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Markets, Spatial Order, and Sustainable Urban Futures: Porti franchi and the spatial history of the market

The purpose of this project is to analyse the market as an integrated dimension of urban planning and design - the market as a market place: its spatial order and relation to planning. The research will be chiefly historical and will focus on the free market towns, the porti franchi, starting in Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries. The study will thus concentrate on beginnings. Comparisons will be made with current urban design where marketization is again a structuring factor with uncertain consequences for sustainable urban futures. The early spatial organization of the market place will thus speak to the present, and vice versa. The porti franchi appear like a series of "innovative milieux", with distinct common traits, scattered across Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. The study will uncover the spatial programming of the market place by means of studying what could be defined as its constitution (its legal and political design) and its situation (the resulting physical design object), both in relation to what is here termed spatial planning technologies. Understanding the spatial "subtext" or "grammar" of the capitalist market should be useful for the planning and management of new market situations ("market solutions") in defined areas and built spaces, a recurrent case in an increasing number of public sector structures today (public buildings, suburban shopping centres, hospital areas etc) with grave risks of becoming obstacles to sustainability.

Project leader: Sverker Sörlin

Project participants at the Division: Sverker Sörlin,

Funding agency: Formas

Duration: 2010-2015

Belongs to: Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment
Last changed: Nov 01, 2016