There are several challenges with the already built “social city” of the peripheries. Its mediocrity and banality is sometimes the consequence of political and policy urgency in which the lack of quality is the prize we paid in order to achieve quantity. Sometimes it is the consequence of the narrow-minded approach of the market which considers the built environment a mere means through which to accrue some profit. Sometimes it is the consequence of the ideological blindness that appears when following an urban theory that prevails over common sense. What to do with the separation of functions? What to do with a high density tower with low living quality? How do we transform mere open space around building blocks into public spaces that make sense? What to do with giant industrial sheds that no longer respond to a knowledge-creating era? We could demolish them all, but in times when sustainability matters
(finally), such an approach would not only be a waste of already spent energy but also a missed opportunity for creativity.
These are the kinds of questions being raised by the cabinet Renzo Piano created to produce the most social good and public knowledge when he was appointed a lifetime senator of Italy.