2 minutes read

The ongoing climate change, ethnic and political conflicts, the decades-long economic crisis, the increase in inequalities, the great players of the sharing economy and the low cost, the manifestation of ignored major geological risks, are increasing the pressure on organised urban systems. The EPiC research group, composed of scholars of different disciplines (economics, architecture, planning, evaluation, agriculture) who joined the FEEM-Iuav shared initiative, deals with the issues raised by the sum of the stresses faced by urban environments and their repercussions on decision-making and city government processes through the Cities Under Pressure research project.

The research assumption is that the horizon of meaning of each territorial transformation has been replaced by the financialisation of production and creative processes. It is no coincidence that current advances in the field of urban development focus more on systems (smart cities), representations (archistar, iconic architecture) and the selection of users (military urbanism, gated communities) rather than on space morphologies. The result is a discrepancy between a society that perceives itself to be potentially capable of preventing all risks, but, at the same time, ignores the major physical, economic and political transformations necessary not to disperse wealth, well-being and social security.

Nowadays, we lack models and paradigms to tackle the challenges faced by cities, which are considered not only as physical places but also as spaces of confrontation and conflict. Cities Under Pressure invites researchers to discuss on the spaces where these limits appear, and to reflect on the tools for adaptation to – and not the compression of – these tensions. The project aims to rethink the city making processes that can produce complex models capable of relieving the pressure and suggest solutions to the main challenges of these times.

Ongoing activities

The main research areas are:

  • the integration of spatial analysis tools within models for territorial interpretation (with particular attention to the issues of vulnerability and risk of urban systems);
  • the possible applications and effects on the territorial planning of approaches based on the concepts of urban metabolism and circular economy;
  • the adaptation of urban contexts to the different pressures caused by natural, economic, social or cultural phenomena.