The Multiple Ways of an Urban Vision in the 20th Century International Seminar, 16-17 June 2015
Department of Architecture and Urban Studies, School of Architecture and Society, Politecnico di Milano Milan, Italy
Organizers: Patrizia Bonifazio, Gaia Caramellino, Alessandro De Magistris
Scientific committee:
Tom Avermaete, TU Delft – Department of Architecture, The Netherlands
Ljiljana Blagojević, University of Belgrade – Faculty of Architecture, Serbia
Patrizia Bonifazio, Politecnico di Milano – Dipartimento di Architettura e Studi Urbani, Italy
Gaia Caramellino, Politecnico di Torino – Dipartimento di Architettura e Design, Italy
Jean-Louis Cohen, New York University – Institute of Fine Arts, USA
Alessandro De Magistris, Politecnico di Milano – Dipartimento di Architettura e Studi Urbani, Italy Hartmut Frank, HafenCity University Hamburg – Department of Architecture, Germany
Nicole De Togni, PhD candidate in History of Architecture and Urban Planning, Politecnico di Torino
Call for papers
During the Fifties and Sixties, the concept of neighborhood – in its multiple translations as quartiere, unità di vicinato, comunità – became a recurrent reference in the discourses of planners and architects on post-war Italian cities, through the codification of rhetorics and imageries, deeply influenced by the experience of WWII and by the numerous exchanges between Italian and American professionals that took place at the beginning of the decade (for instance, the case of Adriano Olivetti and the experience of Comunità provides a significant example and an interesting case-study).
However, the use of this multifaceted concept in its various declinations – as mirrored by the post-war programs and projects, as well as by the new planning tools inaugurated for the Italian reconstruction – bring to the light a partial and limited understanding and interpretation of its original intents, values and contents. Frequently simplified and merely implemented as a spatial model, a planning instrument and a design tool (providing schemes, diagrams and codes), without considering the political and social frame that generated it, the neighborhood became a recurrent reference in the definition of new layouts for residential settlements since the early 1950s, implemented through the recently inaugurated public housing programs.
Aiming to transcend the National boundaries, this seminar intends to investigate the processes of definition of the notion, as generated in the British context, “filtered” through the contribution of Clarence Perry in the United States during the 1920s, and deeply marked by the encounter with WWII. The seminar aims at inaugurating a discussion on the different cultural and political seasons and the multiple forms and geographies that characterized the circulation and reception of the idea of neighborhood in Europe, between the immediate postwar years and the late Sixties, during a period increasingly marked by the reference to the New Towns in Britain and in Northern Europe.
Addressing a moment that still remains on the margin of the discourse on neighborhood and community planning – anticipating in the US in the early 1940s some crucial experiences that will take shape in Europe during the 1950s – the seminar intends to explore the multiple ways of the circulation and dissemination of the concept in different European Countries (through the specialized and popular press, the exhibitions, the agenda of international institutions, the professional culture, the biographies of architects and planners, the new public housing projects and plans inaugurated within the welfare programs after 1945…), investigating its local reception, codification, interpretation and hybridization, through the discourses and the practices of planners and architects at local level.
While focusing on the circulation and reception of the concept between the US and Europe (paying a particular attention to the Italian and the Eastern European contexts), the seminar also encourage proposals that analyze – in the new geopolitical frame shaped by the Cold-War – the processes of dissemination, exportation – and assimilation – of this idea from post-war Europe to non-western countries.
Submission of proposals
Contributions that address the topic form different perspectives (through case studies, or through comparative analyses) and by scholars in different fields (architecture and urban history, planning, architecture, social sciences…) are welcome.
Proposals must be submitted in English to by March 30th 2015.
Proposals must include:
– The name, contact and affiliation of the author(s) – A brief biography of the author(s)
– An abstract of no more than 300 words.
Notification of acceptance will be sent by April 15th 2015.
Updates and details about the organization of the Seminar will be released through the website

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