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The choice of Piacenza as seat of the International Summer School stems, among other things, from the analysis of its territory, an extraordinary case-study in terms of issues and topics related to architectural design and construction of public spaces in contemporary cities.
Using as essential references the architectural and urban planning projects being developed and drafted, the International Summer School is discussing some of the most significant urban themes according to the important problems of the transformation of the city. The common denominator is the “architectural design of open spaces”, which can be seen today as a “multidisciplinary practice”, affecting several interconnected and closely related architectural scales: from landscape architecture to planning, from the architectural design of public spaces to architecture of connections, from the design of architectural components to the study of contemporary aesthetic scenarios.
The attention to environmental and open space issues is part of a theoretical-operational debate, focusing on the promotion of architectural urban and territorial contexts in terms of resources sustainability and environmental impact, in order to reach high levels of consonance, complementarity and integration among the architectural-urban requirements and the distinctive traits of the locations.
This is achieved through a trans-scalar procedure, simultaneously drawing attention both on the whole and its individual components, enhancing their environmental value.
This value also results from “considerations on the concept of landscape as the product of a specific human attitude towards nature. The physical elements defining the environmental character necessarily interact with the history of the built-up area, where we can see how man has manipulated spaces, shapes and light in some specific contexts, drawing the purpose of architectural design from the relation between the areas environmental and material forces".
This consideration is even more actual referring it to areas experiencing radical changes over the next decades and where the development potential is huge as huge are the criticalities in terms of densely populated areas destructuring. In this sense Piacenza territory is an interesting research laboratory to study, assess and apply operational “models” related to sustainable development, both in terms of the housing sector (consisting of heterogeneous residential systems) and the design of the public places, featuring open spaces and deeply differentiated environmental materials with increasing degrees of anthropization.

Therefore the International Summer School aims at becoming, in the medium term, a privileged partner of stakeholders, administrators and technicians as well as of the common population. In fact, the workshop’s weeks become, with the active cooperation of the largest possible number of operating institutes and associations on the territory, an extraordinary occasion for the whole city to debate and discuss about its future. A debate not merely internal, but enriched as well by the creativity and competence of young students and the experience of lecturers, critics and professionals involved at different levels.