This book investigates the process of change in some European neighbourhoods, either newly and purposely built or redeveloped from ashes and scratch. The questions addressed concern the model and process of change of urban places, considering both local communities and physical spaces. The included chapters investigate the scope and nature of uses and design, assess the contribution of place to a common urban life, and reconstruct the role and discourse of planners. The book tries to offer evidence of many varied and complex paths of change, far from the mainstream simplified models of general urban evolution. The piecemeal production of new additions to cities, as well as the process of incrementally reconverting old places and urban segments, we argue, proceeds in fact on twin tracts: structural change and internal evolution, discourses and practices combined, are therefore to be considered together. The following case studies assess the internal logic of the ideological discourses of change against the actual practices of production taking place in the neighbourhoods. The research tackles such change from the neighbourhoods upwards, rather than ‘downloading’ frames and concepts from the general models of urban change. All chapters venture into the realm of discursive arguments, analysing visions and discourses elaborated to justify neighbourhood change, unravelling the tangle between everyday practices and ideological representations. Beyond celebration or slander, studying these narratives contributes to the understanding of places; even more, to the critique of both the design of physical spaces and the elaboration of policy actions. “Changing places” is composed of a series of different case studies, though all investigate the change of European neighbourhoods in the last twenty years . The chapters are based upon original research carried out by a group of researchers from different countries and backgrounds, reflecting a varied set of interests and cultural orientations, as well as the personal approaches of their respective authors . The book's selection acknowledges the diversity of the contributions, a diversity reflected in the table of contents, which alternates interpretative and analytical contributions. Far from confusing, the contrast of different views provided here enriches the understanding of the way places change: moreover, it emphasizes through contrast the buzz of rhetorical arguments that weigh down the research on this subject.
Cremaschi, M., Eckardt, F. (2011). Introduction.