Creating Functional City Spaces: A Minimalistic Approach to Redeveloping Piazza San Marco in Florence, Italy



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This project analyzes how urban spaces affect human activity and argues that spaces need to adapt over time. I used Piazza San Marco in Florence, Italy as a case study to further explore this idea because it is a piazza I studied while I was abroad. Understanding how urban spaces respond to people will begin to create better spaces for pedestrians. The questions that I investigate are: How do older cities like Florence need to adapt their urban space to fit current human behavior patterns? How can urban spaces be used as a connector to other spaces in Florence? How can the piazza be used to make connections to either preserve or restore historical infrastructure? Through careful research I began to understand urban space on the physical and neurological level to aid in the design process. The lack of understanding of what people need for a space can be an obstacle for designers to create a better urban space, a place where social life can be stimulated. San Marco Piazza, today, is a bustling hub of transportation with a row of shops on one side; the San Marco Church, the Palazzina della Livia, the Casino Mediceo, and the Accademia di Belle Arti enclose remaining sides of the piazza. These historically important buildings do not receive the attention they deserve, due in part to cars, buses, crowds of people, and other factors that disrupt the space. This led me to study alternative transportation structures in historical cities. The study of the urban transportation systems in Curitiba, Brazil and Bogota, Colombia, depicts the efficient way to control and decrease the amount of traffic in central areas. Curitiba began the first Bus Rapid Transit system that is an impressive and effective transportation system, which is a model for other cities today. The same transportation system was used in Bogota. Both these transportation systems have been beneficial in guiding designs for a more practical and systematic space for Piazza San Marco. I present my research through careful diagrams and sketches of Curitiba, Bogota and Piazza San Marco. The diagrams and sketches are used to better understand my process, design and the outcome of incorporating the current human interaction with Piazza San Marco to create a more efficient urban system.



urban planning, architecture, Piazza San Marco, Florence, Italy