28 03 2010

below is the FIRST in a series of polemics, broadsides, manifestoes, musings, visions and other provocative pieces about the city that we will post from time to time and ask you to comment on from time to time…

CASTRUM (2009) a visionary novel about urban planning by 2A+P ARCHITECTURE and Angelo Grasso; see more of their work at

In a cold, cold land…

The Mayor of the City decided to create a new settlement. He did not want to conceive just a city plan, but to reveal a new emotion, a new political vision. He loved to repeat a sentence “the city is too important to put it into the hands of the architects”.

Many meetings and workshops with citizens were organized to decide how to go forward with this new project. The Mayor invited a famous urban planner to the workshop, who showed pictures and drawings of many urban models. People were always happy seeing pictures of public spaces, squares, courtyards, gardens etc… otherwise they were just a bit afraid – fearful of those projects made by the very famous masters, drawn by urban planners as “heroes”.

But how to organize such a complex system? What form will the city be? This was the problem: can the desires of the community be shown black on white?

the City is too important to put into the hands of the architects…

click here for the classical definition of ‘castrum’ and note its many iterations in the morphology of the western city, including its circuitous linguistic lingering in san francisco’s castro district, now known primarily as the world’s first urban encampment for gay people, and in the surname of cuba’s ruling family.




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