ISSN: 2038-0925

“Waterfronts Revisited The Transformation of the Port Cities and the UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape”


November 9, 2012,
International Conference of the Italian Association of Urban History – AISU -
CNR – National Research Council of Italy Piazzale Aldo Moro 7 – Rome Aula Marconi -

Water cities represented a predominant urban form. Since ancient times, the foundation of a city has been linked to the choice of a site close to the water, a river or a natural harbor. Rivers, channels and harbors have determined the birth and the growth of many cities in Mediterranean, European and American or Asian countries up to recent times.
Since 1970s, however, deindustrialization resulted in the abandonment of a large number of harbor sites. To face the urban and social decay a movement to revitalize and recover these areas, known as waterfront development, has appeared and gradually grown. Looking back to this experience, we can easily see that the waterfront has been mainly conceived as a separate part of the city, detached from the surrounding territory and its characteristics, introducing new functions (cultural, leisure, green areas and parks).
The time is ripe for an in-depth study of the effects of approximately forty years of developments along these lines, reconsidering the town as a whole system. The aim of the conference is to revisit the waterfront development looking at the urban territory and the historical city in their complexity and entirety, breaking the isolation of the harbor and reconnecting it to the urban structure, to its functions, its spaces and forms.
Our first aim is to re-integrate history, local traditions, architectural languages and experiences in the process of evaluation and development of waterfront areas in order to raise awareness and address future projects along these lines. We propose, in this way, a re-actualization of history through the identification of guiding values, urban patterns and local typologies, needs and experiences instead of the abstract utilization of enterpreneurial styles, uses and types.
Following the UNESCO Reccomendation on the Historic Urban Landscape, we propose for all urban areas – and specifically for waterfronts – a methodological approach based on an overall connection with the surrounding territory and its historical evolution.
The conference, planned in concomittance with the General Assembly of the Italian Association of Urban History, is organized by the ICVBC – Institute for the Conservation and Valorization of Cultural Heritage of the CNR – National Research Council of Italy.
Scientific Committee: Heleni Porfyriou, CNR – Istituto per la Conservazione e la Valorizzazione dei Beni Culturali – Roma Marichela Sepe, CNR – Istituto di Ricerche sulle Attività Terziarie – Napoli Antonello Alici, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona Massimiliano Savorra, Università degli studi del Molise, AISU
9:00 – 9:30 Registration 9.30 – 10.30
Welcome speech, Luigi NICOLAIS (CNR President) Welcome speech, Guido ZUCCONI (AISU President)
Heleni PORFYRIOU (CNR – ICVBC – Roma), Waterfronts in Historic Cities and the new UNESCO Recommendation of Historic Urban Landscape
10.30 – 11.30
Session 1. Port Cities in History
Chairman: Antonello ALICI (Università Politecnica delle Marche – Ancona)
Stefano DE CARO (Director ICCROM – Roma), Port Cities in Antiquity Donatella CALABI (Università IUAV di Venezia), Port Cities in Early Modern Period: Docklands and Settlements Johan MÅRTELIUS (Kungliga Tekniska högskolan – Stockholm), Stockholm’s harbor and the Baltic
11.30 – 11.45
Coffee break
11.45 – 13.30 Session 2. Waterfront Developments and new Perspectives
Chairman: Marichela SEPE (CNR – IRAT – Napoli)
Oriana GIOVINAZZI (RETE-Associazione per la collaborazione tra porti e città, Venezia), Integration and Internationalization of the new Waterfront of Marseille John PENDLEBURY (Newcastle University-Newcastle), Liverpool: the three Graces in a new Perspective
Juhana LAHTI (Museum of Finnish Architecture-Helsinki), Helsinki, on/ off the Shoreline Pablo DE LA CAL NICOLÁS (Universidad de Zaragoza), Zaragoza: Rivers as a new Urban Structure
Stefano PANUNZI (Università degli studi del Molise), MediterRAId 2011 and Mediterranean Waterfront – Eco Cluster Cooperation

13.30 – 14.30

14.30 – 15.30 Round Table Discussion
Chairman: Massimiliano SAVORRA (Università degli studi del Molise)
With the partecipation of all speakers Guest speaker: Marie-Noël TOURNOUX (World Heritage Center – UNESCO), The UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape
15.30 – 17.30
General Assembly of AISU Members – Associazione Italiana di Storia Urbana

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