Alejandro Aravena's suggestions for the 15th International Architecture Exhibition are particularly inspiring, especially when it comes to the image of the fron as the location of architects' daily battle to improve the quality of the built environment and thereby improve people's lives.
Etymologically, the term "front" refers to the presence of a line clearly separating two different entities that compete for control of the territory; in coastal cities, the fron might well represent the boundary line, physical rather than administrative, that strictly divides urban space from port space.
Historically, the presence of such a front along long strethces of coastline has partially deprived port cities of their relationship with the sea, often exacerbating phenomena of physical and social degradation in the urban areas closest to them.
Over the past thirty yearsm, the transformation of our ports following the introduction of container shipping and the subsequent displacement of logistics and port functions from our city centers has opened up an opportunity to alter the existance and attitude of this separation line, which obviously has an impact on the attractiveness of port cities and their inhabitants' quality of life.
The cities in which changes of this type have been most successful all share a singularly resilient attitude: that is urban forms of organization that have reacted proactively to the profund structural changes that have impacted them over the past thirty years, reinventing themselves, reinforced with wide-ranging planning and a new and diversified character, starting precisely with the recovery and enhancement of their relationship with the water that surrounds them.
Seen in this light, the special project Reporting from Marghera and Other Waterfronts is imagined as a voyage through time that starts with the analysis and reinterpretation of some of the most significant urban regeneration projects for industrial ports that have already been implemented or are currently being implemented, encouraging wide-ranging reflections on the principles and methods with which to approach and orient the complex conversion of Italian production areas, such as Porto Marghera and Bagnoli.