Ref: Porta, S. Romice, O. (2014). Plot-based urbanism: towards time-consciousness in place-making. In Mäckler, C., & Sonne, W. (Eds.), Dortmund Lectures on Civic Art/Dortmunder Vorträge zur Stadtbaukunst. Sulgen, DE: Niggli, p.82-111.
Contemporary challenges are such – in terms of scale, type and urgency – that a deep shift is needed in urban disciplines just to start dealing with them. Some of us have recently argued that what we still miss is the serious consideration of the factor of time in urbanism, or, in other words, a deeper “time-conscious” approach (Thwaites, Porta, Romice, & Greaves, 2008). Inevitably, that means focusing on change as the essential dynamic of evolution in the built environment, which in turn leads to re-addressing concepts like control, self-organization and community participation. After time and change have been finally firmly placed at the centre stage, the whole discipline of urban planning and design, its conceptual equipment as well as its operational toolbox, reveals its weaknesses under a new light and calls for the construction of a different scenario.
This paper poses the problem of this scenario in disciplinary terms, it argues about its premises and outlines its essential features. The scope of this paper is not to deliver a comprehensive model for a new approach to urban planning and design, but to set the right framework and rise the right questions so that we can start thinking of issues such as urban regeneration, informal settlements and massive urbanization, community participation and representation, beauty and humanity in space, in a different way.