- The Role of Events in the Urban Transformations of Rome   click here to open paper content1329 kb
by    Malusardi, Federico & Monardo, Bruno & and Ms. Dr. Claudia Passaquindici, Giuseppe Occhipinti | federico.malusardi@uniroma1.it   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
The paper will try to read the important contemporary events in Rome, considering the political choices, the planning decisions and their result on the city life.
The concept of pulsar, borrowed from astrophysics and transferred to the discipline of urban planning, evokes a multiplicity of interpretations related to different cultural settings and specific local conditions.
The urban history of Rome is characterised by projects, events, episodes, forces, interests interrelated in time and space that eventually have conditioned its fate.
Starting from these assumptions, the purpose is to show that Rome ''the eternal city'' represents a significant case, albeit in its evident specificity, of the so-called ''pulsar effect'' applied to the urban transformations. The conception that support this thesis stem from the recent exceptional events that suggest some possible interpretations.
In the last two years, some relevant novel events appeared in Rome as the Jubilee of the end of the millennium and the new city plan.
The first is related to the traditional image of the ''Rome of the Popes''.
The second is historically related to the image of the city as the institutional and political capital of Italy.
To understand the exceptional importance of the plan event, one should only remember that from 1870 (Rome Capital of Italy) to the present days Rome's development was regulated by five general city-plans .
These two events allow the identification of some keys to the interpretation of the pulsar effect theory applied to the Roman events.
One key concerns the coexistence in the city of two identities: Rome as the core of its political and territorial dominion and Rome as the centre of Christianity. Two souls present at the same time; the first as the site of the state power, the second as the spiritual as well as temporal centre of the religious power (namely of a phenomenon of global cultural dimension).
The dialogue of this bipolarism (from conflict to co-operation) represents the background to the interpretation of the big events, the big bang underlying the choices and the impact on the evolution of the urban structure of Rome in its history. Its stratification by settlements is indissolubly linked with the role played by the dominant subjects and the corresponding models of government as guarantors of the generative, structurating process of the city. One should consider the will and the character of self-representation of the Caesars, the Pontiffs, or more recently of the kings of Italy in Rome's Capital city and of Mussolini the ''Duce'' through the great ''urban projects'' which represent the ''peaks'' of extraordinary changes translating the dominant political personality into a project and real forms.
A second key of interpretation is represented by the episodic implementation of plans in the city development and the separation between the pre-established arrangements and the events that operate the transformations of the urban space, in contrast to the plan previsions that are not able to settle the conflicts between the community and the subjects whose interests are often contrasting. The adoption itself of a plan becomes an exceptional event.
The history of Rome can be read through that of its plans and their failures a series of ''missed planar effect'' announced but never implemented because lacking the consensus of the actors of the urban arena and socio-economic assumptions and allocated financial support for their implementation. A number of episodes of Rome city planning of the 20th century are actually ''interventional peaks'' promoted by the political indiscretion as a ''variant'' to the approved plan.
In light of the relationship based on a conflicting dialogue between pulsar effect events and master plan, the last 50 years of Rome's expansion can also be explained: the ''PRG'' (master plan) 1962 with the creation of a new CBDs system east of the consolidated city, an ''urban event'' vainly waited for decades; the new plan of 2002 that incorporates the ''integrated programmes'' for the urban renewal of peripheries and the ''urban projects'': that is the new planning tool produced by the relationship of exchange with the owners of the transformable areas.
The third key of interpretation could be the start effect value of the event able to promote ideas, projects, resources, subjects and social debate, combining the interests of the different participating entities.
Consequently, it is important to situate the ''pulsar event'' in a virtuous system able to translate the idea, the vision perceived into mature, shared forms and to implement it within well defined times. Programming and attributing the responsibilities become fundamental. The allocation of funds and the initial political will represent for Rome the necessary but not sufficient condition to translate the pulsar effect into results of quality.

The interest of the paper: the peculiarity of the ''powers'' coexisting in Rome; in the centre of the Peninsula, Rome represents two main Italian cultures: the northern one and the Mediterranean; in search of more flexibility, Rome is creating and experimenting new planning tools.
Events in Rome and planning
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