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About this book

This book explores the relationship between the sciences of representation and the strategy of landscape valorisation. The topic is connected to the theme of the image of the city, which is extended to the territory scale and applied to case studies in Italy’s Umbria region, where the goal is to strike a dynamic balance between cultural heritage and nature. The studies demonstrate how landscape represents an interpretive process of finding meaning, a product of the relationships between mankind and the places in which it lives.

The work proceeds from the assumption that it is possible to describe these connections between environment, territory and landscape by applying the Vitruvian triad, composed of Firmitas (solidity), Utilitas (utility) and Venustas(beauty). The environment, the sum of the conditions that influence all life, represents the place’s solidity, because it guarantees its survival. In turn, territory is connected to utility, and through its etymological meaning is linked to possession, to a domain; while landscape, as an “area perceived by people”, expresses the search for beauty in a given place, the process of critically interpreting a vision.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Part I

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Landscape and Materials: Modernity in the Umbrian Region

In the center of perception, the landscape is connected to materials in their deep relationship with territory and culture, between the natural environment and that which is man made. To narrate this relationship between population and territory, it is necessary to analyze the history of landscape transformation. “Italy is a Democratic Republic, founded on work”: in a resolute way, the first article of the Italian Constitution lays the foundations of our society and our identity. Work is at the center of territorial evolution, and the Umbrian landscape represents a paradigmatic example of a territorial transformation begun in the twentieth century. In this period, putting the act constructively to that legislation, the new Italian State was particularly incisive in upgrading infrastructure, settlements, and substantial changes of the territory that quickly led to redesign of a new landscape and a new image of reality, acquiring an actual identity. The real Umbria was seen as less green and less romantic than as it was always described by the first photographic images at the turn of the century. The theme of this research is the cataloguing, classification, and interpretation of a large body of historical photographs (about 10,000 documents) housed in countless private archives. It is a huge wealth of information on the temporal nature of the landscape, a sort of narrative of how the work of man profoundly affects the structure of a place. In this work is underlined the tangible and the intangible heritage, the materials of place and the knowledge how to use them; materials acquire the landscape status when they are transformed by human work. In analyzing and studying the evolution of the use of materials is possible to deeply understand the central theme of the relationship between man and his territory. The approach in topic of representation is central to show the analytic tool potentiality useful for the deep understanding of the landscape. In the centrality of perception and in the scientific nature of the analysis are the historical studies, which are connected to the transformation of places.
Fabio Bianconi, Marco Filippucci

Chapter 2. Landscape and Colours: From Dyelab to Colour Plan

In the centrality of perception, landscape is connected with colours, central elements that impact on vision, by describing what is the natural environment and what is man made. Understanding the landscape means to rediscover the European chromatic identity as a strategy for creative culture promoting. The innovation value chain starting from knowledge, sharing, and reactivating of identity elements is a new European network of exchange. On one hand, in a globalized and industrialized world, this necessity can start an innovative place-based approach, useful for creative operators to rediscover the origins, and originality connected, to the values and the resources of Europe, the core element of our cultural heritage. Creativity, in fact, is linked to products, and the combination of materials and of techniques can be seen as double-helix DNA, an agent of heredity of places and cultures. On the other hand, the same perceptual need can generate a transformation of the urban landscape, using the urbanistic instruments of the Plan of Colours. The Plan of Colour is a normative instrument that can study and define the identity of the urban character, aimed to determine the quality of public spaces through regulation of the recovery of colour. Guideline rather than prescription, the duality between project and survey finds an interesting experiment: analysis and synthesis are interrelated by losing their boundaries in a critical reading of the image of the place. Design analysis and project are described in the case study of the territory of Deruta, an Umbrian area close to Perugia with nine small historical urban centers, a paradigmatic case able to explain the close affiliation of this project in the sphere of representation. In more than 400 tables the survey of facades and critical emergency is developed, and with the help of more than 2000 schedules, a strategy is built to interpret the state of the cultural heritage. Extrapolating values through a cataloguing action, a logic able to understand the emergency of planning is systematized, indicating “where” and “how” in a town’s element we have to intervene. Material values of materials become the vehicle of immaterial values, able to exploit the primary resources of place, the culture, which is expressed in the landscape, so as to trigger a cascade process of upgrading in perception of place, space, and society. The approach in the topic of representation is central to analysing and planning the urban landscape, in its chromatic value, a strategy of the image of the city.
Fabio Bianconi, Marco Filippucci

