Designing URBAN FLOWS for pedestrians


The impact of private vehicles on the urban fabric is undoubtedly a well-known issue. The space that through the years has been dedicated to the car has often modeled the new form of growing settlements or profoundly affected contemporary cities.

Due to the incredibly steep growth of vehicle ownership early in the last century in the States and after the war in Europe, a car-centered urban vision grew and strengthened, flourishing in the 60s with the Modernist vision. Roads and buildings weren’t meant to communicate anymore, their relationship was broken and so was any inter-disciplinary approach to urban planning. What Marshall describes as the schism of Modernism2, produced the consequent schism of professions. The identification of a “traffic flow” as a discipline led to the birth of a very specific professional figure to whom the study and design of the “movement channel” was entirely assigned: the traffic engineer.

The hyper-specialization of this professional figure, together with an inward looking approach based on quantitative issues alone, generated detrimental urban interventions that are now dotted throughout cities around the world, of which Moscow – possibly the most congested city in the world is a clear example.

In order to address the new challenges produced by mobility in cities a new way of planning the urban flows has to arise. It should be based on understanding that the “shape” of the flows has a profound impact on the quality of the public space and ultimately on the quality of our life. Too often project on the public realm is looked as has a left over space in between the buildings and the movement channels, it is now time that the space is addressed holistically understanding that flows plays a major role in the shape and quality of a space.

In the holistic approach to urban flow it will be of paramount importance to address pedestrian mobility, pedestrian mobility is traditionally not considered in the transport planning fields but the new focus on soft mobility and the progressive necessity of moving away from only car movement has lead to a new focus on pedestrian connectivity.

The workshop focused on pedestrian mobility and how and where to intervene to improve the urban flows with a specific focus on the pedestrian connections.

Federico Parolotto is Senior Partner at MIC – Mobility in Chain which he co-founded with Davide Boazzi and Federico Cassani in 2009.

He has been involved as transport planner in numerous major urban planning projects worldwide. He collaborated with firms such as Foster + Partners, OMA and other renown international design offices on several projects on ground breaking projects.

He was a speaker in numerous international events including the Greenbuild conference (Boston), Ecological Urbanism (Harvard University, Cambridge) in 2009; Helsinki Design Lab in 2010; Superurbano Conference in Padova in 2011; Moscow Biennale in Moscow; SPIEF in Saint Petersburg; World City Forum in Naples and Connect Ideas Maximize Impact In Stuttgart in 2012 and for Daniels University in Toronto 2013.

In 2011 he co-founded Flow(n), MIC research team.

He lectured in several international universities and, among various publications, his essays were published in 2011 on “Ecological Urbanism” by Mohsen Mostafavi and Gareth Doherty and in 2012 on “Ecological Urban Architecture: Qualitative Approaches to sustainability” by Thomas Schroepfer, since 2013 is co-curator with Andrea Boschetti on the Magazine ThePlan of a series of articles on world cities.

Federico since 2012 is a member of the scientific committee for the new Milan Sustainable Transport Master Plan.

Pablo Forti graduated in Architecture in Milan at the Politecnico University in 2010 with a thesis on pedestrian simulations in rail station design, he has started working with engineering firms long before the accomplishment of his studies focusing on town and transport planning, urban and building design as well developing a specific expertise in pedestrian analysis. He developed a good knowledge of the planning and design of transportation facilities throughout a long record of consultancy activities in which he supported architectural firms and real estate developers on all the aspects relating to transportation and accessibility issues. Given the wide range of projects and scales he worked on, he developed a particular flexibility in dealing with the interface to the built environment moving from the wide scale of the master plan to the micro scale within complex buildings.

Actively involved in projects requiring simulation tools as a support for the planning and design tasks, he has developed good knowledge of the Middle-East market where he has acquired knowledge of the methodology required to carry out transportation studies and master plan studies.