The central hypothesis behind the book concerns the capacity of urban as well as territorial design, of the "project" in the sense of design activity on multiple scales, to produce knowledge. The volume discusses research conducted with design tools and operations, crossing physical and conceptual territories, related to a set of direct design explorations, and to the concept of "research by design."
This idea of the project contains, manipulates and produces concepts and forms of concrete action in space, involving interpretation, abstraction and – at times – generalization. It describes and reveals processes of individualization, recognizes situations and allows possibilities to emerge. The project images the future and takes its impact on thinking about the city as the basis for the production of an original form of knowledge.
Reflection on the epistemological statutes of the design project, in the wake of the crisis of expert knowledge and in a period of progressive marginalization and simplification of the practice of the architect and of the urban designer, is now fundamental for the rethinking of design’s social role, and to formulate a fresh, new, critical vision of the world.
Part I. Territories of the Conceptual Chapter 1: Rethinking Urbanism Territory 1: The design of Isotropy Chapter 2: The concepts used by urbanists (section one) Chapter 3: The concepts used by urbanists (section two) Territory 2: Conceptual shifts Part II. Territories of Description Chapter 1: New Territories: A Meta-description Territory 3: The porous city Chapter 2: The project as description: images Chapter 3: Projects that describe Territory 4: Elementary Landscapes Part III: Territories of the future Chapter 1: "The future is back" Territory 5: Scenarios of dispersion Chapter 2: A phenomenology of time Territory 6: Paleochannels of history Chapter 3: Images of the future Territory 7: Scenarios for living together Conclusions: "This is how we want to live"