The Other City
History and image of urban diversity: places and landscapes of privilege and well-being, of isolation, of poverty, and of multiculturalism
8th International Congress
Naples, Palazzo Gravina – October 25th, 26th, 27th, 2018
In modern and contemporary history, the city has taken account of social ‘otherities’, namely of privileged classes, minorities, foreigners and immigrants, and of resulting cultural and religious diversity. The urban community has structured some parts of its fabric as places of political, military or class power, other parts as spaces for arrivals, for production and trade, but also for isolation, marginalization or remedy for catastrophe.
In the modern age, the image of the ‘other’ city’ is often falsified or even denied by rulers and powerful people for purposes of political appearance or propaganda; and if, between the eighteenth and twentieth century, new methods of representation can reveal the structure and the urban landscape in their objectivity, the city portrait still shows the contradictions of a community that sometimes includes or even enhances the diversities, other times rejects them, betraying the malaise of a difficult integration.
Inclusion and exclusion policies: reflections on the communication of the image of cities between modern and contemporary ages
Annunziata Berrino, Gilles Bertrand
Between modern and contemporary ages, cities elaborate and communicate their own image by selecting places, perspectives and events. From time to time, technological evolution provides increasingly sophisticated media, capable of providing increasingly detailed and global representations. However, cities continue to be represented and described on the basis of political selection processes that the session will identify, analyze and interpret.
A.1 – The narration of the city in the Modern Age from integrations to omissions
The cities of the modern age were thought of as the emblematic places of the societies and of the powers that under multiple forms built their own image through descriptions and iconography. But, faced with the apparent immobility and duration of a certain order, which seems to have prevailed until mid-18th century, we find only in some cases, in the narrations on cities, the inclusion of considerations on the social mutations and on the dynamics of movement of individuals and goods. The purpose of the session is to analyze the true will to integrate, in the context of narrations carried out through the media of that time, the plurality of situations, that is, on the one hand, the reality of privileges, and on the other the discomforts and the multiculturalism that have crossed the history of European cities.
A.2 – The narration of the city in the Contemporary Age from integrations to omissions
Demographic growth and industrial development, characterizing the contemporary age, attribute a central role to cities. Cities catalyze financial and commercial movements, modernity, mobility flows, cultural avant-gardes, consumption, political and war events. In some cases urban spaces assimilate and include events and innovations; in other cases, changes are circumscribed and excluded. The refinement of technology extends infinitely the range of possibilities for describing and representating cities, but the mind and the view continue to select and exclude. The session proposes a reflection on places, environments, profiles, and social spaces emphasized by historiographic narration and on those omitted.
The portrait of city and urban historical landscapeas an affirmation/denial of isolation, contrast and diversity
Alfredo Buccaro, Fabio Mangone
The macrosession aims to deal with issues regarding transformation of urban and landscape image in relation to the phenomena that in different historical ages have marked the inclusion or exclusion of new parts within/from the city, or the birth of settlements ‘other’ than the urban historical context. Starting from the places of religious segregation, from those destined for foreign communities, often in addition or in contrast to the city’s schedule, from reconstruction, new design or foundation of urban nucleus after natural disasters, we arrive at the ‘other’ cities in the nineteenth century – places of preparation or training for wars, or of imprisonment, or of physical or mental health, or of residence for workers’ communities – always intended as ‘otherness’ to be located outside or at the threshold of the bourgeois city. The development of industrial society needs for new neighborhoods to ensure acceptable living standards for workers, but they often turn into places of social exclusion and control. So in the late twentieth century, on the one hand, these cities of privilege and of élite, enclaves which are often utopian and isolated from the real world, and on the other hand, the suburbs as places of abandonment and marginalization marked almost always by the macrostructural dimension of settlements and so denounced in the images produced by new media. Finally cities of commerce, understood both as isolated and ‘captivating’ settlements, as multifunctional centers for spending and fun, and as processes of ‘intrinsic’ gradual transformation of the image of a historic center in compliance with the rules of consumerism.