Chapter 3. Landscape and Nature: Olive Tree Digital Parameterization

In the centrality of perception, landscape is connected to natural elements. It is almost impossible to think about landscape without reference to environmental elements. The celebrated quote by Mies Van Der Rohe, God is in the details, is valid also for landscape, where to understand the whole that is landscape, a process that drills down and analyzes the singular elements is necessary. But in this idea of landscape it is possible to lose oneself inside the romantic echoes of artistic research, forgetting the scientific needs so important in a landscape project. It can represent a theme of representation study, even more in function than digital tools. The project of landscape involves similarly architectural and agricultural sciences, both addressed to the transformation of natural elements, both finalized to a better life, both based on morphological evolution, both aimed to give efficiency in performance and results. In this sense, this research integrates the science of representation studies with agricultural tree analysis to describe the architectural form of an olive tree and to show a scientific visualization of the relationship between morphology and light interception in the canopy. The representation of plant architecture, manipulated with pruning operations for agricultural purposes of light optimization, describes the action of sunlight in the tree, by testing the potential of digital design tools – especially generative modelling. Through the design of a specific algorithm, the tree is interpreted as a fragmented photovoltaic panel, analyzed by using 14,000 control points corresponding to its leaves. The possibility of selecting these classes of elements becomes the instrument to explain the canopy structure, finding the categories that describe and simulate the annual radiance and illuminance. The developed modelling process and its purely theoretical significance constitute the basis for a variety of applications in data analysis and comparison among different models, evaluations, theories, and operations. This research is the first step of an important action of the European project OLIVE4CLIMATE-LIFE (LIFE15 CCM/IT/000141), the sustainable olive oil supply chain for climate change mitigation. The approach in the representation topic is central to its autoptical capacity to analyze the relationship between the elements and the whole in the landscape.
Fabio Bianconi, Marco Filippucci

Part II

Frontmatter

Chapter 4. Landscape and Historical City: Ecclesial Polarities in the Image of the City

The interpretation of landscape, in the figurative process, leads to the selection of particular places that condense the value of places, a storytelling of their identity. The legibility of the image, a structured identity of the space, is synthesized in a stratified image that tells the story and the history of the place. Also, if our own historical cities are not a matter of easy codifiability, here studies compete by representation to transcribe a selection of the values therein contained, through urban cataloguing, architectural survey, and drawings, useful to transcribe and abstract the relationship between parts. Reading the landscape, and in particular the image of the city, it allows us to understand how the simple vision becomes form, full of meaning. European cities have a common image and identity, conveyed by the square overlooked by the church, the space of political power and the place of social gathering. Perhaps, also from the outside, the churches with their steeples appear as the principal actors on the urban scene. Christianity, as shown in particular in the reality of the small town, represents the deep roots of European culture, the soul of the landscape. It possible to show how, in the relationship between architecture, image, and city form, the citizen finds here identitary places to care for, beautifying them with art, as in this study is described in the case study of the city of Perugia, a paradigm of the occidental urban space. Behind the historical walls, after a research process based on direct monitoring and the following cataloguing, the presence of 125 liturgical buildings emerges, among churches, convents, monasteries, oratories, conservatories, hospitals, mountains, and chapels, for a citizenship that counts, from the medieval epoch to modernity, about 19,000 people. But the real value of this heritage for landscape may be better testified by their confiscation in the half of the nineteen century for the consequential transformation of ecclesial polarities into space for new functions (shops, restaurants, storage areas, carpentries, gyms, etc.): in this way, the value of the relationship between man and his architecture appears more clearly, the dialogue on the language of signs that continues in his valence. The approach in the topic of representation is central to find the invisible relationship and the image roles that characterize the quality of the urban environment.
Fabio Bianconi, Marco Filippucci

Chapter 5. Landscape and Countryside: Cataloguing of Sparse Houses in Castiglione del Lago and Amelia Rural Spaces

