11 Cities and the Milan Convention Center Site

The profession of landscape architecture has had a relatively small presence in Italy. The disciplines of architecture and urban design have been well explored and taught through numerous schools, producing more graduates than what has been able to be absorbed in the profession.Landscape architecture, however, has not had much representation or visibility within the culture. It is, in part, a greater objective of this studio to create a window into the profession of landscape architecture so that the skills, which we have to offer as a profession, might be illustrated to Italian government officials, students, teachers and other design professionals.The first step in this process is to identify a need, which the profession can address, and then illustrate the process and the results of how we, as a profession, might go about satisfying this need. In other words, we must define an issue and then satisfy it in order to make our case.I have identified Milan as a city whose open-space is under siege and in need of direction as to how to address their issues of open-space. More specifically, Milan is a prospering city where its need for growth and an expanding infrastructure is not easily fitting within the constraints of its medieval infrastructure. Parking lots are occupying precious open spaces, other valuable open spaces are often falling into ruin, the canal system within the city remain underdeveloped and undervalued as possible open-space and whatever parks still exist have fallen under the pressure of sprawling, un-dense development at its fringes. One of the greatest challenges is to re-invest the landscape with value, as the \”fringe\” landscape is both the greatest and most neglected component of \”sprawl\”. Given the low status of the landscape (in relation to architecture) and its degraded image, it is, in fact, only through the design of the landscape that meaningful connections between cities can be made. Through the design of the landscape, an image can be created and ecological reparations can be made to an environment that is both ecologically and culturally squandered. It is through the design of the landscape that cohesion, image, legibility and identity can be achieved in this marginalized, \”in-between\” type of landscape.The topic of this studio is about the landscape of the urban fringe. The students will be given the task of creating identity, order and legibility out of the landscape chaos of Milan\’s urban edge. In general, this is a very topical issue and can apply to almost anywhere on the globe where city expansion is resulting in the loose, formless spread of sub-urban development best known as \”sprawl\”.Although the problem will be specific to this particular site and problem, students will have experience dealing with a problem that one can find down the street from one\’s home, or in almost any country one travels. The first step will be to define the site, and then to create a context, make a new image for the site and devise a strategy in order to weave the new Convention Center back into existing urban structures such as public transportation, road systems and back to the city centers themselves.