B.1 – Monastic citadels. Iconography and description of inclusion/exclusion places
Leonardo Di Mauro, Alessandra Veropalumbo
Since the early centuries of Christianity, monastic complexes were erected in forms of absolute isolation or separated within the rest of the city, creating structures that could be definied as “monastic citadels”. The examples are innumerable and widespread everywhere: from the Monastery of St. Simeone in Aswan and of St. Catherine’s in Mount Sinai to the Benedictine settlements such as Montecassino, Mont-Saint-Michel and Melk; from the Charterhouses, such as the same Grande Chartreuse, to the Franciscan foundations such as the Sacro Convento in Assisi and Santa Chiara in Naples or, to remain in the Neapolitan environment, a singular complex like the one set up by sister Orsola Benincasa in the seventeenth century. The Orthodox Church also offers innumerable examples from the Hilandar Monastery in Mount Athos to those of Novgorod and Pskov. Finally, we can look to Asia, to the Shinto and Buddhist monasteries, such as the Tabo monastery. The session will focus this phenomenon on the widest spectrum, with appropriate comparisons between studies and sources, underlining the importance of iconographic and cartographic tools for a critical analysis of the role of such complexes in the local surrounding.
B.2 – The city for foreigners as addition or urban ‘otherness’ in medieval and modern ages
Francesca Capano, Salvatore Di Liello
In the medieval and modern age we find in many western cities the development of different urban cultures, which generally produce ‘another’ city’; it is the city of foreigners, where commercial, productive, military or religious reasons appear to be significant of a will or need to reproduce urban forms looking like those of their countries of different origin and tradition, which rarely integrate with the hosting cities. There are many cases of western, coastal and continental cities which today show in their diverse layers a deap-seated ‘mélange’ of urban history and a precious multicultural document. The session will compare studies and research on this topic, by analyzing the continuity or the interruption compared to the pre-existing urban form and using the iconographic documents as the most useful research tools.
B.3 – The Transitory City. The changing nature of the spaces of mobility, shelter and production in early modern Europe
Carla Fernandez Martinez, Emma Maglio
Instability does not characterise only the twentieth- and twenty-first-century metropolis. Even in pre-industrial Europe many cities have undergone the development of areas (often located at the edges of their extension) characterized by instability and, in many cases, by the ephemeral nature of their habitat. Within the distinction between the consolidated city and “other” city, a specific relief belongs to these spaces, often transitional or interstitial, responsible for the physical and symbolic connection and/or separation between these two dimensions. By reason of specific political conjunctions, of natural or military dramatic events, of important moments of urban and territorial transformation, these places were associated to the city, conquering values of centrality in the governmental practices and in different uses, as well as to its edge, becoming ‘other’ from the city itself. For these reasons, those places configured as places of settlement, production or hosting; they were built in a stable or ephemeral/temporary way; they have found full inclusion in the urban context, or have blown up, by emptying and deconstructing until their disappearing. With particular attention to the early modern age (fifteenth-eighteenth century), this session will welcome contributions questioning the “fluid” nature of these places, through their description and representation, and describing the different and changing features related to both a planning and a spontaneous use or reuse.
B.4 – The wounded city. Natural disasters and urban reconstruction
Carla Fernandez Martinez,Juan Manuel Monterroso Montero
Throughout history, cities have suffered sudden changes that profoundly altered their urban planning and land-use, their memory and identity, converting them, sometimes, in new cities or very different cities from the original ones. Together with anthrophic action, natural catastrophes also caused great transformations, which led to destruction and loss of their heritage, and in many cases their urban identity. Taking in account these considerations, this session will gather papers focused on the different modalities adopted in the reconstruction and refoundation of urban areas affected by the ravages of nature – earthquakes, volcanoes, fires, floods and tsunamis – since the 18th century to the present time.
