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Multiple centrality assessment in Parma: a network analysis of paths and open spaces

Porta, S. and Crucitti, P. and Latora, V. (2008) Multiple centrality assessment in Parma: a network analysis of paths and open spaces. Urban Design International, 13 (1). pp. 41-50.

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One of the largest of Europe, the recently realized university campus 'Area of the Sciences' in Parma, northern Italy, has been planned for a comprehensive programme of renovation and revitalization with a special focus on vehicular accessibility and the quality of open spaces. As part of the problem setting phase, the authors, with Rivi Engineering, applied Multiple Centrality Assessment (MCA) - a process of network analysis based on primal graphs, a set of different centrality indices and the metric computation of distances - in order to understand why the existent system of open spaces and pedestrian paths is so scarcely experienced by students as well as faculty and staff members and why it appears so poorly supportive of social life and human exchange. In the problem-solving phase MCA was also applied, turning out to offer a relevant contribution to the comparative evaluation of two alternative proposed scenarios, leading to the identification of one final solution of urban design. In the present paper, the first professional application of MCA, an innovative approach to the network analysis of geographic complex systems, is presented and its relevance in the context of a problem of urban design illustrated.