Deni Ruggeri: Livable Utopias: Life and Death of Great Modernist New Towns
Deni Ruggeri (M.L.A./M.R.P. '01) is an associate professor in the Institute for Landscape Architecture and Spatial Planning at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, where he is the codirector of the Centre for Landscape Democracy.
His research and teaching focus on socio-ecological dimensions of landscape and urban design. He is particularly interested in the influence landscapes have on people's place identity and attachment, and in developing new tools to retrofit sustainability lifestyles, physical and mental well-being, ecological health, economic viability, identity, delight, and biophilia in neighborhood settings. His work has received funding from the Oregon Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the European Union Interreg IV program, and the Cariplo Foundation in Italy. His most recent project, Zingonia 3.0, has been focused on the redevelopment of an Italian New Town through strategic urbanism and eco-literacy efforts. He has recently been awarded funds from the European Erasmus Plus agency for the creation and implementation of the first pan-European course on the principles of socially sustainable design and participation.
Ruggeri's education includes a Ph.D. in landscape architecture from the University of California–Berkeley, graduate degrees in both landscape architecture and city planning from Cornell University, and a first professional degree in architecture from Politecnico di Milano. He has practiced landscape architecture in California for the SWA Group, and in Colorado for Design Workshop. Ruggeri has international experience in leading community design and visioning processes and has served as an advisor for the European New Town Platform in Brussels and X-sense, a tourism development consulting firm in California. Before joining Norwegian University, Ruggeri taught at the University of Oregon and Cornell University.
In the post–World War II era, many countries invested in providing affordable housing in response to the increasing rural to urban migration at the edge of dense urban centers and in satellite areas along freeways or new mass transit lines. Today, some new towns have evolved into important centers of business, education, and technology in direct competition with the larger metropolitan areas they once gravitated to. Others have struggled to adjust to the new economic and political landscape of the global economy. All have understood that long-term sustainability depends on their capacity to innovate and adapt. Architects, landscape architects, and planners have a central role to play in this transition; they can help attract new residents and increase densities, redesign public spaces for greater livability, and transform productive landscapes. Through case study investigations of Irvine, California; Harlow, United Kingdom; and Librino and Zingonia, Italy, this lecture will illustrate how a brighter and more sustainable future for new towns and their residents can be achieved.