Rome Limited




Giambattista Nolli’s map from 1748 describes a city, not defined by the quality of the built substance but by the quality of the voids, the leftovers in the urban tissue. Today the original boundary of the Nolli map is dwarfed by the size of the metropolitan region. The Google Earth image of Rome is dominated by vast suburban areas, new-towns and sprawling developments, creating equally vast areas of urban void. If the Nolli map was famous for the image of a city defined by the quality of its leftovers, the Google Earth image reveals a region dominated by leftovers with no apparent qualities. On a regional scale Rome is hardly distinguishable from any other metropolitan region in Europe. The sprawling developments slowly eat into listed landscapes and animal habitats, creating a bloated region with a massive ecological footprint. Paradoxically the urban leftover is now the problem rather than the quality of Rome. What if we could re-create the qualities of the Nolli map on a regional scale? Today 17 new-towns are being planned outside the Grande Raccordo Anulare highway. Instead of adding more enclaves to an already scattered urban landscape, we propose to densify the existing metropolitan area. As a kind of anti-sprawl strategy the 17 new-towns could form a continuous urban belt along the ring road and become the new city limit of Rome. By capturing the sprawl in the lasso of the ring road we create an almost medieval urban condition with a dense metropolitan area contained within the city walls and a countryside outside liberated from further urban expansion. Inside the ring the green voids become new recreational pockets in a dense urban texture. Instead of being random leftovers between expanding developments, the voids are turned into recreational areas, forests, parks, golf courses, ecological isotopes, root zone lakes – leftover spaces with qualities. The pockets are framed by an urban tissue that could gradually become denser and denser with time, injecting public life to the areas. The G.R.A ring will replace the city wall of the Nolli map as a new edge of the city, allowing a new nature to invade the surroundings.
Bears, wolves and flamingos who originally inhabited the area, could reappear in the growing forests, while Rome turns into a new category of metropolis, a super-compact rebirth of the historical walled city. A city with a limited area, but an unlimited density. Gradually ROME ltd. Will increase the qualities of public life while shrinking its ecological footprint.



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