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Modern Urban Planning and Dissonant Heritage: The Case of San Polo

Modern Urban Planning and Dissonant Heritage: The Case of San Polo SummaryThe aim of the article is to understand to what extent modern mass housing estates, built in the decades following the Second World War with new construction methods and under the influence of innovative planning ideas and egalitarian philosophy, are currently facing a process of decline. In particular, the research is committed to understand how such innovative urban structures rapidly evolved into stigmatized places of residence and sources of dissonant heritage. The work focuses on the case of San Polo, a neighbourhood of Brescia, in Italy, designed by architect, planner and historian Leonardo Benevolo, who had the opportunity in the northern Italian city to experiment and implement his architectural views in the sphere of “public urbanization”. It is possible to claim that Benevolo’s theoretical approach and architectural practice excellently represented the golden age of modern housing in postwar Europe, when the connection between progressive political views and egalitarian urban planning was apparently perfect. Nevertheless, after the political and economic transition that characterized western Europe since the 1980s, mass housing quickly became a residual issue in the public discourse and entered in a spiral of decline. San Polo was no exception: problems – especially in its iconic tower blocks – soon emerged, and overall optimistic expectations were frustrated by the reality of physical, social and economic decline. This study is therefore committed to understand to what extent San Polo is a case of dissonant heritage in the urban context. While it is clear that the heritage of San Polo is the heritage of a precise historical phase and represents particular ideas in architecture and planning, on the other hand it must be stressed that the ideological transition of recent decades made its values and its messages obsolete and that socio-economic segregation negatively affected the reputation of the neighbourhood and its inhabitants had to face a process of stigmatization that found echo in official and journalistic discourse. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Art History & Criticism de Gruyter

Modern Urban Planning and Dissonant Heritage: The Case of San Polo

Art History & Criticism , Volume 16 (1): 15 – Dec 1, 2020

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
© 2020 Nicola Belli, published by Sciendo
ISSN
1822-4547
eISSN
1822-4547
DOI
10.2478/mik-2020-0005
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

SummaryThe aim of the article is to understand to what extent modern mass housing estates, built in the decades following the Second World War with new construction methods and under the influence of innovative planning ideas and egalitarian philosophy, are currently facing a process of decline. In particular, the research is committed to understand how such innovative urban structures rapidly evolved into stigmatized places of residence and sources of dissonant heritage. The work focuses on the case of San Polo, a neighbourhood of Brescia, in Italy, designed by architect, planner and historian Leonardo Benevolo, who had the opportunity in the northern Italian city to experiment and implement his architectural views in the sphere of “public urbanization”. It is possible to claim that Benevolo’s theoretical approach and architectural practice excellently represented the golden age of modern housing in postwar Europe, when the connection between progressive political views and egalitarian urban planning was apparently perfect. Nevertheless, after the political and economic transition that characterized western Europe since the 1980s, mass housing quickly became a residual issue in the public discourse and entered in a spiral of decline. San Polo was no exception: problems – especially in its iconic tower blocks – soon emerged, and overall optimistic expectations were frustrated by the reality of physical, social and economic decline. This study is therefore committed to understand to what extent San Polo is a case of dissonant heritage in the urban context. While it is clear that the heritage of San Polo is the heritage of a precise historical phase and represents particular ideas in architecture and planning, on the other hand it must be stressed that the ideological transition of recent decades made its values and its messages obsolete and that socio-economic segregation negatively affected the reputation of the neighbourhood and its inhabitants had to face a process of stigmatization that found echo in official and journalistic discourse.

Journal

Art History & Criticismde Gruyter

Published: Dec 1, 2020

Keywords: Modern urban planning; Urban Landscape; Dissonant Heritage; Postwar History; Italy; Leonardo Benevolo

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