School squares for urban regeneration

School squares for urban regeneration

If we think of the European city as an intelligent stratification of urban designs, one stimulating read is the publication Piazze Scolastiche edited by Paolo Pileri, Cristina Renzoni and Paola Savoldi, professors at the Politecnico di Milano who between 2018 and 2022 carried out research on the relationship between schools and cities (Milan and Turin), with the support of institutions that have a long history in the topic, Fondazione Compagnia San Paolo and Fondazione Cariplo.

The book focuses its attention on one of the most fertile typologies in terms of urban life in the historic and contemporary European city: the spaces in front of schools, a fundamental means of interfacing with the city.

A new urban milieu generating extraordinary social interactions, which increasingly demonstrates the inseparable link between the quality of public space and the services of shared interest present there; essential in the construction of awareness of all young citizens (who doesn’t have the urban spaces in front of their schools in their photographic memory?); places that obviously also involve the architecture of the schools and the urban networks of the city on a larger scale. The authors emphasise the importance of ‘school squares’ to such an extent that they even propose a re-orientation of contemporary urban planning strategies, a process of widespread urban regeneration starting precisely from these school-city nodes.

The book, with text in Italian and English, is organised into four chapters that effectively argue the thesis presented: the first two are dedicated to the ontology of the ‘school square’, proposing a typological definition and classification; the third and fourth suggest possible design actions useful for breathing life into to these places, and describe best practices implemented across Europe. Drawings and photographs with an interesting graphic format strive for a comprehensible communicative style and the triggering of a cultural transition on the topics discussed.

Piazze scolastiche.
Reinventare il dialogo tra scuola e città

Paolo Pileri, Cristina Renzoni and Paola Savoldi
Maurizio Corraini, 2022
112 pages, €15

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