• Towards the Enabling City: Intermediate Places between Practices and Planning for Social Innovation in Bologna
  • Massari, Martina <1988>


  • ICAR/20 Tecnica e pianificazione urbanistica


  • The research investigates the interaction between social innovation practices and urban planning, assuming as a case study and field of application the city of Bologna, observed from the point of view of the production of urban policies and with respect to the places where it is practiced. Social innovation are localised actions tackling current urban complexities with micro-scale practices of service and urban production, by which new urban actors find answers to social needs, which are less afforded by the market and the public sectors. Planning and social innovation practices are two dimensions working in the city in different but complementary ways, subject to a mismatch. Through the lenses of interaction, the research explores the context of Bologna, a paradigmatic study and application field, a laboratory of innovative policies where a tradition of collective civic initiatives intertwines with a more responsible institutional planning framework. After drawing from area-based policies of Berlin and Barcelona, the thesis reads the role of specific intermediate places, mediators in bridging the level of institutions and the practices. Through an inventory and a cross-cutting taxonomy of intermediate places, the research draws the knowledge to inform a new urban model for the city of Bologna, aimed at overtake the mismatches by enabling the practices to act, allowing urban planning to frame them in a cross-fertilisation dimension. The proposed urban diagrammatic model, foresees intermediate places as local socio-urban observatories for research and development, interacting with both institutions and communities. The goal is to critically explore the limits and widen the meaning of the capacity of action of social innovation practices engaging in mutual-learning with the city. The model suggests a new possibility for reflection on urban planning as a more flexible approach, which translates the numerous experiences of the city into alternatives and multiple visions.


  • 2020-03-30
  • info:eu-repo/date/embargoEnd/2023-02-17


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Massari, Martina (2020) Towards the Enabling City: Intermediate Places between Practices and Planning for Social Innovation in Bologna, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Architettura , 32 Ciclo.