Heritage for a Sustainable Development: The World Heritage Sites and Their Impacts on Cultural Territories. Case Studies from Armenia edited by Mariacristina Giambruno, Sonia Pistidda, SpringerBriefs in Applied Sciences and Technology, Springer Cham, 2023

This book explores the potential contribution of cultural heritage in the enhancement of the territories, investigating the possibilities but also the criticalities involved in the process. Based on the knowledge process built on the Monasteries of Haghpat, Sanahin, Geghard and moreover, in the Upper Azat Valley in Armenia, the work suggests the development of an integrated design approach with interdisciplinary focus. The conservation of the Architectural Heritage of these sites is a priority for the identity safeguard but also to start virtuous processes able to ensure a sustainable development for places and communities. The objective of this work is the setting of pilot strategies and guidelines for the preservation and promotion of cultural heritage as an engine for a compatible and sustainable tourism development of the area, with tangible impact on social and economic development of the country. The work would benefit local authorities and communities, as well as researchers involved in these topics.

Montedoro, L., de Oliveira, F.L. (2023). From No Man’s Land to Everyone’s Space. The Potential of Radical Design to Transform the Green Line in Cyprus in: Buoli, A., Ţiganea, O.C. (eds) Territorial Fragilities in Cyprus. Research for Development. Springer, Cham

The Green Line that crosses the island and splits the city of Nicosia in two is a wound that makes the geopolitical conflict that has been taking place in Cyprus since 1974 palpable. The military garrisons on both sides, the checkpoints, the UN trucks guarding what was once the main street of the city, and the ruins that overlook it offer an alienating and painful experience in the heart of today’s Europe. Faced with the complexity of this situation, one wonders about the real potential of spatial transformation projects. How could an intervention in the physical space of the Green Line help foster dialogue between the two parties? And, more broadly, how could it be re-signified from nobody’s land to everyone’s space? The operability and effectiveness of design (landscape, urban and architectural) in a situation of long-standing socio-political conflict are deeply challenged; the spaces for interventions capable of making sense are indeed limited. In other words, it is a question of accepting the conditions of a minority in which architects and urban planners find themselves acting when faced with the problems of such contexts; and, starting from a position of humbleness but also mobilizing the power of imagination. It must be recognized that operations of space re-signification are possible and can play a meaningful role in offering “neutral” and hospitable places for dialogue. Where there is a contested memory of places, the production of an otherness, of a radical rewriting, can contribute to constructing an inclusive and ecumenical space. Starting from the analogy between language and space, this chapter proposes a reinterpretation of the Green Line as a Mediterranean free space, and provocative design actions are hypothesized to reinforce its “pidgin” character as a condition for potential new beginnings.

Innovative Approach for the Development of Sustainable Settlements in East Africa. Affordable Housing for Mogadishu. Edited by Oscar Eugenio Bellini, Andrea Campioli, Claudio Del Pero, Cinzia M.L. Talamo, Davide Chiaroni, Stefano Guidarini, Camillo Magni, Research for Development, Springer Cham, 2022

This book deals with sustainable affordable housing in developing countries, providing the main results of the BECOMe research project of the Politecnico di Milano. Sustainable, affordable housing in developing countries is increasingly important for African and international stakeholders, with massive urbanization processes involving many countries consuming large territories and natural resources minus any strategy of sustainability and social equality and without consideration of the long-term effects on the environment and subsequent generations. While the issue of affordable housing requires approaches adapted to the many specific African contexts, the case of Somalia seems representative of a fragile context characterized by the uncertainty of the social, political, and economic situations and the lack of common shared legislative references and strategies. The book aims to provide knowledge and propose a methodological framework developed from this particular situation that can serve as a template. On the basis of this main objective, the book deals with approaches and problems related to the creation of sustainable housing ecosystems, activating and boosting local enterprises and stimulating foreign investors to revamp the national AEC sector and related manufacturing industries, models for modular settlements, and business models and assessment methodologies useful for evaluating a set of appropriate technological solutions. The book:

    • Proposes a new approach to sustainable and affordable housing in East Africa
    • Puts forth a settlement strategy toward new business ecosystems
    • Details decisional support systems (DSS)

Territorial Development and Water-Energy-Food Nexus in the Global South. A Study for the Maputo Province, Mozambique. Edited by L. Montedoro, A. Buoli, A. Frigerio, Research for Development, Springer Cham, 2022

This volume originates from the research results of “Boa_Ma_Nhã, Maputo!” (Polisocial Award 2018), a transdisciplinary research project based at Politecnico di Milano and focused on the districts of Boane, Moamba, and Namaacha, located in the eastern part of the Maputo Province, Mozambique. The project has been a testing ground to integrate and blend different know-hows and backgrounds when dealing with contingent issues. It involved four departments from different fields (architecture and urban studies, environmental, electronics, civil and energy engineering) and has been developed in partnership with the Eduardo Mondlane University (Maputo, Mozambique) and the Italian Cooperation Agency (AICS) in Maputo. It also benefits from the support of other locally operating NGOs and institutions and is framed in a larger international cooperation initiative named PIMI (Programa de Investigação Multisectorial Integrada: Estudo para a Promoção do Desenvolvimento Territorial Integrado da Região de Boane, Moamba e Namaacha). The book:

    • Highlights spatial correlations of WEF Nexus and sustainable territorial development in a Sub-Saharan African context
    • Presents a comprehensive study of rural-urban linkages in the Maputo metropolitan area
    • Includes WEF-oriented territorial cartography for spatializing territorial dynamics

