Landscape and Urban History Leading to the Detection of Hidden Codes for Contemporary Urban Sprawl

by Eleni Tracada

Landscape and Urban History leading to the Detection of Hidden Codes for Contemporary Urban Sprawl.

Is this the Way Forward for the 21st Century Urbanism?

For many years as a student at first and later as an architect, I had the opportunity to observe and study on specific areas inside the city of Florence, Italy.

Several interesting elements emerged from that research and also offered me the opportunity to discover ‘hidden’ paths and agendas in the development of special urban fabric; these strong indexical elements enable from time to time architecture to act as an originator of infinite solutions to a variety of public uses and demands.

Ongoing conversions inflicted to buildings for several centuries did not manage to make them loose specific qualities and identities at all.

Entire historical blocks in urban central areas continued to preserve their positive vigour in spite the efforts of being utterly altered by negative synergies, which were solicited by wrong policies and at the wrong times of history. Thus, rundown and abandoned areas had included for centuries these wonderful ‘hidden seeds’ which managed to emerge and recreate lost links; they became regeneration cells and also managed to guarantee further positive sprawl of the entire urban structure.

Architectural complexes managed to offer again new directions for new roles of the historical fabric; it was thought that we had lost them and/or erased from ordinary life in a city by changing their identity and uses. They managed to be finally freed and return to what it was thought to be their primordial destiny dictated by architecture and social synergies.