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CODE 108929
  • 4 cfu during the 1st year of 8694 SCIENZE DELL'ARCHITETTURA (L-17) - GENOVA
  • 4 cfu during the 2nd year of 8694 SCIENZE DELL'ARCHITETTURA (L-17) - GENOVA
  • 4 cfu during the 3nd year of 8694 SCIENZE DELL'ARCHITETTURA (L-17) - GENOVA
    LANGUAGE Italian
  • SEMESTER 2° Semester
    MODULES This unit is a module of:



    Starting from the most recent interpretations and theories regarding the origin and formation of the urban phenomenon, the course aims to be an exploration of the forms of constitution and transformation of urban and territorial changes through time and space. At the basis of the course is the idea that the city and the territory can be read through a series of analytical tools that return a representation independent of space and time. Urban facts covering a time span of 9,000 years and the entire globe will be analyzed, assuming that there are some - few - basic rules governing the processes of building, development and transformation of the urban settlement. The didactic path therefore foresees both the use of "transversal" analysis tools (morphological analysis, network analysis, urban scaling), and the opening towards disciplinary fields contiguous to architecture and urban planning, such as urban and regional geography, sociology, demography, spatial economy, ecology.


    The educational path will be divided according to a triple modality:
     Lectures by the teacher, as a guide to introduce and deepen the various topics of the four modules provided
     Field trip for the direct recognition of case studies: Genoa (walking lectures), Venice (three-day educational trip), Pompeii - Ostia Antica - Rome (three-day educational trip).
     Active participation of students (possibly divided into working groups) with practical exercises that will be articulated as follows:
    a) Critical reading of two basic texts (chosen from a list provided by the teacher) referring to each of these periods: prehistory and antiquity, medieval and modern times, contemporary period;
    b) Critical restitution of the processes of formation and transformation of a city, from its beginnings to the threshold of contemporaneity.


    The course is divided into four thematic modules.

    The first module, transversal, runs through the entire course, concerns an introduction to the science of complexity and the analysis of urbanization processes. The subject of this module will be the knowledge tools of the science of complexity: fractals, network analysis, scaling and power laws, evolution / evolutions, self-organization, space syntax, hints at some methods of artificial intelligence applied to the spatial analysis  (neural networks, cellular automata, multi-agent systems).

    The second module, also transversal, focuses on the analysis of urban morphology and building typologies and has as its purpose the knowledge of the relationships that are established between a single building (mainly the house, both single and collective), the urban fabric and the city shape. The interest here is aimed at the relationship between building type and urban form: as a single building, in its foundation on a logical structure of the form and organization of internal and external relations, conditions and determines the outcome of a form of the urban organism and the scenarios that characterize it. In particular, the concepts relating to the definition of type, the classification of building and urban types and the relationships between buildings and cities and between building types and urban form will be addressed. Reading of the historical evolution of the forms of the urban block; the domus, the courtyard type and the terraced type, the hybridizations of the traditional terraced type in some modern and contemporary experiments. The formation of urban fabrics in the historic city: Rome, Venice, Genoa, Florence, Siena, Pavia and other European and Italian cities. The theme of collective housing through the history of the city and architecture (from the Roman insulae to the Fourier Phalanstery, the Viennese Hofe, Le Corbusier's "Immeuble-Villas" and contemporary housing). Modern building types: the skyscraper, the station, the terminal, the building of the large block.

    The third module focuses on the theories and investigations concerning the city of the origins of the urban phenomenon, covering a time period that goes from the Neolithic to the urban explosion first in the Mesopotamian area and then in the Mediterranean area (with hints also to the manifestation of the urban phenomenon in China, India and Meso-America). Agriculture, language, technology and settlement. The dualisms synecism / foundation and spontaneous / planned. Ancient and premodern settlements: matrices, models, outcomes, with particular reference to Hippodamian schemes and territorial and urban planning of the Roman age. Territorial and urban phenomena in the Middle Ages: a long legacy. Urban cycles. The city-countryside relationship. Economies and geographies of the ancient and medieval settlement.

    The fourth module deals with the theme of the slow and long transformation of the urban fact in the West, covering the period that goes from the formation of the modern city to the transition to the contemporary city, starting from the great rupture - caused by the "industrial revolution" and the process of urbanization - of the reference framework within which the city had been conceived and built in previous centuries. The change (still ongoing) from the industrial city to the post-metropolitan territory, which led first to the process of formation of the great continental and global metropolises and finally (to the present day) to contemporary urban mega-regions. The issues relating to the spread of the urban, deindustrialization and new urban economies, from metropolises to magalopolises, demographic trends and urbanization, planetary urbanization, areas in post-demographic transition (shrinking cities and regions) will be addressed here. The disruptive emergence of the environmental issue: the urban phenomenon, climate change and resilient - biophilic cities.


    Bettencourt Luis M.A., 2021, Introduction to Urban Science, Cambridge (MA): MIT Press (capitoli selezionati)

    Batty M., 2018, Inventing Future Cities. Cambridge (MA): MIT Press (capitoli selezionati)

    West G., 2018. Scala, Milano: Mondadori.

    Caniggia G., Maffei G.L., 2017, Interpreting basic buildings, Firenze: Altralinea.

    Kostof, S. 1991. The City Shaped: Urban Patterns and Meanings Through History, Thames & Hudson: New York.





    February 2023

    Class schedule

    All class schedules are posted on the EasyAcademy portal.



    The final exam will focus on a booklet about the four modules of the course.