Masterplanning for change : lessons and directions

Feliciotti, Alessandra and Romice, Ombretta and Porta, Sergio; Macoun, Milan and Maier, Karel, eds. (2015) Masterplanning for change : lessons and directions. In: Book of Proceedings AESOP Prague Annual Congress 20 15. Czech Technical University in Prague, CZE, pp. 3051-3065. ISBN 978-80-01-05782-7 (

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Unprecedented worldwide urbanisation, financial instability, climate change and emerging new lifestyles are challenging the capacity of cities to attract and retain people and activities. Particularly, as many masterplan-driven developments realised from the second half of last Century have been criticised for their inability to cope with changing needs and uncertainty of future outcomes and for their incongruity with native physical, socio-economic and environmental contexts, the need to reform conventional approaches to masterplanning is now pressing. As cities competitiveness and success depends on their capacity to meet these manifold challenges, a new generation of masterplans has emerged over the recent years to respond more clearly to the sustainability agenda. However as we become increasingly aware that cities are inherently unstable and prone to unpredictable change over time, to complement the concern for sustainability, resilience as applied in the field of system-ecology needs now consideration. The paper argues that re-evaluating masterplanning against the theoretical framework of resilience would help defining a reformed approach, referred to as “Masterplan for Change”, more openly aimed at giving strategic direction and spatial quality to places, while accommodating modification over time. However the role of resilience in guiding urban design and masterplanning is still marginal. Hence, the fundamental link between sustainability and resilience is clarified and a preliminary list of guiding principles of “Masterplan for Change”, emerged from combination between urban design sustainability and socio-ecological resilience principles, suggested.