The interpretation of landscape, in the figurative process, suffers the impact of vast spaces more than the small elements. The misconception of a monument consists in reducing the image of a place to those elements that summarize cultural and social aspects, although they cannot replace the perceived reality and its context. Also, if landscape can be represented by particular elements, it exceeds them in the centrality of perception, in the value of space and vastness of territory. In this sense, the rural environment represents an important aspect of our landscapes, drawn by man. The relation with architectural elements is quite different compared to the urban case: small and isolated buildings are emblematic cases of a practical culture founded on labor rather than on erudition, without aesthetic intentions, but enriched by the surplus value of time. This heritage, ignored for decades, now emerges as a fundamental element of the Italian landscape. In response to that, first the municipality of Castiglione del Lago and, after a few years, the one of Amelia have commissioned the University of Perugia to develop both analysis and cataloguing of the overall buildings spread over the countryside. The cataloguing of rural assets is essential to understand and communicate a particular interpretative model of a landscape close to reality, able to connect with more information and create a systematic order, considering the individual phenomena in their entirety to determine their laws of evolution. Moreover, the cataloguing of historical resources stands as a fundamental instrument for their restoration; it is a good opportunity to give a logical order to the vision of a landscape, able to connect information and create a systematic network of comparisons between common heritages. The scheduling is structured by a ministerial standard, useful to produce shared-use documentation with the aim of building a database. The cataloguing work “quantifies” and “qualifies” the building heritage according to a logic capable of revealing those identities by basing data readings through an analysis and systematization of historical data, texts and representations, but also through a deconstruction of the typological elements of the building, with a value-based classification that can be used as a foundation for planning activity.
Fabio Bianconi, Marco Filippucci

Chapter 6. Landscape and Modern City: Requalification of the Perugia Railway Station District

The interpretation of landscape, in the figurative process, comes into crisis in places characterized by an absence of definition, of boundary, of identity – the conditions of our suburban districts. “Urban landscape”, “rural landscape”, or “natural landscape” exist: no one thinks about a “suburban landscape” because these spaces are often “Characters in Search of an Author”, a condensed center of disjointedness, where anthropization has too many times decreased natural and environmental values. Rethinking and redrawing landscape means reinterpreting places and confronting the urban question as landscape topics aim to generate links of reconstruction between community and city. The applicative results of research in this topic starts from the national call for suburban boundaries requalification, for which Perugia Municipality has sealed an agreement with the group of researchers representing the University of Perugia to study the image of the next district, Fontivegge, around the railway station. The project developed aims to stop the deterioration of this central part of Perugia, intervening in a saturated urban landscape through new signs targeting the citizen in the recovering of public spaces and for the construction of a smart city. The proposal acts in a multitasking strategy of redrawing parks, urban mobility, and spatial reconnection, and funds were awarded (16 million euros) for work that is coming soon. According to the smart city principle of “doing more with less,” the proposal is developed with zero-volume architecture rethinking the visual. The proposal results in application of the Lynchian theory of the image of the city in the centrality of perception, in a research approach based on a human–environmental relationship. Building with nature, this concept valorizes the main ecological basins of the area with a process of improvement in user services, space quality, and ecological and environmental value. The draft increases the existing vegetation, especially with the use of edible plants, and it involves the construction of urban gardens for the local community to generate the re-appropriation of spaces by the community itself valorizing the perceptual senses. The idea is to create a public space that can promote the urban vitality of the entire district, by becoming the attractor for the community, and it becomes a district safety supervision. The aim of the project is to retrieve the urban space, in the new relationship between man and the environment, redrawing the urban landscape for a new image of the city. However, the proposal launches more questions than answers, asking how is it possible to reappropriate the hold of public space. The hope is that it can generate a dispute about solutions, involving citizens to co-design their place and revaluing their urban landscape according to a common good value. The approach in representation topic is central to connecting the analysis developed through an urban survey with the project, according to the study of architecture in a contemporary approach for the sustainability of the spaces.
Fabio Bianconi, Marco Filippucci

Part III

Frontmatter

Chapter 7. Landscape and Natural Resources: Green Infrastructure and Green Community Projects in the Umbrian Region

