The worth of the public spaces


In the last few years there has been an increasing recovery of the building and housing tissue in many minor old centres, with a return to modes of life at a man’s measure, a sort of backward ‘urbanism’, also the fruit of a new cultural attitude of ‘civic’ mould.
Streets and squares of the main European old centres have been the object of a renewed interest for the local administrations and architects. There have been many interventions for a new qualification of the public spaces in the hope, often well founded, that starting from them a new spontaneous process could take place for the recovery of large building sections of historical tissues.
In Italy, though, this greater attention seems in many cases to vanish outside the strictly private ambit and the public space is often considered as a sort of ‘no man’s land’, abandoned to degradation and exposed to improper use.
From this point of view the qualification of public spaces is a decisive factor to complete the process of recovery of the inhabited nuclei. On the other hand, by the writer’s own experience, it cannot put aside a previous evaluation of the role that the different public spaces have inside their settling system and of their relative attitudes to carry out certain ‘nodal’ functions (the square is a centre of aggregative life) or marginal ones ( waste collection, parking area, etc.).