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Morphology and sustainability in the project of public spaces

The case of the historic centre of Viterbo (Italy)


The research at the base of the project proposal is based on the idea that a city is, first of all, a body made out of "fabrics": Social, economic, cultural and environmental fabrics that in the physical form of the built environment find their dynamic expression. If the morphological analysis of Viterbo urban fabric has been then the analytical base of the design process, the focus on daily use of urban spaces has been its main analytical goal. But to talk about a shared, efficient, citizen-friendly city, means, at the end of the day, to tell of a sustainable city where Morphology and Sustainability can be part of a unique creative process. That has been our main goal from a methodological point of view. The city is in fact a key resource for the environmental control. The scale of microclimate come into play tighter interactions between design and climate data, improving context environmental conditions, promoting social relations between users and enabling energy-saving-strategies for the creation of a healthy and comfortable urban environment. The joint use of Urban Morphology together with an accurate environmental analysis by GIS Environmental maps and a parametric costs control of design choices for the Economic and Financial sustainability has made possible the design of living spaces, aware and respectful from the identity point of view, efficient from the energetic point of view, but also open and flexible to the changing use conditions of city-life.

Pages:23 to 44
Section: Space
How to Cite
Maretto, M., Gherri, B., Chiovitti, A., Pitanti, G., Scattino, F. and Boggio, N. (2020) “Morphology and sustainability in the project of public spaces”, The Journal of Public Space, 5(2), pp. 23-44. doi:

Author Biographies

University of Parma
Italy Italy

Marco Maretto (PhD), EdUC Project Coordinator, Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of Parma and Council member of the International Seminar on Urban Form (ISUS) from 2010 to 2017, focuses his research on the interpretation of the urban form as a basis for urban design: urban morphology, sustainability and urban design can be considered the keywords of his work. On these topics he published numerous studies and articles on Italian and international journals, including: Teaching Urban Morphology in a Sustainable Perspective (Springer 2018); Masterplanning and Regeneration: Villa 31, Buenos Aires (Wiley & Sons 2017); Sustainable Urbanism: the Role of Urban Morphology (Urban Morphology 2014); Urban Morphology as a Basis for Urban Design (Urban Morphology 2005). He has also published peer-reviewed books, including: London Squares (Franco Angeli 2019); Saverio Muratori. A Legacy in Urban Design (Franco Angeli 2015); Ecocities. Il Progetto Urban tra Morfologia e Sostanibilità (Franco Angeli 2012); Il Paesaggio delle Differenze (ETS Edizioni 2008). On these topics Marco Maretto organised and participated as speaker, keynote speaker and member of scientific committees at numerous international conferences. He also coordinates a series of international workshops in Architecture and Sustainable Design characterised by a strong multidisciplinary and international base. As part of the PhD program in Architecture at the University of Rome – La Sapienza, he is currently tutoring a number of PhD students on the topics of urban morphology, pedestrian movement flows, school and city. Finally, he is one of the key persons of the Parma Unit in the Erasmus+ project ‘ARCHEA-Architectural Eropean medium-sized city arrangement’, KA203 – Strategic Parnerships for higher education, 2018-2021. Marco Maretto is founder and director of RAM_Researches in Architecture and Urban Morphology (

University of Parma
Italy Italy

Barbara Gherri (PhD) is Assistant Professor in Architectural Engineering at the Department of Engineering and Architecture at the University of Parma. Since 2010 she is a licenced Architect and Energy Assessor for the Emilia-Romagna Regional Administration. Her main research focuses on climate-based design for outdoor comfort, digital simulation for environmental analysis, BIM tools, plug-ins and software for buildings’ environmental performance and bioclimatic solutions for energy saving. A specific research line concerned the environmental design for indoor and outdoor comfort and the use of passive bioclimatic strategies, at the scale of building envelope and for the environmental design of the micro-settlement scale. She is a reviewer in international magazines such as: Journal of Building Engineering, Elsevier B.V; Journal of Civil Engineering and Architecture; Journal of Design & Nature and Eco Dynamic, and has participated in several international conferences with regards to sustainable architecture and climate-based design. In 2015 she took part as the leader of the innovative start-up project within the European project CLIMATE KIC ACCELERATOR, with the LoCaMat prject, which develops an interactive database on innovative materials with low environmental impact for the building industry. Her numerous publications include: From urban wreckage to social resources. Sustainable restoration of the built heritage (France Angeli 2019), Eco- mechanical indexes for sustainability assessment of AAC blocks (IOP 2018), Early-stage environmental modelling: tools and strategies for climate-based design (Advanced Building Skins 2018), Social housing policies and best practice review for Retrofit Action (IOP 2017), A pioneering low carbon material database for building industry (Journal of Civil Engineering and Architecture 2016), Sustainable redevelopment of public spaces in city centres: a bioclimatic approach (Pecedia Engineering 2016), Environmental analysis towards low-carbn urban retrofitting for public spaces (HERITAGE 2016), Assessment of daylight performance in buildings. Methods and design strategies (WIT Press 2015).

