The discretised city. 12 morpho typological devices for a paratactic urban densification

Roberto Podda (Designer), Richard Hay (Designer)

Research output: Practice-based research outputExhibition/ Event/ FestivalCurated works: Physical Exhibition/ Event/ Festival


Morpho-Typological Devices for a Paratactic Urban Densification
The Chinese ‘FOUNDING CITIES’ represent a paradigm in that they are urban entities planned and built within a short time frame. Therefore, the concrete forms are close to their ‘FOUNDING PRINCIPLES’. The ARC405 STUDY will apply a “MORPHO-TYPOLOGICAL APPROACH to the TERRITORIAL SCALE” to address this problem. It will reason in structural, relational and not stylistic terms; in this way, it will highlight the matrices of urban phenomena, the principles of physical proximity, the civic and collective value of open spaces, the importance of public buildings as symbols of the community, on the applications of a social and functional mix, considering with them the concepts of historical and environmental permanence as traces capable of holding together past, present and future. The theoretical experiment then found practical application in an emblematic and detailed case study in the north-western quadrant of the Chinese province of Jiangsu. In this area, comprised between the cities of DANYANG and CHANGZHOU, a linear urban structure is gradually consolidating, already supported by robust infrastructures such as the Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge high-speed railway line, the Changzhou motorway and international airport, and widespread urbanisation based on pre-existing agricultural patterns and new industrial areas. Studying the maps at the scale of the urban region, a crystallised multi-polar system emerges which, in the case study of DANYANG and CHANGZHOU, shows a trend towards densification, centred on Changzhou International Airport and the city’s two high-speed railway stations. A linear axis of expansion seems destined to densify and suggest quasi-unification increasingly. Based on this assumption, it is proposed to experiment with a planning strategy for the densification process described above, imagining a series of new urban polarities, ‘MORPHO-TYPOLOGICAL DENSIFICATION DEVICES’, to order and regulate future growth. This approach is defined as “PARATACTICAL” in that it acts through a COORDINATED SYSTEM OF (localised and formally defined) PUNCTUAL ACTIONS, articulated according to a logic of “coordinated” unitary structure.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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