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marzo 6th, 2017



workshop en la milano international architectural Week

An attempt to modelize complex processes of urban production in different scales, taking into account their multiple players, and focusing on the actions and processes rather than on the objects and results.

video: “Hexacity”, by Gloriana Barboza, Gerardo Colantuoni, Fabio Di Iorio, Eric Agyei, Marco Norcaro, Andrea Premoli, Lucas Lorenzo Mattana, Mattia Zorzoli.


Visiting Professor: Luis Basabe Montalvo

Tutor: Talita Medina

Participants: Marziyeh Abbasishekar, Eric Agyei, Venugopal Anakkara Vadakkath, Gloriana Barboza, Carla Pamela Beingolea Sanchez, Gerardo Colantuoni, Fabio Di Iorio, Marini Saripuspa Dini, Sonia Maura Garcia, Kaidan Hou, Romina Khalili, Lucas Lorenzo Mattana, Debakshi Mitra, Niyayesh Nahavandy, Marco Norcaro, Benedict Pagani, Hazal Pehlivan, Andrea Premoli, Shirin Safari Foroushani, Antonela Estefania Sborlini, Francesco Scarnera, Yahya Yasser Mohamed Shaker, Xin Tang, Sally Fernanda Torres Mallma, Xin Wang, Mattia Zorzoli.



+    DIFFERENT VALUES AND INTERESTS coexist in urban production, and trace often divergent and even contradictory development trails for the city. Speculators, squatters, activists, politicians, homeowners, investors, minorities, or just citizens, are simultaneously the motor of urban transformation. And it is precisely this inherent contradiction that builds urbanity’s main characteristic: its complexity.

+    AN AUTHENTIC BATTLEFIELD, on which institutions, investors and civil society fight fiercely for the most divergent interests, appears clearly in such central locations as Scalo Farini. The proximity of consolidated centralities makes such sites highly desirable for all urban players, who look forward to materializing their respective values and visions in the city. Different factions of capital, politics and institutions try to spatialize their power projects, but also disempowered citizenship and democracy have a chance to flourish in this process.

+    “WHO MAKES THE CITY?” becomes the core question in urban production, and its answer will define the most internal chemistry of any urban development. Each actor plays the city with a different set of tools –economic, political, demographic, etc., and in a different scale –both of spaceand time-. A continuous negotiation, a kind of board game is generated, which we call “the city”.

+    A CITY IS A PROCESS, not a product. It is furthermore a mesh of different processes, led by different actors, which follow the most different stimuli and rules. Contemporary urbanity has accelerated this kind of complexity in such a way, that the city has become far too complicated to be “designed” in its result.

+    THE CONVENTIONAL APPARATUS of architecture and planning appears as highly inadequate to deal with such a complex system. Product and object oriented, it fails to describe a reality, which has much more to do with processes and relations than with results.

+    WE NEED NEW TOOLS, able to describe and transform the production rather than the products, and the processes rather than the objects. We need new models, able to represent the different actors’ visions and interests, and to manage their intense negotiations on this new urban arena. Only a city, which can be produced by all, can be really democratic.


THIS MIAW 2017 WORKSHOP’S OBJECTIVES will be precisely focused on the instrumental and narrative questions of urban space production: How can we represent a complex urban transformation as a negotiation? How can we bring diverse actors’ visions/projects into an integrated architectural language? How can we generate tools not only to describe, but also to manage the transformation processes, rather than their material results?

In order to address all these questions, the workshop will deal with THE CREATION OF A GAME, which is understood as a tool for the simulation, visualization and management of urban negotiations.

The GAME will thematize the negotiation itself, and should be able to describe very different realities –values, topologies, actors,actions, contexts, etc.- with different tools within a single operational framework. It will be able to include a big amount of complexity, and to describe the city’s transformation process without predesigning its result.


The Scalo Farini Area in Milan will be the case study for these –and many other- questions. It is a highly interesting strategic enclave that shows itself as a huge game board for extremely different actors and transformation scales, going from productive facilities to real estate potentials, and from big infrastructures to marginal squatters.

This workshop is NOT about designing how the Scalo Farini should look like. On the contrary, the task will be to develop a tool to describe and play the area’s negotiated transformation, as an open-end process of different and even diverging interests and visions.

The workshop’s output should be a ludic but accurate representation of an urban development. It will thematize the negotiation itself, and will be able to describe very different realities –values, topologies, actors, actions, contexts, etc.- with different tools within a single operational framework. It will be able to describe a its transformation process without defining its result, and focusing on the question “who makes the city?”