Within the principal resources useful for the next landscape models, natural elements represent a substantial structure ever more necessary for the sustainability of places. Landscape cannot be reduced to its picturesque aspects, because, in this case, it could become more an idea than a reality, disjoint from material issues. The case study of Umbria represents a paradigmatic example of a romantic vision of a territory, called “the Green Heart of Italy”. In the front of a strong natural example, the storytelling of landscape tries to communicate this idealistic model in a bucolic style, without a real strategy for nature and environment; those are aspects of the same landscape reality. The case studies presented here derive from an interdisciplinary reading within the ecological road, with the aim of rethinking landscape through conserving and valorizing biodiversity. Also, in the front of the economic crisis, this topic represents an opportunity to develop territories, according to EU directives. To create a smart landscape, “to do more with less,” it is necessary to start from conservation of natural capital, redrawing the green infrastructures, today fragmented, as in the two cases proposed about green peri-urban corridors in Corciano territory and the green corridor of the Tiber River. Both proposals are founded on integration of knowledge and approaches, where the cooperation between different territorial actors represents the flywheel to lead a territory through a synthesis between environment and climatic functions and landscape issues. The approach in the representation topic is central in the planning activities, in the field of connections of different issues and questions, and a place of simulation of the next landscape.
Fabio Bianconi, Marco Filippucci

Chapter 8. Landscape and Production: Food Strategy in Amelia Territory

Within the principal resources useful for the next landscape models, food represents a solid foundation as a link between territory and environment. It is at the same time a result but also a generative reason to develop landscape. Food is a necessity and, for this condition, it is an essential element for the landscape, that cannot continue to be connected to the beauty understood as an end and not as a means. The relationship between food and landscape represents an opportunity for place-based development to connect the producers and consumers, city and countryside, citizen and tourist. Food asserts itself as a representative synthesis able to emphasize the perceptive aspects, a theme that can be actuated also from a sensorial point of view. The product can tell the rich story of our territories, man’s work that shaped the impetus of nature, answering to a clear need of communication of our society. Landscape is perceived, it is a representation, but it is also something that it is found in materiality, so used for landscape needs that cannot be separated from territorial logic. If in the past it was read as an antinomical problem to urbanization, today it is seen as a foundation for the sustainable development of territories, so much so that the great international metropolises have a “food strategy” or “food policy” with the aim of planning and giving values to the nearby markets and satisfy social, environmental, economic and healthful targets. The ideation of Amelia food strategy represents an applicative case study where food is inserted into the planning topic. The idea is to follow the conceptual evolution of food (quantity–quality–sustainability) that forms a simple quantitative product moved first to research quality and today is orientated towards sustainability of food, as a step from consuming production that reaches to define the concept of nutrition. Food strategies represent for the Amelia Administration the possibility of realizing policies to rebalance economic, social, and cultural inequalities, with new regulatory models, to promote the health of citizens and of the environment. The approach in representation topic is central, particularly in the communication of the image of places and in the promotion of an innovative government policy.
Fabio Bianconi, Marco Filippucci

Chapter 9. Landscape and Social Participation: The Umbrian Region’s Atlas of Objectives and the Trasimeno Lake Landscape Contract

Within the principal resources useful for the next landscape models, people who live in their places represent the beginning and the final point of all the new possible regenerations paths: landscape is perceived by people, it is for people, and it is from people. The policymaker, whether intentionally or not, has a principal role in landscape construction. Reactivating the relationship that binds the community to its landscape is crucial to understand its meanings and to take action on it, and the representational tools can be useful in this regard to present, describe, and communicate the landscape, to involve citizens, and to support their participation. In this context, the research aims to introduce the Umbrian regional strategy of co-design applied for the integrated governance in the political and public sphere. The methodology presented intends to promote some models for the sustainable and democratic development of a social contract connected with environmental citizenship and the co-design approach. In this strategy of public and private partnership (PPP), academic research is fundamental to reach the standardization of the approaches for investigation and intervention, and the Atlas of Objectives produced represents a contemporary tool to bring out relationships and to define “routes” in compliance with the European guidelines, which are applied in some regional strategies. This guideline can be applied in the Landscape Contract, in particular, that of Lake Trasimeno, an agreement between citizens and the administration for territorial governance and cohesion policy. It starts from a well-structured cognitive framework and is finalized to the active government of the territory. The main goal is the involvement of both citizens and economic entities in joining in a strategy that aims to increase the sense of belonging. In that regard, it promotes the necessary social and cultural changes and makes more efficient the productivity in terms of sustainable development of a homogeneous territorial area. Particular case studies and strategies are detailed to explain the potential impact for landscape planning of the instruments developed. The approach in the topic of representation is central to synthesize the knowledge and to reinforce its value, sharing with the citizens and involving them.
Fabio Bianconi, Marco Filippucci

Backmatter

Additional information