Not only "smart". For a Human-Centered City

Tessuti urbani

Tessuti urbani

When you say "Smart City" the immediate idea associated is of a dense metropolis, digitized, efficient  for energy consumption and interconnected for a real-time information sharing. Moreover we think of a hierarchization where istitutions and large  private companies are at the top and the private citizen, final user,  is located at the very bottom. Without considering how much this idea is real just on the paper or not, there is to be observed that the "intelligent" model neglects what should be the main goal of spatial planning: the spiritual and social well-being, as well as intellectual, of the citizen. The agglomeration, whether urban or rural, is the expression and testimony of the culture of a place, and, as such, holds the responsibility to manage and govern a healthy social life, through the expression of ethical and spiritual values hat are expressed with signs, sounds, smells.

To get an idea of the importance that a single signal may have on our mind let's consider the 'visual' experience by itself. Let's consider any object we may encounter along a road path: as it is scannered it get a double interpretation and coding. The central vision interprets its intrinsic meaning and the peripheral vision places it in a scenic backdrop full of meanings deriving from related environments and events linked to them . Damasio (1) interprets this dual perception as an overlapping of two types of emotions: the primary emotion - of primitive nature - and the secondary one,  of upper level , with which the first forms the "feeling " that characterizes our life experiences and therefore shapes our behavior . This simple consideration made nly on the visual experience makes us understand the importance of a specific urban context can have on the characterization of a group of a people.

Montreal - Luminoterapia  (via )

Montreal - Luminoterapia  (via

If we consider that our experience as humans is always of multisensory kind, we can realize how big is the responsibility we have when making decisions while urban planning , even if it is estimated we use on average only 10% of our time in outdoor spaces. And if it is true that complexity that pervades our cities opens to practical and numerical problems - such as the management of flows and the distribution of goods - it is also necessary use urban design strategies to improve mental and physical wellbeing, in order to induce a " positive mentalscape " ( 2 ).

SouthBank - Brisbane (via l andarch.c om )

SouthBank - Brisbane (via

The human being is the result of his interaction with the territory in which he grows and lives: with it he establishes a symbiotic relationship that constantly changes with effects in the short , medium and long term . Creating conditions that prevent the onset of stressful factors and improve our intellectual capacity is possible by exploiting the many variables that characterize the place. Paths roads easy decoding, facades of buildings that consider their expressive potential, green spaces, art installations, are all occasions to offer regenerating experiences.


Giusi Ascione

Architetto abilitato dal 1992, LEED Green Associate, con un’esperienza decennale all’estero presso studi di progettazione internazionali (Burt Hill, EMBT/ RMJM, Forum Studio/Clayco). Rientra in Italia nel 2008 per avviare ABidea, dedicato alla progettazione e al retrofit. Nel frattempo presta consulenza presso Proger Spa, NeocogitaSrl, collabora con il GBCItalia. Consulente architetto per spazi rigeneranti e formatore di CFP per architetti, è coinvolta anche in attività di ricerca interdisciplinare centrata sulle relazioni tra il comportamento umano e lo spazio costruito. (EBD - Environmental Psychology)