Hidden Urbanities: Diversity as the Imaginative Potential for the Urban to Become Urbanity

The concept of urbanity has been recently questioned with reference to the fundamental and far-reaching change in the very nature of the urbanisation processes. Even a new urban question that tackles with the concept of urbanity is being focused to embody the challenges of this change. In the specific literature it is commonly argued that urbanity is pluralising itself in a range of potentialities to be discovered and unveiled, therefore still hidden. They might include multiple ranges of city-ness (whether conceived as urban everyday life, community making processes, socio-cultural and religious fights, conflicts about contested spaces, the claiming of citizenships rights, the unfolding of different styles of life, or otherwise) along with different kinds of urban spaces. The lecture will argue on these questions while providing a plural conceptualisation of urbanity that brings it out of the dark.

Camilla Perrone, University of Florence
Wednesday May 18th – 9.30am-0.30pm, Aula Pietre, Palazzo di San Clemente, Via Micheli 2

Towards Urban Ecologies: Recent Trends in the Literary City

Form its birth onwards, the city has been a central feature in Western literary works, playing diverse but always fundamental roles across centuries and civilisations. This crucial presence – proven by a number of ancient and modern texts – testifies the complexity and the importance of the relationship between humankind and urban spaces. The city is a highly developed form of social organization on a large scale. Yet, as Burton Pike stated, during the nineteenth century the literary city came more and more to express the isolation or exclusion of the individual from a community, and in the twentieth century to express the fragmentation of the very concept of community. The recent theoretical framework of Urban Ecologies has finally come to underline some positive characteristics of cities, such as being a community, a “web”. This new model may also be profitable in terms of a spatial-textual theory, as the interpretation of filmic and literary texts – and in particular of Adriano Guerrini’s poetry – shows.

Maria Pia Arpioni, University of Cà Foscari
Wednesday May 18th – 2.30-5.30pm, Room 7M, Palazzo di San Clemente, Via Micheli 2

Urban Space as a Contested Space: Struggles for Identity in the Florence Area

Giovannoni Contested Spaces
Urban space is often the terrain of encounter-clash between competing users of public spaces. Competition and conflict may depend on differences in age, social status, race, culture, sexuality, among others. Mostly the categories of ‘renewal’ and ‘decay’ are used according to the interests of particular groups. Inevitably urban design is in the benefit of certain groups and to the detriment of others. However the fight is generally masked by the rhetoric/ideology of decay and renewal. This section of the seminar will question, through a wide range of historical and contemporary examples, the very foundations of urban design. A specific case study on competition for public spaces in the Florence area will be presented.

Giulio Giovannoni, University of Florence
Wednesday June 1st 2016, 2.30am-5.30pm, Aula Pietre, Palazzo di San Clemente, Via Micheli 2