- SERVICES, ENDOWMENTS, PERFORMANCE. PUBLIC SPACE AS THE FRAME OF THE CONTEMPORARY CITY. A strand of study and research that tackles the new social, environmental and ecological issues of the contemporary city and territory that directly affect the well-being and quality of urban living and that concern both the issues of citizenship rights and inequalities and those of adaptation to climate change, risk prevention and, more generally, the limitation of the processes of the anthropisation of the territory. These issues call for a radical change in urban planning and design paradigms, starting with the conceptualisation and operational definition of the urban standards outlined in DI 1444/68. It appears evident that paradigms adequate to respond to the new priorities of the government of the territory directly affect the redefinition of the connotations of 'collective interest' of the plan and the urban project by also introducing notions of ecological-environmental and social performance in the complex and widespread forms of the contemporary city.
The line of research investigates different levels of innovation in the urban design: on the one hand, redefining the spatial design of the plan and the frame of the urban structure around the design of the public space and the environmental and fruitive networks of the contemporary city ('green and blue infrastructures'); on the other hand introducing new qualitative and performance parameters and indicators, which are not only adequate to verify the sustainability of the strategies and choices of the plan but also capable of updating the traditional characters and contents of the urban design, to be renewed in its processes and tools but stable in its aims, to protect collective interests, to defend the quality of the spaces in which we live.
This is, therefore, research line where the importance of 'doing town planning' re-emerges for a comparison of concrete planning experiences.
- ECO-WELFARE & SPATIAL PLANNING. Design experiments and innovative proposals for i) Introducing the consideration of ecosystem services as a new knowledge tool (mapping and quantification) to support the ability of politicians, administrators, planners and stakeholders to define urban regeneration strategies for sustainable urban and spatial planning and design that responds to changing socio-environmental and climatic conditions and supports the ecological transition and wellbeing of local communities. The focus is on ways in which the analysis of ecosystem services favours the study of the relationship between urban morphology and land cover/land use in order to define priorities that maximise the capacity of settlement systems to provide multiple benefits (storing carbon and improving air quality, counteracting heat island phenomena, etc.), taking an urban ecology perspective.
The research moves towards implementing a theoretical and practical framework that integrates planning decision-making processes with the analysis and evaluation of ecosystem services. In particular, the methodological and operational framework is designed to support municipalities in defining policies and actions (as well as monitoring procedures) oriented towards nature-based planning solutions (with particular reference to restoration, mitigation and compensation strategies).
Furthermore, it is possible to demonstrate how urban and spatial planning that integrates an assessment of the environmental benefits provided by free soil into its decision-making processes guarantees the community a substantial reduction of soil consumption as well as an overall saving of public finances through the protection of natural resources.
- TERRITORIAL GOVERNMENT, GOVERNANCE AND SPATIAL PLANNING INNOVATION
This is a strand of studies and research practised since the PhD thesis ("Governare il territorio attraverso il piano ovvero osservazioni sulla legge 142/1990 Ordinamento delle autonomie locali") and concerns the issues: of disciplinary institutionalisation through laws; of systems and models of territorial planning and governance in relation to - and also in opposition to - governance models based on agreements, pacts and special events/occasions.
Particular attention is paid to metropolitan governance models in Europe, in comparison with the Italian case, innovated by Law 56/2014, from which emerges a reform project that considers the Metropolitan City as a new governing body of the metropolitan territory, representative of the municipalities and intermediate with respect to the Region. The research investigates how the innovation of the institutional and territorial structure, and above all, the new forms of governance that could develop, promote a new "transcalar" form of spatial planning, with new plans and programmes formed and designed with co-planning, in cooperation with the bodies that govern the vast area (Region) or that are intermediate protagonists of innovative governance of the vast area (metropolitan cities, new Provinces, Unions of Municipalities).
The line of research aims at highlighting how, in the perspective of relaunching the effectiveness of spatial and city planning as an activity of territorial governance, the need for a new institutional model should be grasped, having as an explicit and important objective also that of innovating territorial planning in terms of aims, methods, procedures and above all tools.