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Rules and regulations for urban design and planning: a guide for social and formal quality of

Universit degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza"

In adhering to the above objectives, the research program will be divided into three parts, referred to
three theoretical problems that have been individuated as those most closely linked to issues regarding
contents, trends and innovation introduced over the past few years in the practice of town-planning
(participation, environment, beauty, flexibility). The first part will be dedicated to a historical analysis
of rules and regulations, the second to a theory of rules and regulations, the third to techniques and
practice. This third section will be dedicated to case studies and checking ideas on the contents and type
of regulations (written and planned), ideas which will substantiate the work carried out in the other
sections and also the analysis of normative material which will be collected as a first step of the
research, material largely available as result of various researches of the units.
This work will be distributed among the five local research units, two of which will work on the first
and second sections of the research (historical analysis and theory of rules and regulations), while the
remaining three units will work on techniques and practice of rules and regulations.
The distribution and the specificity of the local unit tasks were worked out based on the features of the
contents of the research experiences or previous experimentation by each of the same units. In this way,
the research work continuously falls within the framework of the research interests already consolidated
by each of the units.
For the first and second part of the research, the work is planned thus:
- Sassari local unit: "Norm and rules for the urban project: historical and genealogical questions".
- Milan local unit: "Rules and Regulations for Urban Design and Planning: Theoretical and analytical
For the third section, the research proposes to check eventual new ways for creating regulations,
individuated in light of the above-mentioned theoretical ideas, regarding the aforesaid phenomena
(living in suburbs, new commercial centres in peripheral areas, degradation in consolidated peripheries,
new built-up areas; construction and use of the public space and of the space of public use in
consolidated and non-consolidated urban peripheries).
Of course theoretical questions are important in this third part of the research too, and each one unit will
treat them as requested by the specific work. But the primary goal is to draw up guide lines for the
construction of rules related to phenomena and cases of scale treated by the unit.
More particularly, the work is planned thus:
- Genoa local unit: "Rules and regulations for the urban and land design: a guide for the forms of
dwelling in the urban regions and in the rural territories".
- Ancona local unit: "Rules and regulations of urban design and planning: Guidelines for the
qualification of non consolidated peripheral areas and old and new built-up areas".
- Rome Local unit: "Rules and regulations for the urban design and planning: a guide for the
construction of public space and space of public use in consolidated and non-consolidated urban
The final results will include, for all units, working out the final relation for the specific work for each

unit. All this will constitute an organic and systemic work on the issue: "The creation and use of written
and planned regulations in town-planning practice: a guide for the quality of social and formal living".
Principal Investigator

Paolo COLAROSSI Universit degli Studi di ROMA "La Sapienza"

Research Objectives

One of the particular, but main elements of the urban design and planning, at all levels, is the normative
apparatus. In town-planning this should take on the meaning and the role of an actual collective code in
order to organize and shape the inhabited and uninhabited space. It should express and communicate the
references and the values acknowledged as the basis of social and operative behaviour of a society.
The normative apparatus is the tool which places, or should place concepts and the best layout visions
for the territory and the city in relation to the operative tools. It is the driving force between the theory
and the practice.
Therefore, the normative apparatus plays a fundamental role in conserving and transforming the
territories and the cities, providing the working framework for the town-planning project in all its
aspects territorial plans, municipal plans, environmental plans, landscape plans, plans already carried
out and complex programs.
In spite of this fundamental role, the debate and systematic thinking on the normative apparatus, on its
contents and effectiveness, and on the way it can affect the organization and the shape of territorial and
urban space, are lacking. Little work has been done, especially on the relations between the normative
body and the form of human settlement. The creation of the normative apparatus is seen as a
professional practice that proposes stereotype forms or, in the best cases, leaves how they are worked
out in the background as well as, the relation with its effects which, through regulations, it wishes to
This lack of thinking is noticed even moreso compared to the new awareness and attention and to the
relevant trends that, in the last few years, have been the object of thinking, debate and experimentation
in town-planning. A thinking, debate and experimentation that have been generally used to criticise the
lack of content and functionality of the town-planning tools and the proposals to improve or change
them, but, however, have left, for the most part, the systematic treatment of the normative apparatus
relatively untouched.
Citizen participation in town-planning choices, the environment as an element that can influence and
condition those choices, the beauty of the territory and the city as their inhabitants want them and as a
question of distributed equity and the flexibility of the town-planning tools as basic conditions for being
suitably effective, are some of the issues, among other closely inter-related ones, that the debate and
experimentation, also legislative, are more focused on.
Debate and experimentation, which along with innovation in content and form of town-planning tools,
still do not appear to be enough to face the question of the normative apparatus which should support
working out the issues and the effectiveness of the proposals for town-planning tools on all scales.
Thus, the general aim of the research program is to study the theoretical aspects and their values which
could make up the basis for creating the normative apparatus, looking carefully at the above-mentioned
issues, and comparing and checking the theoretical and conceptual questions with the operative
necessity of the town-planning tools different scales, as weel as the effectiveness that the regulations

should produce for the organization and the form of the territorial and urban space.
This general aim can be better divided into two points. Firstly, the research plans to investigate three
theoretical problems referring to the issues of participation, environment, beauty and flexibility.
Secondly, the research plans to verify the theoretical ideas using case studies that will be testament to
the way and to what degree the adaptability and possible innovations can assume the necessary formal
code value which shapes the space and creates the images of the territory and the city.
For point one, the theoretical problems, in increasingly important order, are:
- a rethinking, from the roots, of the meaning and values under the regulations, so as to individuate and
specify the theoretical and conceptual references to be used as the basis for laying down the same
- the differences between regulatory models assigning rights and duties without
participating in public life and the models, instead, that actually place the emphasis on citizen
participation in public life.
- the balance and equal weighing up between rigid and established
regulatory forms and flexible and open ones.
For the second point, the research proposes to check the new ways to create regulations, individuated in
light of the above theoretical ideas, on a European level (or better, the effects of the European
regulations and policies on the Italian territory), for a broad area, for the city and parts of the city (infraurban). We can see again how the regulations which will be the object of the research are those that can
directly produce effects on the organization and formalization of the space.
Both points are aimed at being able to set down a series of principles, indications and guidelines to
create regulations on different scales. The proposed aim is to create a systematically based guide to be
put forward for debate and experimentation. <<<

