It has been known for some years now that linear objects, whether geographical or man-made (roads, railways, rivers, etc.), are of particular interest, both from an analytical and design point of view. Crossing areas with very different physical features and morphogenetic rules, linear objects have the unique quality of making their internal logic and operating mechanisms comprehensible. When exploring regions by means of roads or rivers, the initial feeling of confusion and disorder, which arises from the transformations of the past few decades, is replaced by our awareness of conflicting rationale and independent and irreconcilable strategies. Each of them is limited and absolute at the same time: limited because it is based on
A. De Rossi (*) • A. Armando • M. Giusiano
Department of Architecture and Design, Politecnico di Torino,
Viale Mattioli 39, 10125 Turin, Italy
© Springer International Publishing AG 2016 167
R. Ingaramo, A. Voghera (eds.), Topics and Methods for Urban and Landscape Design, Urban and Landscape Perspectives 19,
simplified and reductive concepts and absolute because it aims to have sole control over a plot of land by setting boundaries. Linear geographical objects, precisely because of their “narrative” ability to clearly show the reasons behind land-use changes, have an extraordinary potential in terms of design, as they offer an overview that goes beyond the individual rationale and strategies for each individual “regional fence”.
Linear geographical objects, thanks to their analytical and design value, become an extremely valuable conceptual and operational “space”, especially during a structural crisis of the welfare model and a profound redefinition of economic and design models behind the land-use transformation processes (Harvey 1990). It is precisely this crisis and this mutation that forces us to radically reconsider how land-use projects are carried out: the redefinition of the role of the vision, as a teleological device to orient long-term processes; the development of diachronic instruments to represent the transformation in its mid-term steps; the extension of the representational function of drawings and documents to other dimensions, beyond the mere morphological aspects; and the integration of the bureaucratic and technocratic aspects of the processes within the narratives and the figures of the architectural work (Amin and Thrift 2001).