B.5 – The Borgeois City and ‘Other’ Cities
Alfredo Buccaro, Fabio Mangone
Until the 18th century, the fortified city shows with pride its own physical margins, which distinguish it from the villages, the countryside and the uncultivated lands. During the nineteenth century, while the bourgeois city borders itself with new limits within which to expand, in the suburbs there are the ‘other’ cities of imprisonment, of physical or mental health, of soldiers or workers, with a forbidden, segregational or even classist connotation, promoting isolation and exclusion from the consolidated and promiscuous historic city. The session aims to analyze historical projects and iconographic sources from which we can know the not always positive programs and planning experiences which take place beyond the thresholds of the borgeois city in the 19th century.
B.6 – Industrial Towns and Working-class Districtsas ‘other’ cities. Iconographies and reports of working places from wellness research to social control
Roberto Parisi, Daniela Stroffolino, Massimo Visone
Between the twentieth and the twenty-first century, the long process of the globalization of the economy and labour market poses the questions of social inclusion and territorial cohesion as new challenges for the future. At the same time, this issue offers the possibility to question the historical dimension of the industrial town, sanctioning the decline of development models based on the centrality of the factory. Between the eighteenth and the twentieth century, urban-industrial space was subject to a twofold interpretation: on the one hand, it was investigated and represented as a place of utmost environmental deterioration and social distress (segregation, isolation, marginalisation); on the other hand, it was considered as one of the most appropriate contexts for experimenting different forms of co-habitation, welfare, cultural cohesion and political-social redemption. The new methods of industrial production also profoundly changed the rural identity of the work space. This was supported by the image and the literature of rural hamlets and agro-towns, as well as by the anti-urban utopias of the familistère and the garden cities. The goal of this session is to read and reflect upon the “City of Work” as the “Other City”, through traditional visual sources (cartography, urban iconography), new media (photography and movie) and literature regarding the factory.
B.7 – ‘City of privilege’. Exclusion strategies in the project of contemporary enclave between loisir and fear
Gemma Belli, Andrea Maglio
During the history of western cities a tendency to social and cultural integration has faced significant problems of marginalization. Today, more than in the past, distinction and exclusion phenomena, which are sometimes supported by the urban planning itself, seem to prevail. In 19th century the bourgeois districts for local elites or rich foreigners were supposed to create microcosms with different rules, which were considered to be better than those of the outside world, while in more recent decades the fear of the crime – and, in general, of ‘the other’ – has produced new, ‘segregationist’ forms of residential spaces for the advantaged classes and this phenomenon is particularly evident in the developing countries megalopolis. As in the case of the military bases, sometimes also in the European cities the lifestyle and habits of the original country are recreated in order to produce the material result of an visionary thought. Just like autistic and exclusive new towns, ‘gated communities’, ‘technocities’, amusement parks and holiday resorts since their conception reproduce the stereotype of a perfect and peaceful little world, where contradictions and conflicts are left outside and don’t compromise the customer’s dream life. In this session it is intended to solicit contributions on the envisioned enclaves and their representation as perfect islands of efficiency: these enclaves are seen as atopic, closed systems, without relation with their context, ideally far from the territories where they are built and divergent from the surrounding reality.
B.8 – The ‘macrostructural’ settlement dimension in Italy between the 50s and 70s in the last century: reading the isolated suburbs by new media
Alessandro Castagnaro, Florian Castiglione
In the period after World War II, demographic growth, economic well-being and post-conflict reconstruction pushed the urban expansion out of the center towards the outskirts. Architects between the 1950s and 1970s were thus called to face new research, inspired by the ‘macrostructural’ trend that, amongst others, was taken up with works by Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn. The new conurbation often failed to create integrated relationships with the historic centers of consolidated and stratified cities. The non-connection of the suburbs, both infrastructural and social, has produced isolated quarters, characterized in many cases by these ugly and unlivable ‘megastructures’. The session welcomes contributions that analyze the importance of the role played by new media, photography and cinema, in reading the problems that emerged in the Italian suburbs with these settlements built between the 1950s and 1970s in the last century.