24 months
National and international background

As far as the scientific background is concerned, the indications connected to the general aspect of the
research are listed below. Moreover, according to the final goal of the research, some indications will
regard the current debate on the construction and use of "Guides" as instruments of organisation,
systematisation and diffusion of the traditional knowledge and/or shared in the fields of architecture and
town planning.
The normative component is a particular element of urban design, here understood as that particular
public activity (or at least collective) directed at the regulation of regional transformations (Mazza,
1994; Magnaghi, 1990). This regulatory component is essential for planning action (Campos Venuti,
1989; Salzano, 1998) and the connotation of social meanings. Rules and regulations are collective
codes to organize and give form to inhabited space, expressing the ethical references and values
recognized by a community through the language of the project (Pogliani, 1994). Even from an
historical perspective, city growth and change have always been guided by a more or less organic body
of rules (Pugliese, 1997; Hillier, Hanson, 1984). Despite the centrality of this normative component, the
relationships between the normative body and human settlement form have been little investigated. This
is partly due to the fact that, following the interpretative scheme of Schon (1993), the production of
rules by those who develop the plans forms part of those activities that constitute professional practice,
leaving in the background the problems of their development (and their effects) under the
methodological profile. The rare suggestions of this can be found in the work of the authors that have

investigated the foundational elements of the discipline, as for instance Choay (1986) and Mancuso
(1978), or the authors interested in the language of plans (Guttemberg, 1993; Mazza, 1993; Naddeo,
1996) or further, with specific reference to the themes of the relationship between rules and forms of
inhabited space (on which this research endeavor intends to concentrate its attention), as with authors
such as Habraken (1997) or C. Alexander (1977).
Parallel to the theme of the comparison of the relationship between rules and forms, the authors have
critically posed the question of the construction and the effectiveness of action within so-called
planning theories (Alexander, 1986; Faludi, 1986; Friedmann, 1987; Mandelbaum et al., 1996).
On the activities of construction of the regulations of planning action, close examinations have been
made in the broader field of the philosophy of law (Bobbio, 1993; Castiglione, 1998), while much rarer
are the contributions that have confronted the methods of construction of the regulations (Moroni, 1999;
Gabellini, 1996; Dal Piaz, 1997, Gabellini, 2001).
The reflections most internal to the discipline itself are primarily developed in the sectors of law and
legislation, neglecting their specific formative properties relative to the design of urban and regional
space (above all the reference here is to the handbook: Mengoli, 1997; Pagliari, 1997). An organic
reflection has been developed only as it regards legislative evolution (Seassaro 2000; Mantini and
Oliva, 1996) and the development of criteria for the verification of land use and building activity
(Mazza, 1987 and 1997), on the basis of urban functionality. Not as much can be said for the aspects
linked to the formation of performance criteria for the construction of inhabited space (on which instead
the search intends to be developed), that can lead back to a shared social formulation (Caniglia Rispoli
et al., 1984). In this sense, reference can be made to the theories formulated within the area of
"Normative Planning" (Klosterman, 1978; Lynch, 1981, C. Alexander, 1977).
Only in recent years has there been talk of "guides" as a new instrument to protect and promote the
traditional construction patrimony. During the XXXIVth 2003 INU Congress, proposals were submitted
within the framework of the "Territory Report" developed by Piedmont Region, to develop guides
focusing on the non regulating function of laws and the appropriateness of finding shared rules, as well
as rendering the quality aims that public administrations intend to pursue fully transparent and
describing and illustrating more clearly the technical and formal quality aspects proposed by the plans
with respect to the image of the urban scenario. The Leader Plus (2000-2006) programme went as far as
including financing for pilot recovery manuals and encouraged consideration of the contents and
efficacy of a guide with respect to the PRG and Building Regulations. Substantially, it was recognised
that the majority of building interventions escape quality controls and may alter the typical features of
the existing patrimony. But this is not all: three guides that have been produced provide suggestions on
regulations and projects for local planning in order to enhance environmental resources and the non
urban territory, providing operational indications for the different groups of intervention, from
maintenance to restoration, from restructuring to new constructions. These new instruments, which are
still at an experimental stage, will be used not only to stimulate local Boards, but also to address a wider
public of technicians, citizens and social representatives. All this will be done, not by introducing new
restraints but by providing practical information and useful suggestions.
It is in this disciplinary context, which has only very recently become responsive to this topic, but
which has no systematic studies on the effects that may be produced by the current regulation logics
and supporting guidelines for administrators, technicians and citizens, in the attempt to find a higher
social and formal quality of lifestyle, that this research is carried out with the aim of developing a Guide
Manual based on the simulation method of alternative scenarios. For the specific research themes

tackled by the single research units (see the Research Program below) we refer to the scientific
backgrounds in the respective B models. <<<