UCL Urban Laboratory


AHRC Roman Modernities Network: Regeneration in London and Rome

12 July 2013, 10:00 am–6:15 pm


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UCL Engineering Building Room. 1.02, 2 Malet Place WC1E 6BT

AHRC Roman Modernities Network, Workshop Four: Regeneration, 12 July, 2013 

UCL and University of Warwick

For enquiries contact Professor Lesley Caldwell (l.caldwell@ucl.ac.uk)


Paola Briata, UCL, Ben Campkin, UCL, Giovanni Caudo, Roma Tre,  Martine Drozdz, LSE/University of Lyon, Michael Edwards, UCL, Silvia Lucciarini, Roma Tre, Giorgio Piccinato, Roma Tre, Azzurra Muzzonigro LAC/Roma Tre, Davide Spina, UCL.

As European cities with very different national and international histories London and Rome offer a range of points of comparison in their approach to the reorganisation and revisiting of earlier postwar attempts at reconstruction and in their current assignation of priorities. This fourth workshop in the Romanmodernities network brings together British and Italian scholars, experts on London and Rome and the planning priorities that have shaped their recent structure and identity.

'Regeneration,' an evocative and now pervasive metaphor for urban change, appeared first in English in relation to the reconstruction of slum districts and then in the repertoire of socio-biological metaphors through which the renewal of the postwar city was conceived: properly functioning neighbourhoods would self-regenerate; where regeneration did not occur spontaneously radical reconstruction was necessary. 

The discourse and practice of regeneration has widespread currency in present-day London, gaining momentum from the 1980s to the 2000s. 'Regeneration' features heavily in The London Plan (2011) the capital's current strategic plan, written by the directly-elected Mayor of London and published by the Greater London Assembly. It identifies great swathes of London as 'opportunity areas' and defines regeneration areas as those 'in greatest socio- economic need'. Since the financial crisis of 2008, and the end of the era of New Labour (1997-2010), where  'urban renaissance' was a central policy objective, regeneration has been exposed to scrutiny and critiqued as a cover for various processes of real-estate driven restructuring, particularly in areas of large-scale transformation such as the Elephant and Castle, King's Cross and the Olympic Park area. 

In Rome, early postwar pressure on the housing and rehousing of already existing populations and the impact of the constant influx of new populations that contributed to rapid city growth was  organised by speculative building, by the policies deriving from the 1949 Ina casa law regarding public housing,  by  the local impact of the economic boom, by the Olympics of 1960, and by the  debates about the  direction of city expansion. More recently, rebuilding of particular areas and the growing concern with the environment, articulated through intensely local political priorities, has been linked with the Piano regolatore, the master plan, made law in 2003 after decades of debate. 

On the one hand the future of the centro storico and its conservation, the controversial new building projects within the walls (the Ara Pacis, the now abandoned project for the redevelopment of the Capitoline hill) the project for the Auditorium and Maxxi in Flaminio, the redevelopment of Ostiense and the Esquline  hill, on the other the city's  growing extension into the jurisdictions of the province and the region, together with the more directly politically focused issues regarding inclusion and exclusion of ethnic communities and their accommodation in particular areas, provide  the focus of continuing debate. While the earlier term 'riqualificazione' took the fabric of the city as its focus, 'rigenerazione' extends that concern to aspects of living and their dependence on infrastructural provision at the local level. This encourages a potentially conservative outlook, yet it also involves the wider politics of developing the livable city, adding those dimensions to the formal structure of the master plan. 


Morning Session. Chair Lesley Caldwell, UCL

10.00-11.15 Regeneration. The recent history of a concept. 

Italy/ Rome: Paola Briati, Bartlett School.

London: Martine Drozdz, LSE/Lyon. Urban regeneration in England: towards a reassessment of a contested policy.

11.15-11.45 Coffee

11.45-1.00 The early post war years and their later revisitings

Giorgio Piccinato, Roma Tre, Plans, parties and the 1960 Olympics 

Ben Campkin, UCL, Regeneration ad nauseam: the making and remaking of the Elephant and Castle. 

Davide Spina, Maiden Lane estate: fostering abjection for regeneration.

1.00-2.15 lunch.

Afternoon Session. Chair: Fabio Camilletti, Warwick

2.15-3.45 Recent developments. 

Giovanni Caudo, Roma Tre, Public housing and regeneration in Italy.

Michael Edwards, UCL/Bartlett, Kings Cross: what is regeneration for?

Simona Lucciarini, Roma Tre, Esquilino: regeneration in an ethnic neighbourhood. 

Azzurra Muzzonigro, LAC/Roma Tre, Porto Fluviale: an Odyssey for Home.

4.00-5.15 Open discussion: Regeneration and its links with romanmodernities network and with other disciplines. 

5.15-6.15 Reception


Paola Briati PhD lectures on Planning and Urban Policy at the Politecnico di Milano. From 2012 she has been Marie Curie Research Fellow at the Bartlett School of Planning, UCL. Her research interests are closely linked with urban regeneration, focusing in particular on multi-ethnic contexts. She has published over 30 articles in Italian and international journals. Among her most relevant books: Sul filo della frontiera. Politiche urbane in un quartiere multietnico di Londra (Angeli, Milano, 2007), and Città in periferia. Politiche urbane e progetti locali in Francia, Gran Bretagna e Italia (Carocci, Roma, 2009; with Massimo Bricocoli and Carla Tedesco). 

