Lectures 2006
Skip Navigation Links : Lectures 2006 : February : "Metropolitan parks of the contemporary cityscape" Fiorenza Staurianoudaki – Kamba

"Metropolitan parks of the contemporary cityscape" Fiorenza Staurianoudaki – Kamba


The constant growth experienced during the years by towns and cities gives rise to the need of continual transformation of their structure, to respond to the needs of their inhabitants.

Till a few years ago, the word park had a meaning, that of replica of nature in the urban fabric space, without any particular activities.

Today the city needs spaces to be used day and night time, summer and winter, with political, cultural and recreational activities, walking and play, sport and amusement. That kind of needs create new perspectives on park design. That could mean parks which first of all will belong and serve the citizens. Would include exhibition spaces, kiosks for shows and games, cultural information centers, public cyber cafes, indoors and outdoors sports facilities, music hall, etc. Urban parks in that sense could be the starting point of urban renewal and therefore no longer the lungs but the heart of the city.

The aims of this essay are to discuss the use, role and ideas behind the design of parks in the contemporary cityscape, and how this design should be to contribute to the improvement of the quality of urban life. Through a short historical reference to understand how parks appeared in the cities of Europe and through two examples, Central park of New York and Parc de la Villette in Paris, we can acknowledge the development in the design of parks the last 140 years. The first, constructed in 1858, is just a replica of nature serviced by a minimal number of facilities and placed in the centre of a very dense urban fabric. The other, park of the Parisian suburbs is characterized as a dense forest of social activities and art arranged in a green context.

The essay extends the research in the field of architectural theory and philosophy on Tschumi‘s ideas of Parc de la Villette, which opens new perspectives on urban design. Composed on great theories and influenced by the basic movements of art of the 20th century, the architect in fact did not create just a park that answers the needs of a contemporary city, but he formulated a new abstract urban plan.