- Re-shaping the Waterfront for a new Economy in Genoa    click here to open paper content208 kb
by    Bobbio, Roberto | r.bobbio@arch.unige.it   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Projects located on the seashore design a new City and a new economy;
Re-shaping the Waterfront is an instrument for innovation;
Waterfront is the field of confronting strategies about the City future.
Genoa (Italy), one of the major City-Ports of the Mediterranean, is facing dramatic changes since steel and oil industries have gone and population has dwindled (850.000 inhabitants in the 1960’s, less than 640.000 today).
For a City that is built on hills and lacks space, the seashore has always been not only a paramount resource, but the raison d’ętre: a place for trade and production, but also for recreation and social life. City Waterfront stretches for more than 30 km; a great part of it is artificial and is occupied by the port, the airport, industrial plants (some renewed or transformed, some abandoned).
In the 1980’s, having built a new container ships terminal, the City began to transform its Old Port, in order to support the rehabilitation of the historical centre and to promote tourism. This programme has proved to be successful and new activities have sprouted. Furthermore, re-shaping the Waterfront has become an essential component of urban politics aimed to foster economy and encourage innovation.
Most of the biggest projects under work or discussion are located on the seashore or immediately behind. On May 2004 the architect Renzo Piano presented his “affresco”: a vision of the City-to-be based on the design of a brand new Waterfront. Waterfront Transformation and Social Welfare are the two constituents of the City Strategic Conference that has been scheduled for May 2005.
Waterfront is definitely the field of confrontation among the different ideas about the City future: should land reclamation continue or stop? should development be intended as output growth or as improvement of the quality of life? must the economy turn toward culture and tourism or is a solid industrial base always necessary? is traditional industry still profitable or only high-tech productions are needed? These are the uppermost subjects of the present debate.
Waterfront transformation, innovation, urban strategies
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