 Architectural Heritage in the Western Azerbaijan Province of Iran. Evidence of an Intertwining of Cultures. Edited by Maurizio Boriani, Mariacristina Giambruno, Research for Development, Springer Cham, 2021

This book represents a reflection on the policies of preservation that were established and interventions for restoration that occurred in Iran before and in the years after the Khomeinist Revolution, as well as being an analysis of the impact that Italian restoration culture has had in the country. Research concerning the state of conservation and the ongoing restoration of the Armenian churches in the Khoy and Salmas areas is included, along with precise documentation of the observation of the two cities, their architecture and the context of their landscape. The problems of architectural restoration in present-day Iran and the compatible use of buildings no longer intended for worship are addressed. The book is bolstered by first-hand documentation obtained through inspections and interviews with Iranian specialists during three missions carried out between 2016 and 2018 and a large anthology of period texts that have only recently been made available for the first time for study in electronic form, including travel reports written by Westerners describing Persia between the 15th and 19th centuries. The book:

    • Documents the conservation and protection activities of architecture in contemporary Iran
    • Illustrates the urban history of two major cities in northern Iran
    • Analyzes the conservation of numerous Armenian churches and the restorations carried out in recent years

Sustainable Urban Development and Globalization. New strategies for new challenges—with a focus on the Global South. Edited by Agostino Petrillo, Paola Bellaviti, Research for Development, Springer Cham, 2018

This publication concerns the multidisciplinary set of studies, researches and projects developed in recent years within the Laboratory for International Cooperation of the Department of Architecture and Urban Studies (DAStU) of Politecnico di Milano and particularly in relation with the Post-graduated specialization course “Coopera(c)tion: Knowledge and skills for sustainable cities in the Global South”, promoted by the Laboratory for 3 editions from the academic year 2013–2014. The book:

    • Describes sustainable solutions to challenges posed by socioeconomic, environmental, and cultural changes associated with globalization
    • Focuses especially on rapid urbanization processes in countries of the Global South
    • Covers strategies in diverse sectors, including housing, education, cultural heritage, and land management in the context of climate change

Bersani, E., Giambruno, M., Pistidda, S. (2015). Planning for the Historic Built in Developing Countries: Challenges and Opportunities Through the Case Study of Multan (Pakistan). In: Toniolo, L., Boriani, M., Guidi, G. (eds) Built Heritage: Monitoring Conservation Management. Research for Development. Springer, Cham.

Since 2010 the Authors have been involved, on behalf of your department, in different tasks of the multidisciplinary project “Sustainable Social Economic and Environmental Revitalization of the historic core Multan City”, financed by funds from the Pakistani-Italian Debt for Development Swap Agreement and governed by a Consultancy Services Agreement signed between the Foundation Polytechnic of Milan and the Ministry of Housing and Works of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Multan, one of the oldest inhabited cities in the Asian subcontinent and the sixth largest within the boundaries of Pakistan, is a city in the Punjab Province of Pakistan and capital of Multan District with a population of over 3.8 million. The general objective of the project is the promotion of the old town of Multan by valorizing its historical, architectural and cultural heritage. The proposed program aims to develop a pilot model in conservation by urban renewal and infrastructure improvement accepting culture and history as common human heritage and as tool to development based on approach of global and local citizen participation and public and private partnerships. Specifically, the Authors have worked on the tasks of the guidelines for the preservation of historic buildings within the walled city and Musafar Khana Complex at the Musa Pak Complex preservation project, including the Pakistan Italia Resource Centre design. The experiment, with complex objectives and focused on an urban scale and not on single buildings, in fact allowed to make some reflections about the preservation of cultural heritage in developing countries, despite the differences of cultural contexts.

Boriani, M., Giambruno, M., Pistidda, S. (2014). Guidelines for the Walled City of Multan: Knowledge, Conservation, and Relationship Ancient/New for a Sustainable Rehabilitation. In: Del Bo, A., Bignami, D. (eds) Sustainable Social, Economic and Environmental Revitalization in Multan City. Research for Development. Springer, Cham.

The buildings of the Walled City of Multan come from different historical ages with important examples of materials, traditional building types, and construction techniques. This is a great wealth but at the same time it raises several problems for the complex issues involved. In a such complex context, if we want to preserve the past as a foundation for the future, it is important to start a virtuous process through synergistic actions for the improvement of housing conditions. The guidelines don’t consist of individual projects but in a real and operative approach method: a friendly tool but at the same time a technical guidebook addressed to different types of users (owners, specialized workers, and technicians) for different levels of intervention: maintenance, repairs, and restoration.

Giambruno, M., Pistidda, S., Amigoni, C., Garzulino, A., Tasinato, M. (2014). The Conservation Project of Haram Gate: Material Authenticity and Recognizability of the Project. In: Del Bo, A., Bignami, D. (eds) Sustainable Social, Economic and Environmental Revitalization in Multan City. Research for Development. Springer, Cham.

The article is the result of the joint discussion of all authors; the individual parts have been edited as follows: the section “To restore today. What does it mean?” by Mariacristina Giambruno; the section “A methodological approach” by Mariacristina Giambruno and Sonia Pistidda; the section “The studies on materials and decay phenomena” by Andrea Garzulino; the section “Investigation on structural phenomena” by Christian Amigoni; the section “Project steps” by Sonia Pistidda and Matteo Tasinato; the section “The consolidation project” by Christian Amigoni.