvia Lucciarini, Roma Tre, Giorgio Piccinato, Roma Tre, Azzurra Muzzonigro LAC/Roma Tre, Davide Spina, UCL.

As European cities with very different national and international histories London and Rome offer a range of points of comparison in their approach to the reorganisation and revisiting of earlier post war attempts at reconstruction and in their current assignation of priorities. This fourth workshop in the Romanmodernities network brings together British and Italian scholars, experts on London and Rome and the planning priorities that have shaped their recent structure and identity.

‘Regeneration,’ an evocative and now pervasive metaphor for urban change, appeared first in English in relation to the reconstruction of slum districts and then in the repertoire of socio-biological metaphors through which the renewal of the post-war city was conceived: properly functioning neighbourhoods would self-regenerate; where regeneration did not occur spontaneously radical reconstruction was necessary.
The discourse and practice of regeneration has widespread currency in present-day London, gaining momentum from the 1980s to the 2000s. ‘Regeneration’ features heavily in The London Plan (2011) the capital’s current strategic plan, written by the directly-elected Mayor of London and published by the Greater London Assembly. It identifies great swathes of London as ‘opportunity areas’ and defines regeneration areas as those ‘in greatest socio- economic need’. Since the financial crisis of 2008, and the end of the era of New Labour (1997–2010), where ‘urban renaissance’ was a central policy objective, regeneration has been exposed to scrutiny.

In Rome, early post war pressure on the housing and rehousing of already existing populations and the impact of the constant influx of new populations that contributed to rapid city growth was organised by speculative building, by the policies deriving from the 1949 Ina casa law regarding public housing, by the local impact of the economic boom, by the Olympics of 1960, and by the debates about the direction of city expansion. More recently, rebuilding of particular areas and the growing concern with the environment, articulated through intensely local political priorities has been linked with the Piano regolatore, the master plan, made law in 2003 after decades of debate.

On the one hand the future of the centro storico and its conservation, the controversial new building projects within the walls ( the Ara Pacis, the now abandoned project for the redevelopment of the Capitoline hill) the project for the Auditorium and Maxxi in Flaminio, the redevelopment of Ostiense and the Esquline hill, on the other the city's growing extension into the jurisdictions of the province and the region, together with the more directly politically focused issues regarding inclusion and exclusion of ethnic communites and their accommodation in particular areas, provide the focus of continuing debate.

While the earlier term 'riqualificazione' took the fabric of the city as its focus, 'rigenerazione' extends that concern to aspects of living and their dependence on infrastructural provision at the local level. While this encourages a potentially conservative outlook, it also involve the wider politics of developing the livable city adding those dimensions to the formal structure of the master plan.


Paola Briati, Phd lectures on Planning and Urban Policy at the Politecnico di Milano. From 2012 she has been Marie Curie Research Fellow at the Bartlett School of Planning, UCL. Her research interests are closely linked with urban regeneration, focusing in particular on multi-ethnic contexts. She has published over 30 articles in Italian and international Journals. Among her most relevant books: Sul filo della frontiera. Politiche urbane in un quartiere multietnico di Londra (Angeli, Milano, 2007), and Città in periferia. Politiche urbane e progetti locali in Francia, Gran Bretagna e Italia (Carocci, Roma, 2009; with Massimo Bricocoli and Carla Tedesco).

Ben Campkin is Director of UCL's cross-disciplinary Urban Laboratory and Senior Lecturer in Architectural History and Theory at the Bartlett School of Architecture. He is co-editor of Dirt: New Geographies of Cleanliness and Contamination (London: I. B. Tauris, 2007, paperback 2012), an anthology exploring how beliefs about dirt have influenced the production of space, and author of Remaking London: Decline and Regeneration in Urban Culture (I.B. Tauris, June 2013). He is co-editor of the Urban Pamphleteer, and has recently published articles in journals such as Architectural Theory Review, The Journal of Architecture and Architectural Design and chapters in anthologies such as Urban Constellations, Camera Constructs, The Art of Dissent, Critical Cities and The Politics of Making.

Giovanni Caudo is Associate Professor in Urban Planning at Rome Tre, where he lectures in the Urban Planning Laboratory in Architectural Sciences. His main research activities concern affordable housing and urban contexts in the process of transformation, especially districts affected by public building or processes of demolition and increasing density. At the Bartlett, University College London, he carried out research on affordable housing in UK as Academic Affiliate. He is interested in the processes involved in selecting a plan for implementation in the designing of cities and the urban environment. In 2008, he worked to set up the Italian Pavillion of the X Venice Architecture Biennale on the topic “Housing Italy”.
As a professional architect he has worked on executive town plans and participated in competitions ( Social Housing in Milan “Borgo di Figino”; Shrinking Cities Berlin, the Via della Lega Lombarda Urban Upgrade in Rome), urban planning topics linked to his research interests. Among his publications are 'L'abitare straniero' in AAVV: Le città degli altri, spazio pubblico e vita urbana nelle città dei migranti. (Edisai Bologna, 2010) and with Nico, Calavita, 'Italy: variety and creativity in approaching inclusionary housing' in Calavita and Mallach, Inclusionary Housing in International perspective (2010 Lincoln Institute of Land policy Cambridge Massachusetts).