Ben Campkin is Director of UCL's cross-disciplinary Urban Laboratory and Senior Lecturer in Architectural History and Theory at the Bartlett School of Architecture. He is co-editor of Dirt: New Geographies of Cleanliness and Contamination (London: I. B. Tauris, 2007, paperback 2012), an anthology exploring how beliefs about dirt have influenced the production of space, and author of Remaking London: Decline and Regeneration in Urban Culture (I.B. Tauris, June 2013). He is co-editor of the Urban Pamphleteer, and has recently published articles in journals such as Architectural Theory Review, The Journal of Architecture and Architectural Design and chapters in anthologies such as Urban Constellations, Camera Constructs, The Art of Dissent, Critical Cities and The Politics of Making. 

Giovanni Caudo is Associate Professor in Urban Planning at Rome Tre, where he lectures in the Urban Planning Laboratory in Architectural Sciences. His main research activities concern affordable housing and  urban contexts in the process of transformation, especially districts affected by public building or processes of demolition and increasing density. At the Bartlett, UCL, he carried out  research on  affordable housing in the UK as Academic Affiliate. He is interested in the processes involved in selecting a plan for implementation in the designing of cities and the urban environment. In 2008, he  worked to set up the Italian Pavillion of the X Venice Architecture  Biennale  on the topic "Housing Italy". As a professional architect he has worked on executive town plans and participated in competitions ( Social Housing in Milan "Borgo di Figino"; Shrinking Cities Berlin,  the Via della Lega Lombarda Urban Upgrade in Rome), urban planning topics linked to his research interests. Among his publications are ' L'abitare straniero' in AAVV: Le città degli altri, spazio pubblico e vita urbana nelle città dei migranti. Edisai Bologna, 2010 and with Nico, Calavita, 'Italy: variety and creativity in approaching inclusionary housing' in Calavita and Mallach, Inclusionary Housing in International perspective 2010 Lincoln Institute of Land policy Cambridge Massachusetts. 

Martine Drozdz is completing a PhD  in Geography and Urban Planning at Université de Lyon in France and takes up a post doctroal position in Paris in Autumn 2013. While teaching at LSE in French Studies she carried out a study on the politics of regeneration and its discontents, looking at the development of major and medium scale developments in the Inner London area and the interaction between the stakeholders involved. In parallel she has been following the emergence of a network of community groups challenging the assumptions of regeneration policies. Her recent work investigates the post-crash context and its impact on the delivery of regeneration strategies.

Michael Edwards is Emeritus Leverhulme Fellow at the Bartlett School of Planning and member of the UCL Urban Laboratory Steering Committee. With Bob Coleman (Southampton) their research focuses on land and housing crises in the UK. He has worked extensively on the relation between property markets and planning mainly in the UK and Europe. He is active in London planning, most recenty in supporting community groups in challenges to the 2009 Draft replacement London Plan. He is a founder member of the International Network for Urban Research and Action (INURA) and of the Planners network UK (PNUK).

Silvia Lucciarini is Assistant Professor in Economic Sociology at the Department of Social and Economic Science, at La Sapienza of Rome and a member of the Centre of Government Reform. She has a PhD in Public and Urban Policy where she developed a deep interest in urban ethnic settlements, consolidated by a Visiting Fellowship in New York City, at CUNY Graduate Center. Her main research interests are territorial analysis focusing on immigration, flexibility, labour market and social inclusion. She is involved in research projects, both national and international, on territorial social cohesion and shrinking cities. The main findings on urban immigration are collected in Immigration and Cities (2011). She is developing a strong interest in the connection between sprawl and local labour markets.

Azzurra Muzznigro is an architect and doctoral student in territorial policy at Roma Tre. She completed the Masters in Urban and Building Design at the Bartlett. Her architecture thesis involved an experimental house in assisted self-construction at the Roma Camp in Rome Casilino 900. This experimental housing prototype showed that sustainable eco housing that meets housing standards and building regulations is possible. Inaugurated in July the house was burned down by unknown assailants in December. As an architect Azzurra is interested in community participation in the active transformation of social relations and urban spaces.

Giorgio Piccinato is Emeritus professor of Urbanism at Roma Tre, Past president of the Association of European Schools of Planning, and a consultant to the United Nations and the European Union. Among his publications: La costruzione dell'urbanistica. Germania 1870-1914 (The construction of planning. Germany 1870-1914, Rome 1974, Wiesbaden 1983 and Barcelona 1993); Un mondo di città (A world of cities), Torino 2002 and Caracas 2007; Atlas de Centros Históricos do Brasil (editor) Rio de Janeiro  2007; Fermoimmagine. Studio sulla felicità urbana (editor) Macerata 2008. His current researches centre on the future of cities and the use of urban heritage.

Davide Spina is a student of the Architectural History MA at the Bartlett. He is currently writing a dissertation on postwar Italian architecture under the supervision of Professor Adrian Forty. He graduated from Roma Tre with a BSc in Architectural Studies.