Venice has become one of those cities which have an urban centre. The idea started back in 1998 and finally became real with the opening of the “Candiani 5”, a place where organized informations about the city’s transformation projects are placed at disposal of the city.
With the term Urban Centre several initiatives have been defined, which are strongly different as to goals, activities, and organizational structure.
Venice’s Urban Centre “Candiani 5”, so called because of the name of the cultural centre where its head office is hosted, began its path in 1998 with the idea of giving birth to the Museum of the contemporary city. At that time, referring to the documents that were drawn in that period, people imagined “a place in which the city could represent itself as a living organism, growing up together with history, and from which relationships about urbanistic issues and urban development might be kept organically with other European cities”.
At the moment the new PRG was being defined, whose choices had to be made known and discussed with the city and some important projects were being launched, needing a place where they could be explained and talked over.
The model which inspired the group committed in the proposal’s drawing was the Parisian Pavillon de l’Arsenal, a still actual reference even if, in the meantime, the context has become richer and it has changed, with the availability of new planning and government of development instruments such as the Strategic Plan and with the spread, if not banalization, of important principles like “advancment”, “communication”, “marketing” and so on.
From 1998 up to now, the building has not been linear and continuous, if we keep into account the fact that since then seven years have passed; after a quite long interval, due to worries about administration expenses for a city museum plan that was maybe too ambitious, in 2002 the process firmly restarted, together with the opening of the Strategic Plan and the making of the Chart for Urban Transformations which represents a, although partial, virtual anticipation of the Urban Centre.
The Strategic Plan, as it happened also in other cities that started the same experience, sees between its modes of intervention urban marketing and, more generally, a support given by a communication system helped also by the Urban Centre.
The Chart for Urban Transformations was the first information channel to be tracked down and placed at disposal of the whole city, as to what regards the development of particularly relevant and complicated projects, because of the multiplicity of involved subjects, areas’importance and plurality of financing sources. www.comune.venezia.it/trasformazioni
At the time of the Chart’s drawing, several initiatives had been developed and launched, coherently with the project introduced by the new Regulation Plan, and those initiatives had to be made known by means of an easily accessible informative system.
The Urban Centre had been signalled as the most adeguate instrument in order to run different activities, both of documentation/information and of promotion of urban development policies.
Since 2002, Domus Academy has been in charge of achieving information about the main experiences operating both into national and European context, that presented features comparable to the Venetian situation.
The enquiry’s result, that investigated many typologies of Urban Centre, including real museums of contemporary architecture and also places dedicated to the debate on themes such as urban development or the promotion of the Strategic Plan, has substantially confirmed the initial hypothesis, depicting the Urban Centre as a place of information and communication, promotion and participation to projects of physical and functional transformation of the city, addressed to the citizens as a whole, to economic agents and professional categories, capable of giving appropriate levels of investigation on information.
The informative contents regarding, at least as a starting point, huge transformation projects, contents of the Strategic Plan and of the City Council’s urbanistic transformation, will be made available through systems of interactive advice, combined with showings of videos and computers on which will be installed softwares whose interfaces are developed in web and web gis ambient.
Such different modes allow different accesses, depending on different kinds of users and their needs or simple concerns.
Consultation will be made easier by the presence of technical staff, able to offer not just information, but a real service.
The permanent informative core will be accompanied by temporary exhibitions, that may also be “handled” by their staff, private or public.
The initiative and management of the space and its activities are currently under the City Council’s administration, even if they foresee the cooperation and participation of many bodies, in accordance with a “public” model, without excluding the fact that in the future it might evolve towards ways of “public-private” partnership.
The available space, adequate to the City Council’s budget that can be used, is of 100 square metres, and a special care has been given to its planning, so that all features could go into it, making at the same time an attracting and “communicative” place.
Besides the informative activity, a calendar of happenings has been put down, in cooperation with associations and bodies that are active in that field, in order to have also diverging points of view, that go from the presentation of projects to the debate on themes concerning the city’s and territory’s development, to the “didactics” for young users, activities that will be done thanks to the availability of equipped areas, external to the Urban Centre, but internal to the Centro Candiani that hosts it.
Starting from 13 April, the Urban Centre will stay experimentally open to the public for one day a week, for info: email@example.com