In the MS Urban Planning and Policy Design, the Housing and Neighbourhoods Workshop aims at offering students an opportunity to address emerging issues concerning the agenda of contemporary housing policies and projects.
The Housing and Neighbourhood Workshop assumes the scenario of deep socio-economic transformations affecting contemporary societies as a fundamental context in which to identify new challenges for housing and neighbourhood policies and projects. In the perspective of urban policies and projects, we can indeed register a constant gap between structural socio-economic changes (and their effects, such as temporary and flexible labour market, new social risks, intense flows of migration, industrial relocation, and so on) on the one side, and the actions which are undertaken at the government level on the other. Social practices, on the contrary, tend to be more reactive, and to change along, in search of adaptations and new solutions.
How and which new social practices do question existing policies and housing projects? Along a very pragmatic approach, the workshop will focus the analysis on the intersections between current policies and projects and emerging innovative practices as a way to identify emerging social issues, disclose demands that are unmet by existing policies, and support students in developing innovative policy and design proposals.
THEMES AND TOPICS:
The shift to post-industrial societies has implied major changes in the labour market, especially in terms of high mobility and flexibility of the workforce, and compression of salaries and wages, that are producing dramatic changes in the life settings and perspectives of growing numbers of individuals. Needless to say, the Great Recession has further worsened working and income conditions of many. The de-standardization of working careers couples with a diversification and de-synchronization of life courses as well. Experiences, steps and life phases, that used to come in a fairly predictable succession, are increasingly recomposed in differentiated ways, and may develop in different places in different times – or even at the same time.
In this light, the concept of home itself is to be reconsidered as more and more for many people it tends to turn into a plurality of different places which are simultaneously (loss of unity) and/or temporarily (loss of stability) used as dwellings. Multi-local living and cohabitation are growing trends that go in parallel with, and indeed stem from, the pluralization of job positions and of family assets. The various – and changing – ways and solutions in which the people organise and re-organise their living in the city in order to be able to afford their housing costs (despite the scant public support) and at the same time cope with the labour market requests and their family life needs, is to be more closely investigated, as this brings along significant changes in terms of housing cultures, patterns of solidarity/community, and socio-spatial organisation.
The workshop will tackle questions such as the following:
What profiles of inhabitants of the cities need to live in more than one home and/or to be temporarily accommodated?
What are their conditions and needs?
How to provide them with appropriate and affordable housing solutions?
How to transform existing structures in order to respond to unmet needs?
The definition of policies and projects providing new solutions to these emerging new demands in the context of the City of Milano will be the main focus of the workshop. The workshop will aim at providing new inputs to the public debate on the above issues through the development of experimental projects and policy actions which could contribute to the innovation of housing policies and to the improvement of neighbourhood quality.
A consistent interaction with actors of housing policies at the city and regional level will support a vivid exchange with the concrete problems and potentials. A strong focus on an international set of case studies, frontline and innovative housing projects will be offered as a frame for an understanding of major contemporary challenges in the development of housing projects and neighbourhood development.
STRUCTURE AND ORGANIZATION OF THE WORKSHOP
Studio activities and group work will represent the core of the workshop. Work will be developed by teams of students (3 to 5 components) along different and joint phases of:
Phase one: documentation and investigation (presenting and discussing central terms of references in housing policies, social and economic change) and choice of a specific focus / target-group / location.
Phase two: explorative-comparative (investigating practices, and the way these are changing, and exploring frontline case studies and experiences and projects in Milan and other European and world cities).
Phase Three: project development (developing concepts and projects targeting innovative housing), presentation of results /dissemination through public event.
An introductory set of lectures and of complementary activities such as field visits will be relevant supports to the work and a reading list will be available to provide references (as in the past years, a whole set of books on the discussed topics will be made available for the workshop participants in a specific section of the Department library).
A final public seminar will be organized to discuss and disseminate the results of the workshop which will be collected in a joint final report.
EVALUATION – FINAL EXAM
We expect the workshop to be a collective learning process in which knowledge is developed and shared: active participation and contribution to the organization and development of the workshop will be highly welcomed, encouraged and evaluated.
The final evaluation will be based on the midterm presentations, the contribution to the final report, the final discussion and presentation of the group work, as well as on the overall individual participation to the group work and to the class work.