Two ways to rethink the city

in the color photo you can see a cascade of illuminated light created by James Wines on the occasion of the Seville Expo in 1992
Avenue Five Central Plaza and Water Buildings - Seville World Expo 92 - Seville Spain - 1992 - Main section of water wall at night. Site James Wines

The numbers say a lot. Real estate sales in the office sector fell well over 30%. Real estate stocks are below an average of 40%. It is only a matter of time for the price to reduce.

Luca Dondi, CEO of Nomisma, said: “I’m the first to hope I’m wrong, but, sooner or later, you will also see an effect on prices and therefore on the fees that, until now, has not been seen in large real estate transactions. Perhaps because the real estate managers who have invested in recent years need to confirm the value of their investment”. It is a cryptic statement. It comes from a research company based in Bologna where hyper-assessment phenomena did not occur and who can therefore look around with greater serenity.

The most city accused is Milano, where the assessments were excessive. Outrageous prices in urban regeneration operations were the norm.

Two indications of the most popular urban planners, Stefano Boeri and Carlo Ratti, have tried to clarify a possible future. The first, from the Polytechnic University of Milan, the second from MIT, Boston. Looking carefully, this situation illustrates a different attractiveness of urban centres. For Milan they are the ideal cure. Stefano Boeri aims to equip small villages with digital networks that, in these years, have suffered a consistent depletion of activity and population. Carlo Ratti instead aims at a digital management of the city. Then flattening of the congestion curves and reductions in overcrowding in the use of infrastructure and services. Together with the Mayor of Stockholm, with whom he worked, excellent results have been achieved.

If these models are also successful, we will move from highly concentrated cities to more extended urban areas. It’s the sunset of the neoliberal city model with its extreme concentration of wealth and inequality.

After Covid, more digital, better infrastructure management and fairer cities. Certainly, even lower prices. It’s the digital revolution!