Sapienza, University of Rome
Italy Italy

Anthea Chiovitti is an architect, with a Degree in Appraisal and Economic Evaluation and PhD at the University of Rome La Sapienza and the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, PhD thesis in Equalization, compensation, urban incentive: evaluation models for new transformation processes settlement. She focuses her research on the issues of evaluating the feasibility and economic-financial convenience of real estate investments, from planning and programming interventions to project choices. In this context, she deepened the study and application of estimation procedures and evaluation methods and techniques from mono-criterion analyzes (Cost-Revenue and Cost-Benefit Analysis) to Multi-criterion analyzes (WSM, AHP, ANP) up to integrated evaluation approaches of the Gis-based Multicriterial Analysis type. On these issues she has published numerous essays and articles in international journals. Recall: Gis based Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis for the streamlining of the Italian Network of minor airports (Springer, 2018); Multi-Criteria Spatial Decision Analysis for the development of the Italian minor airport system (Hindawy, 2018); A Methodology for the Selection of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis Methods in Real Estate and Land Management Processes (Sustainability, 2018); An Integrated Approach for the Assessment of Urban Transformation Proposals in Historic and Consolidated Tissues (Springer, 2017); Definition of luxury dwellings features for regulatory purposes and for formation of market price (Springer, 2016). Since 2014 she has been carrying out consultancy activities in economic and financial assessment and feasibility.

Sapienza, University of Rome
Italy Italy

Greta Pitanti graduated in Architecture in 2017 from the Department of Engineering and Architecture of the University of Parma with a 110/110 cum laude. In September of the same year she entered the course of higher studies of the Doctorate in Architecture and Construction (DRACo) in the cycle XXXIII at the Department of Architecture and Project of the Sapienza University of Rome. Her interests are immediately oriented to the study of urban morphology and specifically of public space, with particular attention to phenomena related to the shape and construction of the city. In association with this, she is interested in environmental and sustainable design in both urban and architectural areas, assisting her doctoral tutor Prof. Marco Maretto. She participates in national and regional architectural and urban design competitions, with favorable results in both the professional and study fields. She also participates in seminars and international training experiences (Barcelona 2015) enriching his university career through training courses in architectural studies, extra-academic training courses (Interior Design course held by Prof. Francesca Santolini, Modeling Course and Professional Rendering held by the architect Angelo Ferretti) and numerous professional activities, in particular working on architecture and interior design. During his PhD she participates in international conferences on urban form (ISUF Italia Bari 2018, Rome 2020) and develops a thesis on urban morphology and the built environment, with particular attention to the study of urban public space, analyzing daily movement flows as a new tool for read the transformation process of the city.

Sapienza, University of Rome
Italy Italy

Francesco Scattino  graduated in Architecture in 2017 with full marks from the Department of Engineering and Architecture of the University of Parma presenting the thesis in architectural and urban planning for the redevelopment of the former industrial area north-east of Barcelona (supervisor Prof. Marco Maretto). Also in 2017 he entered the course of higher studies of the DRACo (Doctorate in Architecture and Construction in cycle XXXIII) at the DiAP - Department of Architecture and Project - of the "Sapienza University of Rome". He is interested in the study of urban morphology for design, architectural composition and urban planning. Participates in national and regional architectural and urban design competitions, with appreciated professional and academic results. He collaborates with the research group R.A.M (Researches in Architecture and Urban Morphology) which focuses its work around the issues of urban morphology, urban design and sustainability. With a view to greater professional completeness and thanks to activities and collaborations with various design firms, he also gained experience in composition and interior design. Currently, at the DRACo, he develops a thesis on the study of urban form by analyzing different approaches and perspectives for the city of the 21st century, inserted in a wider research aimed at the use of new tools for reading the transformation process of the city.

University of Parma
Italy Italy

Nicolò Boggio is an architect, with a Degree in Architectural and Urban Design from the University of Parma, with an expertise in 3D Modeling. He has been involved in sustainable architectural and urban design for years. He is the owner of the Boggio Associati studio where he has deveoped numerous projects in the Emilia and Piedmont area, such as Bosco Green Home, Sorbolo (2020); Housing development plan I Gerani, Trecate (2020); Rural recovery La Corte, Monticelli (2020); The Gardens of Santa Margherita, Noceto (2020); New sustainable neighborhood Le Corti, Medesano (2019).


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