The seventh Biennale Spazio Pubblico, a biennial event dedicated to public spaces, will focus on proximity-based planning. The event will take place May 25–27 in the former abattoir at Roma Tre University’s Department of Architecture. The biennial was first held in 2011 with the aim of investigating, and triggering dialogue on, urban environment and public spaces, while attracting the involvement of professionals and, in particular, the public, government, businesses, and academia in genuine discussion with those who live in and transform the city. This year’s event will feature seminars, panel discussions, guided tours, and international guests.
The event will examine proximity planning in the sense of it offering a possibility for change through mobility as well as urban planning and architecture, complementary fields for developing innovative solutions and prefigurations for cities that will become increasingly multipolar, with essential services nearby and accessible on foot or by bike. But in particular, these are cities in which urban-scale services will be available with an efficient public transport system, which will obviously be ecological and sustainable.
The event will see the people at the coalface of the most important recent work exchanging ideas. At its conclusion, it will be possible to pinpoint a convergence of ideas and the underpinnings for moving forward at the planning and programmatic levels.
The event boasts the UN-Habitat program as its international partner, along with a host of other partners, including the Architects’ Council of Europe (CAE-ACE), the Biennale della Prossimità, Union Internationale des Architectes (UIA), and the Ri-Mediare design workshop. The promoters of the 2023 edition are the Public Space Biennial Association, the National Council of Architects, Planners, Landscape Designers, and Conservators (CNAPPC), the National Urban Planning Institute (INU) with its Lazio and Roma Capitale chapters, Roma Tre University’s Department of Architecture, Rome Order of Architects, Italian Association of Landscape Architects (AIAPP), and Inarch Lazio.
On Wednesday, May 24 – that is, before the event gets underway – there will be a conference entitled “Competent Architects for Competent Cities in the 21st Century,” organized by CNAPPC and others.
The inauguration will take place on Thursday, May 25. The official welcome will be followed by the first session, which will see discussion among representatives from cities around the world committed to implementing urban regeneration policies and programs focused on proximity planning. The aim is to identify common programmatic elements. Also scheduled for the same day are the lecture “Living Proximity,” presented by Ezio Manzini, and the micro-dance performance Eppur si muove (And yet it moves).
Friday, May 26 will be dedicated to themed interdisciplinary sessions. Focusing on a range of approaches and points of view, the sessions will explore education, work, culture, economics, mobility, leisure, and healthcare. The objective is to promote cooperation and co-planning among the public sector, the private sector, business, professional associations, and communities.
Also on May 26, Roma Tre University’s Department of Architecture is conducting a series of workshops entitled “Proximity-Making at 15 Min” while Urban@it will be presenting its eighth report. There will also be a number of seminars: “Urbanism, Desire, and Public Space: A Dialogue with the Research of Sandra Annunziata,” “Proximity without Density?” and “Proximity in the Occupied Territories of Palestine.” Further highlights are the event “#eSeInveceFosse ... ? Immaginare lo spazio pubblico” (#andIfItWere … ? Imagining public space) presented by INU Giovani; the video and round table session “Which Public Space? City Centers, Districts, Streets: Reflections on Proximity;” and the seminar “How to Make the Case for 15 Minute City Projects,” conducted by the C40 organization.
On the last day, Saturday, May 27, Carlos Moreno from Sorbonne University in Paris will discuss the Proximity Monitor. This will be followed by the panel discussion “Administrative Decentralization and Municipalities,” during which various plans, projects, and exhibitions will be presented, with contributions from the municipal governments of Rome and its citizens.
The exhibition will end with the events “INU for Jane’s Walk 6.0” and “Public City/City of Proximity,” which will include a series of guided tours of public housing districts conducted by teachers and students from Roma Tre University’s Department of Architecture, organized in collaboration with Open House Roma 2023.
“Proximity planning makes it possible to rethink the organization and provision of welfare services at a point in history when spaces are being transformed, and the necessities of ecological and digital transition – of strategic importance for the implementation of Italy’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan – are demanding creativity in our relationship with places and in adapting cities to dramatic climate changes. From this perspective, public spaces represent the fundamental point of discussion and planning, in which to measure not only the quality of the responses to the needs of environmental justice, but also the dimension of urban regeneration actions on different scales.”
Cover image: Mattatoio Testaccio (Roma) | Photo by Nicholas Gemini - Wikimedia Commons, License CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)
All images in the gallery are courtesy of Biennale Spazio Pubblico