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Andrea Boschetti

Right to Housing IQD 72


An architect and PhD in urban design from the Venice Institute of Architecture (IUAV), Andrea Boschetti founded the Milan-based architecture and urban planning firm Metrogramma in 1999, of which he is now ceo and artistic director. Gold Medal for Italian Architecture (2004) and Benemerenza per la Cultura e l’Arte Italiana conferred by the Presidency of the Republic (2008), Andrea Boschetti, together with Metrogramma, has participated over the years in many international exhibitions, including La Biennale di Venezia (2000, 2008, 2010), the London Exhibition (2008) and the Brasilia Exhibition (2008). He was then director of the 5th edition of the International Architecture Biennale “Barbara Capocchin” (2011-’12) dedicated to the themes of urban regeneration designing, together with Michele De Lucchi, the exhibition design of Palazzo della Ragione in Padua entitled “Superurbano”. He is also currently art director and head of design at The One Atelier, a London-based company specializing in luxury real estate. In September 2019 he won, together with Stefano Boeri and Petra Blaisse, the international competition for the reconstruction of the Quadrante Val Polcevera – the Red Circle and the Bridge Park in Genoa. Finally, in May 2021 he won, with Loreto Open Community, the international competition promoted by the City of Milan together with C40 Reinventing Cities, for the urban redevelopment of Piazzale Loreto in Milan, which is now in the executive phase.

Right to Housing

When I was asked to be guest editor of an issue of IQD, I replied that I would only do it when I felt the urgency of contributing effectively to the construction of an issue, which had as its focus a theme that I considered crucial, not only from a disciplinary perspective, but also and above all to stimulate a cultural and political discussion. The time has come. The City and the Right to Housing for everyone is the theme of the issue, which will be followed by a second edition in 2024 and a third in the following year to compose a trilogy-observatory. I promised myself to direct this work, abandoning any self-referentiality and leaving scientific reflection to major experts and researchers, so as to make this issue bolder in its reflections, profound in its contents and politically provocative. The issue is organized around three chapters. 1 The right to housing and the real possibility of access to this right in Italy and Europe. 2 The house and its extension beyond itself, in cities and communities, featuring contemporary housing models. 3 The technical aspects related to flexibility, true sustainability, resources at stake and real capacity of the companies. Confronting with the theme of the right to housing for everyone proves to be necessary, albeit divisive, given the relative fragile and inconsistent urban planning policies active in the cities, while still believing in the democratic principles and values of this profession. After years of research, projects and planning that have put the regeneration premise at the heart of the urban question – that is to say the need to recover and enhance the existing, good and bad, heritage of our cities, and no longer just the historical one – today we are faced with the first negative consequences of such strategies. The worst and, unfortunately increasingly evident phenomenon is that of gentrification (literally bourgeoisization), that is to say the process which, within the frame of the redevelopment and renovation of entire degraded and poor urban districts into prestigious residential areas, transforms and disrupts, often irreversibly, the original social composition due to the increase in rental and property prices, with the inevitable expulsion of entire sections of the population to other urban or rural areas. If the regeneration of post-industrial cities and territories had the goal of ending and slowing down the devastating soil consumption that overbuilding had caused, and unfortunately is still causing with irreparable consequences for our landscapes, gentrification is its reverse of the medal; the litmus test of a new and huge social problem for urban realities. A critical issue that is becoming a powder keg and which sees the ever-widening gap between rich and poor, therefore between wages and housing costs, as the key issue to be addressed in order to save every prerequisite for democracy, which is the underlying meaning and essence of our cities.

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