Title: alter_eco - Code: 00040
Contest: Rome / 2010
By: F. Coletta / F. Ceci / M. Fiore / S. Dell’Uomo

Views: 1651 Likes: 0






City as Complex System

In vain, … shall I attempt to describe Zaira, city of memories. I could tell you how many steps make up the streets rising like stairways, and the degree of the arcades’ curves, and what kind of zinc scales cover the roofs; but I already know this would be the same as telling you nothing. The city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past: ...”

da Le città invisibili, Italo Calvino, 1972

We perceive the city as a continually evolving system of relations and transformations. We are not interested in a speculative development of our city, nor do we want to study it through the old and obsolete analysis methodology. The elements constituting the “city” system can be subject to planned changes, but it is impossible to predict their effect on the entire system, which is based on a multitude of interconnected and mutable events in time.

Nothing works until everything works L. Kahn

Our goal is to read and interpret the relationships between the various components of the system and the users, trying to shift the focus from the individual components, extrapolated from the system, to the interactions between them.

Limits & Connections                                                                                            

Looking at Rome as a whole and in its historical, social and morphological stratifications, we have highlighted two key aspects of our vision: limits and connections.

During its history, this city has undergone various attempts to delimit it ideally and physically: the defensive walls built at different times, the ring rail, and the more recent Grande Raccordo Anulare. We see the concept of “limit” as a new opportunity.

Heidegger:”The limit is not the point where something ends but, as the Greeks knew, that from which something begins its essence”. The limits are not barriers but thresholds, transit zones, “in between” areas.

At this point connections come into play, not only in a material sense but also as intangible, ephemeral, imponderable concepts. Connections are established between the various elements of the system and tend to break the limits, overcoming them and making them active components within the cyclical process of renewal of the urban system.


The green wedges, a typical feature of the Roman landscape, penetrate the “limits” and reach the heart of the city, becoming the dominant physical connections in the urban reality.

When changing the focus from objects to relationships, new perceptions come. Crisis become opportunities. The brown areas, disused areas, the result of infrastructural cuts and of unethical real estate expansion provide opportunities for urban revitalization, rehabilitation of the social and cultural tissue, where the chances of evolution can be maximized. These areas, our Eco_Holes, located mostly near the green wedges, are possible nodes of the Eco_Network , the immaterial network around which the new vision of the city revolves.


This vision shatters the historical stereotypes of the city and the concept of ecology: too often the term “ecology” tends to unify everyday themes, like sustainability, environmentalism, never fully detailed. Ecology is the awareness of the basic interrelation of all phenomena. We see in it the pathway towards a new idea of city.

For us the alter_eco represents the possibility of identifying new catalysts that activate a cyclical process aiming to create a complex adaptive system that insinuates itself between excessive order and the excessive disorder; a non-linear, dynamic, interdependent and intra-dependent structure, which changes over time.

We must act reconsidering the relationships between architecture and nature by implementing large compensation of naturalness in urban environments, to find a new and multiple balances in continually evolving in time.

All this translates into a new hybridization between city built and ecology, a new state of being primitive of the city. For another vision, for another system, for another order, for another chaos. For another Rome. Eco_logic, Eco_sustainable, Eco_sensible.


Title: alter_eco

Time: 16 marzo 2010
Category: Rome
Views: 1651 Likes: 0

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