Martine Drozdz is completing a PhD in Geography and Urban Planning at Université de Lyon in France and takes up a post-doctoral position in Paris in Autumn 2013. While teaching at LSE in the French Studies she carried out a study on the politics of regeneration and its discontents, looking at the development of major and medium scale developments in the Inner London area and the interaction between the stakeholders involved. In parallel she has been following the emergence of a network of community groups challenging the assumptions of regeneration policies. Her recent work investigates the post-crash context and its impact on the delivery of regeneration strategies.

Michael Edwards is Emeritus Leverhulme Fellow at the Bartlett School of Planning. With Bob Coleman (Southampton) their research focuses on land and housing crises in the UK. he has worked extensively on relation between property markets andplanning mainly inthe UK and Europe. He is active in London planning, most recently supporting community groups in challenges to the 2009 Draft replacement London plan. He is a founding member of the International network for Urban research and Action (INURA) and of the Planners network UK (PNUK).

Silvia Lucciarini is Assistant Professor in Economic Sociology at the Department of Social and Economic Science, at La Sapienza of Rome and a member of the Centre of Government Reform. She has a Phd in Public and Urban Policy where she developed a deep interest in urban ethnic settlements, consolidated by a Visiting Fellowship in New York City, at CUNY Graduate Center. Her main research interests are territorial analysis focusing on immigration, flexibility, labour market and social inclusion.
She is involved in research projects, both national and international, on territorial social cohesion and shrinking cities. The main findings on urban immigration are collected in Immigration and Cities (2011). She is developing a strong interest on the connection between sprawl and local labour markets.

Azzurra Muzzonigro is an architect and doctoral student in territorial policy at Roma Tre. She completed the Masters in Urban and Building design at the Bartlett. Her architecture thesis involved an experimental house in assisted self-construction at the Roma Camp in Rome Casilino 900. This experimental housing prototype showed that sustainable eco housing which meets housing standards and building regulations is possible. Inaugurated in July, the house was burned down by unknown assailants in December. As an architect Azzurra is interested in community participation in the active transformation of social relations and urban spaces.

Giorgio Piccinato is Emeritus Professor of Urbanism at Roma Tre, Past president of the Association of European Schools of Planning, and a consultant to the United Nations and the European Union. Among his publications: La costruzione dell'urbanistica. Germania 1870-1914 (The construction of planning. Germany 1870-1914, Rome 1974, Wiesbaden 1983 and Barcelona 1993); Un mondo di città (A world of cities), Torino 2002 and Caracas 2007; Atlas de Centros Históricos do Brasil, editor (Rio de Janeiro, 2007); Fermoimmagine. Studio sulla felicità urbana, editor (Macerata, 2008). His current research centres on the future of cities and the use of urban heritage.

Davide Spina is a student of the Architectural History MA at the Bartlett. He is currently writing a dissertation on post-war Italian architecture under the supervision of Professor Adrian Forty. He graduated from Roma Tre with a BSc in Architectural Studies.


Morning Session Chair: Lesley Caldwell (UCL)

10.00 - 11.15 - Regeneration. The recent history of a concept.

Italy/Rome. Paola Briati, (Bartlett)
London. Martine Drozdz (LSE/Lyon) - Urban regeneration in England: towards a reassessment of a contested policy.

11.15. 11.45 - Coffee

11.45- 1.00 - The early post war years and their later revisitings

Giorgio Piccinato (Roma Tre) - Plans, parties and the 1960 Olympics
Ben Campkin (UCL) - Regeneration ad nauseam: the making and remaking of the Elephant and Castle.
Davide Spina (Bartlett) - Maiden Lane estate: fostering abjection for regeneration.

1.00 - 2.15 - Lunch

Afternoon Session Chair: Fabio Camilletti (Warwick)

2.15 - 3.45 - Recent Developments

Giovanni Caudo (Roma Tre) - Public Housing and Regeneration in Italy.
Michael Edwards (UCL/Bartlett) - Kings Cross: What is Regeneration for?
Simona Lucciarini (Roma Tre) - Esquilino: Regeneration in an Ethnic Neighbourhood.
Azzurra Muzzonigro (LAC/Roma Tre) - Porto Fluviale: an Odyssey for Home.

4.00 - 5.15 - Open discussion

Regeneration and its links with Roman Modernities network and with other disciplines.

5.15 - 6.15 - Reception