Academic journal article The Town Planning Review

Spatial Strategies through Land-Use Plans, Urban Projects and Metropolitan Visions: Twenty-Five Years of Planning in Turin

Academic journal article The Town Planning Review

Spatial Strategies through Land-Use Plans, Urban Projects and Metropolitan Visions: Twenty-Five Years of Planning in Turin

Article excerpt

Introduction

Since the 1960s, prominent Anglo-American schools of planning developed an aversion to modernist land-use and physical planning (Sanyal, 2008). Comprehensive blueprints and master plans were depicted as part of the problem in urban and regional development, because of their depoliticised and top-down approaches. In this context, in the 1990s, strategic planning gained ground as an alternative approach, in opposition to traditional forms of planning (Palermo and Ponzini, 2010). International theoretical debates and actual planning practice tended to separate strategic planning from other forms of planning in order to legitimise a new field of practice (with few exceptions, including Sartorio, 2005; and Servillo 2016). This has somehow prevented the study and limited the understanding of the strategic relevance of more traditional plans - such as land-use plans or structure plans - and other relevant planning activities at different scales. In order to observe coexistence between these forms of planning and their impact in developing a spatial strategy, we have considered the case of Turin.

In the last 25 years, Turin has been an important ground for experimentation for planning policies and practices, both in the Italian and wider European contexts. Turin became the first Italian city (and one of the first cities in Europe) to officially adopt a strategic plan, in 1999 (Torino Internazionale, 2000). The long-term continuity in the city's politics, its close-knit policy networks (Belligni and Ravazzi, 2013) and the massive restructuring of its Fordist economic base were the main conditions in which a set of comprehensive and strategic plans were designed and implemented. These worked alongside important large-scale urban projects which have materially marked the functional and symbolic transformation of the city (De Rossi and Durbiano, 2007). This article analyses the coexistence of such plans and projects during three partially overlapping phases. In the first, from the early 1990s to mid-2000s, visioning and strategy making was carried out through a traditional plan and the design of the physical and functional transformations of the city. In the second, from the early 2000s to the early 2010s, strategic planning was mixed with the pre-existing vision and large-scale projects that were progressively slowing down. The third and most recent phase is characterised by the strong global economic crisis and a general inability to deal with the rescaling of metropolitan governance. What seems to be of importance in the case of Turin is that multiple plans of different kinds and purposes have contributed to both the production and the realisation of innovative spatial arrangements, despite the fact that neither international planning literature nor the involved local actors perceive it as such.

The article is divided into four parts. First, a literature review focuses on the role of different forms of planning in determining a vision for the transformation of the city, thus paying specific attention to strategic planning and flagship projects (also related to mega-events in Turin). This is seen as a more flexible variant of traditional land-use planning. Second, we explain why Turin is an interesting case for broader learning in the European context and beyond. Third, with reference to the last twenty-five years, we focus on the city's strategic and more traditional comprehensive plans, its flagship projects and the disruptive effects of the ongoing rescaling process. We argue that the different forms of strategy making have contributed to the development of a new spatial vision and a strategic shift from Fordist company town to diversified economy (Bagnasco, 1990), and to an international and open environment. Finally, we will reflect on how the creation and fulfilment of a vision for spatial development went well beyond the production of official strategic plans - with which it is usually associated - and on how they intertwine with more traditional forms of planning (land-use or structure plans) as well as with the design of large-scale development projects. …

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