The interview below with Stefano Serafini, Director Gruppo Salingaros and Research Director of Biourbanism in Rome conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö during August 2012
As architects are not acquainted with epistemology, neurophysiology, and biopolitics, and time was not so much, and part of the academic staff was new to the architecture world, ourschool’s methodology resulted to be a bit tiring. Yet, our group took courageously part in a hard three full-days brainstorm, and tried to absorb/communicate a lot of information about the last frontiers of neurosciences, complexity, and theoretical biology. Such a bunch of data was meant to challenge the mindset of last centuries’ architectural and urban planning practice. We are talking about a vision of the world shared not only by architects, of course. The paradigm shift that is going on among practitioners has a lot to say, for example, to psychologists, physicians, economists, and so on.
One could refer to the methodology of collecting information as taught by Design Thinking. This is a very concrete process to ground a bottom-up design. Real needs expressed by clients, or by the community, are there to point out the good answer. Listening to them – learning how to listen to them – means avoiding a designer’s projections or impositions, which could (and in fact, usually, do) spoil the effectiveness of design. What if – say – a politician used the same methodology?
The other half of the Summer School then has been devoted to analysis and practice, but the real work, that is, making an output of the information received, will go on during the next months and years. Most of the participants are young and very talented. It will be a pleasure to see how they will digest this experience and will build biourbanism.