B.9 – Darkness on the edge of town. The representation of places of social exclusion and violence in the public spaces of contemporary metropolis in visual arts, cinema and photography (1975-2000)
Riccardo De Martino, Giovanni Menna
“Darkness on the edge of town”: abandoned areas, suburbs, social dumping, crime. The session hosts papers dedicated to the way in which visual arts, photography and cinema in the last 25 years of 20th century represented the distance between the “official” city and the public spaces of the “real” metropolis and denounced social injustice, but also documented the will of resistance and ransom of the communities living in those territories.
B.10 – Tradescapes. The cities of expenditure and the places of commerce
Ines Tolic, Massimo Visone
Trade has always had a deep influence on cities. In the nineteenth century, the passages, the magasin de nouveautés and the department stores started to take control of the urban scene and to act as “cities within cities” thereon. In the twentieth century, supermarkets and shopping malls colonized new landscapes, thus becoming protagonists of the debate regarding the periphery. Large scale distribution channels force the retail sector to reinvent itself continuously, thus renewing at the same time the image of our historical centers. Today, finally, the internet and the dematerialization of the buying act have started a new wave of transformations which, just like in the previous periods, is also modifying the urban iconography. The goal of this session is to investigate the active role of commerce on cities by using iconography. Considering department stores and shopping malls as “the other city”, what relationship is there between commercial places and the urban context and in how is it represented? Which role do store signs, shop windows or shop fronts play for the image of the city and how can it be studied with tools proper to urban history?
Representation of urbanalterity in historical and peripheral contexts
Antonella di Luggo, Ornella Zerlenga
The representation understood as a scientific and cultural form of a complex reality contains the subtle hermeneutic dimension that is declining in meaning and significance of graphic sign. The theme proposed is that of presentation rules of other city in all its materials and intangible connotations, which have crossed the cities’ history and connote today the contemporary, in relation with the expressive forms of diversity. Within the general objective of the Convention and in line with the discipline of representation, three sessions aim to deal with the theme of urban alterity from the contemporary perception’s viewpoint and visual communication, of current documentation of other realities and interpretation of the iconographic historical sources.
C.1 – Perception and visual communication of urban alterity as a common good
Antonella di Luggo, Ornella Zerlenga
In the context of themes of perception and visual communication, the session intends to focus on the communicative role of drawing, measuring against a concept of an increasingly multi-disciplinarily idea of ‘otherness’, understood as a common good. In this sense, we will collect contributions oriented to the reflection of perception rules and visual communication of the historical and peripheral contexts interested in the dynamics of social, cultural and religious otherness/alterity. These themes can be developed through traditional and innovative methodologies, referring to expressive forms designed to play a documentary role and/or attractor in urban rehabilitation interventions (such as conceptual maps, street art, urban installations, etc.).
C.2 – The survey of multiculturalism between permanence and contamination
Antonella di Luggo,Ornella Zerlenga
As part of themes of relief as an instrument of the historical knowledge of peripheral urban contexts, the session aims to focus on multiculturalism’s places in the interaction of permanence and contamination. The session gathers contributions aimed at a critical reading of the city as a place of alterity, minorities and social, cultural and religious diversity, explaining the distinctive characters and new identities for the purpose of a transcultural qualification. These themes may be developed by referring to the experiences carried out in the context of the urban relief (also multidimensional) and may be able to grasp the vocations to transformation for a new contemporaneity.
C.3 – The representation of the contradictory city
Daniela Palomba, Maria Ines Pascariello
Within the themes of representation of architecture and city, the session intends to investigate the modalities of manipulation of the objective reality through drawing, in order to emphasize the places and landscapes of privilege, omitting elements of contradiction such as the expressive alterity of social, cultural and religious minorities. The session gathers together contributions addressing the interpretation of historical iconography and contemporary urban representation that highlight the elements of differences. These themes can be developed by referring to the architecture’s rules and methods of representation and of the city that have excluded the alterity (or which still exclude it) in prefiguring celebratory contexts (for example in landscape painting) or imaginary (for example in utopias, and in unrealized projects), or, in contrast, in documentary forms (digital cartography, social photography, etc.).