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Design proposals presented below, concerning the future morphological structure of Venice, are the result of a process of teaching experimentation twenty years long and witnessed in the book “Venice Industriale/Industriosa” (1999). This process is inspired by the theories of Seymour Papert, raised by Paul Virilio and the assets of the today’s trend that theorizes creative models in education. This learning process takes note that the university education system is still inspired by a model of work organization which dates back to the first industrial revolution, proceeding in a linear way for step slow.

His organizational model of reference is the production line; the project has taught for stairs, passing from the “easier” to “more complex”, thinking that the design capacities should do to proceed a little at a time.

It ‘s true that over time this model has changed, with the establishment of workshops and Erasmus exchanges, but it is clear that the top-down logic of teaching was not minimally affected, as well as the iteration with exogenous forces that affect the design reality is weak.

This organization completely ignores the new models made possible by: availability of interactive tools, the globalization of knowledge,  complexity of design processes, rapid pace of economic and social change. A set of factors enormously affecting the organizational evolution of the project, which must be fed by an increasingly diversified set of cultures belonging to the five continents. For this reason, the organizational form which refer to the experiences presented here is that of the ‘cloud’, whose operation is based on the awareness of the collective dialogue value.

The ‘cloud’ is an ecosystem of interdependent relationships, not hierarchical, with variable geometry, ‘ubiquitous’, accessible from anywhere at any time, whose structure is characterized by diversity and plurality. Organizational characteristics of the ‘cloud’ are:

Modeling, as Forrester has taught since the early ‘70s, the design must be formally structured in complex models, because to proceed on the basis of simple intuition leads to colossal errors5;

Hospitality, which is the ability to recognize and enhance the system of preferences of design users and, therefore, not to impose the will of the designer to the citizens. So ‘hospitality’ is the ability to critically assimilate cultures ‘alien’ in order to innovate the design potential;

Improvisation, which is learning and progressing the project for feedback, being able to adapt to changes and re-evaluate the behaviors that facilitate our exchanges with the world;

Housekeeping, which is the constant experimentation and reorganization of people, knowledge and resources, which is the true characteristic of the innovative project. Scope of work is to activate processes of co-creation: multidirectional, which producing feedback to encourage multiple, continue, active participation, to overcome the one-to-one dialogue;

Large scale, that have large data bases, to increase the level of knowledge, and work for meta-filters, to increase the quality of design.

Dowload the report on Issuu:Venice Cityvision


In this environment:


  • the teacher becomes the coordinator community, the promoter of an interactive agenda;
  • the students, having large interactive database are able to design interacting with the world;
  • the technological tools are not seen as tools intended to automate or simplify the old design way, but as support for human-machine iteration process in which the machine helps to increase the potential of design studente;
  • the design objective becomes to develop a logical -spatial alphabet able to facilitate dialogue between different cultures; in this dimension the primary design purpose is not is to define forms, going to functions, with the excuse to meet the arbitrarily defined needs of the past (usually defined from teachers), but is ‘generative’, that is able to generate virtuous relationship with physical, natural and social spaces.


Obviously, the testimony of this work is no longer entrusted to a paper but to a complex web location: that synthesizes a complex organizational learning and research model.

It’s inspired by the model of creative chatter and is structured to facilitate multiple levels of dialogue that are activated by different network components.

The location is to configure it as a “portable laboratory”, whose main facilities are:


  • the network description and the presentation of its components;
  • the virtual classroom, to work collaboratively 24h/24;
  • the blog, to generate creative ideas and communicate with the world;
  • the library, in order to feed collaborative knowledge;
  • courses online, update for long life.


This experience, introducing the concept of “portability of the university structures,” suggests substantial changes to this institution, exciting the pervasiveness and, specularly, opposing his advanced sclerosis.

First, the portability enhances the process of dematerialization, because it changes the traditional relationship between the physical structures and intangible resources (networks and knowledge). A time the physical presence was essential to gain access to knowledge, hence the motivation of education large phalansteries, today much of the infrastructures are translocating in “the cloud” and the physical structures are used for targeted and high added value purposes. A system translating the main investments by the real estate sector to high-tech sector, with large savings in material and sustainability increasing.

“Portable laboratory”is today experimentation field of hybrid intelligence forms, based on a mix of vital places, algorithms and networks of men. It is expressed through the reinterpretation of the traditional work space - the classroom -  and its infrastructure, with the result of experiencing new forms of communication and new variations of physical spaces. The hybrid intelligence is the distinctive element of “Notebook Lab” that is configured as a collaborative research space, able to integrate network enabling high-speed access to any information resources in support to studentes,  researchers and social networks, ables to communicate tacit knowledge at distance. Basically, this model of space with hybrid intelligence announce a university morphology no longer located for blocks in the city (the university district or campus), but a system of creative nodes distributed in the environment, that will be structured in regional ecosystems of the knowledge, intended to organize scientific chatter in:


  • “local buzz”, which is the daily dialogue, knowledge and information circulating in a well-defined territory, which must be assisted and coordinated through a network of “Netbook Lab” that providing search services. In this way it achieves a soft landing system, intended to internalize exogeneous resources that can be attracted in the region, as foreign companies looking for new know-how or new markets;
  • “global pipelines”, which is the flow of more structured knowledge institutions operating on an international scale, to be attended by important technological structures (eg wind tunnel, supercomputing centers, etc.)..


Regional ecosystems should be bodies developping both of these functions - speeding up the flow of knowledge within the region and facilitating the import of knowledge and dissemination of benefits globally.

As the search spaces of knowledge activated by the regional ecosystems are collaborative, have to be redesigned according to the of the three pillars - industry, universities, research - logic, contributing to the realization of the platforms dictated by the EU. The proposed educational model teaches students to be resilient, to be cooperative in meeting the articulated needs of the people who make up the platforms, to be able to quickly locate in the new mechanisms where they can produce tangible benefits for the research.

The great recession means the start of great visions: our “notebook laboratory” can be seen as the means by which students will be able to start a new boom of higher knowledge spread, in a process similar to that initiated by the Olivetti Lettera 22, the instrument in support of micro enterprises literacy that allowed the start of the economic boom after World War II.