A week dedicated to sustainable cities
Last week I was thrilled to participate in the Ecoweek events organized in Rome by Elias Messinas and the Ecoweek team, including Francesco Bedeschi of GBC Italia and Maria Luisa Palumbo of InArch. This was the second Italian Ecoweek and the first in Rome. It opened with a full schedule of talks and presentations at the Casa dell’Architettura. My opening talk was on “Re-use of Space, Spaces of Re-use” in which I proposed productive activities based on material resources to replace the pure consumption pushed by the neo-liberal city. I was followed by Ulf Meyer of Invenhoven Architects and Elena Barthel of Rural Studio who both gave fascinating presentations about their organization’s work. A long series of Italian architects, from Orizzontale to Modostudio to 2TR and others then presented their ideas and their work. Many of them would lead student workshops over the following days, addressing urgent problems from urban ecology to social sustainability. Later in the week the Goethe Institute hosted a roundtable discussion on Sustainability and Education where Ulf, Elena and I were joined by Camilla Bevilacqua of ARUP and Aylin Ayna of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University in Istanbul. Japanese architect Kengo Kuma gave the keynote address on Thursday at Roma Tre University, where on Friday the outcome of the workshops was presented. The results are all online at http://ecoweekconference.org/files/ecoweek2012_ROME/workshops.html#presentations
I was particularly involved in the work of the first team who proposed a serious bike-sharing system, much needed by Rome, and built a prototype in the piazza in front of our office off of Circus Maximus (in the photo above). Israeli Architect Dan Price, with Elena Barthel from Rural Studio and Paolo Cascone of COdesignLab led the international team who managed to coordinate a real design-build effort to success. Thanks to the various stakeholders of the space, Father Alberto of the church, Cinzia Abbate and various other architects with whom Studio Rome shares space, and the Campagna Amica Farmer’s Market across the street, a real experiment in productive use of public space was carried out. More projects like this and Rome will be once again a place for people, ideas, and urban vitality.