Cities are heterogeneous, big, complex and full of people who interact with one another, go to work, visit or simply pass by.
Like a forest or a garden, if neglected or left to their destiny, cities grow in an uncontrolled manner and tend to fulfill only their immediate needs. A city without rules, control and maintenance becomes a subject that develops in a disorderly and costly manner, in terms of economic, social and environmental progress. Such a development is not sustainable at all.
The analysis project has taken all this into account and offered a different model of Urban Scenography, based on other values: sustainabilty, accessibility, understanding, protection and maintenance.
A city must be open, easy and affordable for those who live there or for those who want to visit it. It must be open to business, to living and exploration. Easy to reach, easy to follow, easy to understand.
A city must be accessible: no group of people, whether children, adults, elders, disabled, tourists or visitors, should stay out of what it offers.
“The most effective way to design public places is to think like any common user; often, people who use a city’s systems are probably very different from those who design them. They have different motivations and different levels of familiarity with the city, its places, its functions. The best thing to do is to put ourselves in their shoes in order to get a proper idea of what others see and what they need. We therefore adopted this method.”
In this case, “learning by doing” has become the methodolgy adopted and shared by all the participants in the project: administrators, municipal technicians, enterpeuners and companies involved in the works.
Public lighting project has the following goals:
– Safety of pedestrians and road traffic;
– Reducing light pollution;
– Energy saving;
– Improving life quality and the use of urban centers as well as environmental, monumental and architectural assets;
– Eliminating disturbances caused by projectors and headlights placed near shop windows;
– Optimizing operational and maintenance costs;
– Improving the city’s visibility and viability during the evening hours and at night, without modifying one’s perception of the city’s identity, bearing in mind that every architecture is linked to its context, its colors, its lights and the hierarchy of places with shadows and dim light.
Our aim is to make people enjoy squares, streets and monuments as places of encounter and of personal and cultural growth. Lighting that portrays present times while respecting and celebrating the past. We tried not to flood streets and buildings with light but to tune light and darkness, accentuating the perception of glimpses and the roads’ twining into harmonious volumes
On the other hand, we took account of parameters of technical efficiency and composition in the project by alternating lights and shadows in order to create emotion.
In selecting the equipment, we followed a dimensional, morphological and chromatic consistency in order to respect the already existing ones. Light projectors were installed in a way that they remain concealed from the main observation axis. Surrounding buildings have often been used as natural supports in order to avoid pole stands.
Light has an increasingly important role in the identity of a city center itself and in its residents’ lives. It helps to create atmosphere and comfort and to keep the city vigorously alive. A city with good lighting promotes itself. Creating a good lighting system is fundamental when it comes to tourism promotion. This leads to a wider use of urban spaces thus contributing to a higher quality of life.
The project’s philosophy includes the enhancement of place-name stones, recovering their design and original colour and the study of a proper lettering. We divided the historical city into two sections; the most ancient one is located northwards of Via Garibaldi, where the bardiglio-framed stones prevail. The second section lies southwards of Via Garibaldi and dates back to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
In the first section, a bardiglio frame is inserted in all stones that need repairing or integration, whereas in the other section bardiglio frames will not be inserted.
On-site assessment and meetings with the Place-name Bureau were carried out in order to determine the interventions, according to the stone’s nature and its present conditions:.
– proper cleaning of the marble from the black crust due to pollution
– replacing broken or badly damaged stones
– eliminating all artifices which prevent their perception
– inserting bardiglio frames in stones which lack it in the first section of the city, possibly on-site
– replacing black ink with reddish purple in lettering the stones (as found in ancient stones located in Via del Capitano Ardelli, Via del Saracino and Piazza Grande)
– adopting two new letterings, stemming from inscriptions found in ancient stones (those with bardiglio frames) and commemorative stones dating back to the nineteenth century, including historical tombstones in the monumental cemetery
The letters have then been digitized and engineered in a numerical way, to facilitate their inscription on stones by mechanical milling cutters.
Encourage people to walk
Walking is an activity practised by all social groups of different ages, religions and cultures. Walking is healthy and free. Walking through the city is useful for business and local economy, since a city center is mostly dedicated to trade and recreation purposes. Walking is good for the environment since it is a form of sustainable transportation, it has little or no environmental impact and does not cause pollution or accidents. More people on the streets also create a safer community: more “eyes” mean less risk of theft and assault and therefore a safer environment.
Provide a better service
People need clear and consistent information along the route in order to encourage them to walk.
– find information whenever they need it.
– understand how information is communicated.
– get the necessary information directly and clearly.
Develop mental maps
In order to encourage citizens or visitors to walk, it is necessary to build a system that develops the mental maps of people as much as possible. This makes it easier to plan an itinerary. When people know which is the best itinerary, how long it lasts and what are its difficulties, they are indeed more willing to consider the idea of walking.
A cultural change: on foot in 5-10 minutes
Reliability is a key factor when one chooses to walk. Walking times are always reliable whereas buses can be delayed and traffic can considerably influence travel time by car. We have plotted walk distances within 5 minutes, taking into consideration all possible difficulties along the route. The diagram shows that by overlapping the different areas (within 5 minutes’ trip), walking across the central part of Arezzo can be achieved in a relatively short time. This fact is relevant in order to encourage people to walk.
The information system, or in the specific case the identification system, has been set up by placing Information panels in front of historic buildings and precious architectural contexts, providing necessary information without interfering with the surrounding landscape.
The project was developed by adopting the following interventions:
– Decreasing the total number of panels, eliminating redundancies, overlaps and repetitions.
– Reducing the size of the panels. Descriptions have been limited to necessary baseline information; all elements that would make it cumbersome such as stands, frames and decorations have been eliminated so that the information can coincide as much as possible with the artifact itself.
– Recovering the most significant information from the panels as well as the bronze busts of famous citizens which were part of the “Arretium” panels.
The form in which information is presented must be neutral and evident with respect to the façade; in this way, it will distinguish perfectly. Often, period pieces and decorative shapes inspired by surrounding historic places were placed, misleading people to believe that they had always been there. In our project we tried to avoid this misleading factor and avoided panels that recall the façade’s style
Historical buildings and monuments come from different periods and styles, therefore a panel made in a particular style (often inspired by Art Deco or medieval art) does not fit in all the various contexts of the city. The project regards a system, in a city that is heteregenous in styles and ages; therefore an Identification system with a minimalistic and simple style is, in our opinion, the most suitable one.
Distraction is the main cause of accidents, the shift of attention from safety rules to other issues. A confusing signboard diverts a driver’s attention. The large number of signals needed to regulate traffic in a metropolitan area also makes it difficult to intervene promptly and to repair damage caused by wear and spreading vandalism. Regular monitoring by the municipal police forces of such a wide road signage system is almost impossible
Reduce the number of road signs
The project arose from the need to reduce the overall number of road signs and, in some cases, eliminate them completely. Wherever possible, a less invasive ground signage system has been experimented whereas in restricted traffic areas, they were reduced since such areas are already regulated by an access system
The project was developed as follows:
– Reducing redundant, replicated or useless signs, in compliance with road rules.
– Replacing decayed, soiled or faded signs
– Reducing, in compliance with current standard rules, the size of the road signs in city center. Speed limit is much less in the center than in the suburbs, therefore smaller signs and indications can still be perceived clearly.
– Shifting road signs that interfere with architectural elements and perspective views.
– Designing both wall and ground supports and applying them with the use of more functional and less invasive hooks.
All contents and images regarding urban scenography have been inserted in a specific website, available for consultation by anyone looking for further information.