OPEN SPACE PLANNING AND URBAN ECOLOGY

Teachers: 
Credits: 
6
Site: 
PARMA
Year of erogation: 
2021/2022
Unit Coordinator: 
Disciplinary Sector: 
Urban Planning
Semester: 
Single Annual Cycle
Year of study: 
1
Language of instruction: 

English

Learning outcomes of the course unit

The course aims at providing theoretical and practical tools for the open space assessment and planning at the neighborhood and city scale.
At the end of the learning experience, the student is supposed:
- to acquire knowledge in open space assessment,
- to develop proper practical skills to approach open space analysis and planning, including GIS techniques.
- to develop specific communication skills and be autonomous in further learning concerning the issues of open space planning and design.

Prerequisites

The student is supposed to have a slight conscience in the field of urban planning and, mostly, on procedures of urban analysis.
It is also necessary to have skills
in managing the composition of urban analysis documents containing cartography,
texts and images.

Course contents summary

The course deals with the topics of open space planning and urban ecology, providing methods and tools for the construction of a cognitive framework of the urban environment, using Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
The course tackles also the basic principles of human geography, sociology and economics of urban spaces, and explores the environmental and social value of public open spaces, the relationship among urban form, functions and the public space, and the planning instruments which deals with these issues.
The following topics will be treated:
- Transformability of urban open spaces in the contemporary city: urbanisation processes (along with economic constraints and social issues), urban morphology, land consumption and ecocity criteria;
- Open space assessment and planning with the support of GIS technology: assessing the quality and role of open spaces, the mutual setting of public and private sphere (synergies and conflicts), public equipment and open public space ecological performance.
- Planning and design tools: sustainable planning strategies, social equity (right-to-the-city), pedestrian-oriented public spaces, environmental benefits of an ecological design (adaptation to climate change, de-sealing practices).

Recommended readings

Main texts:
- Gehl J., Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York 1987
- Gehl J., Cities for people, Island Press, 2010
- Hack G., Site Planning: International Practice, MIT Press, 2018
- Hall P.G., Cities of Tomorrow: An Intellectual History of Urban Planning and Design in the Twentieth Century, 2013, IV ed., Blackwell Publishers
- Lynch K., The image of the city, The MIT Press, Cambridge MA, 1960
- Ventura P., La città nuova. Elementi di progettazione urbanistica, McGraw-Hill, 2018

Teaching methods

- Lectures on the cultural aspects of open space planning and design.
- GIS Exercises: Building a Relational Database in a GIS environment as a support to open space planning (software: Quantum GIS).
- Integrated design studio for the urban Regeneration of an urban block in a European middle-sized city.
- Study trips and webinars with foreign professors.

Assessment methods and criteria

The final exam consists of three parts:
1) assignment to be delivered during the course: the GIS Database built in groups of maximum 3 students.
2) discussion about solutions and statements assumed for the practical Urban Regeneration Design work;
3) oral test on theoretical and cultural aspects.
For further details, see the corresponding course “URBAN PLANNING STUDIO FOR THE SUSTAINABLE CITY”

Other informations

Attending 70% of the lessons is compulsory for admission to final exam. Participating in GIS practical exercises in class is highly recommended. At the conclusion of the group work, the students will summarize the results in a poster that will be exposed and discussed during a seminar, on the themes of urban planning, that will take place at the end of the academic year.