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5.1 Zoom-in VEGA

In July 2013 I interviewed the architect involved in the original design of VEGA. He mentioned a problematic situation at the beginning of VEGA, sketching a condition of disalignment between different actors: the architect and his team, the interacting public and private organizations. Such disalignment deeply influenced the development of VEGA. Specific situations occurred, for example, during the construction of an underpass, a footbridge and a support beam.

[VEGA] began with an international bidding competition [.. .] this bidding competition had to solve two problems: urban problems and architectural problems .. . then, [we could start talking about] the urban problems. We must connect [the park] to the university area in Via Torino (.. .). We had to establish a system of ways, tunnels (.. .). The [available] underpass (.. .) was [and is] owned by ANAS[1] and Ferrovie dello Stato[2]. These two organizations do not communicate with each other. [For this reason] we were running the risk of losing the European funding because we would not be able, at that time, to build the underpass without their active involvement (.. .). Our project envisioned also a footbridge (.. .) leading right in the middle of Via Torino (.. .), and there was another thing: now you see that there's a viaduct passing over the rail and down along Via della Liberta`, and you see in the science park's building a big beam [for support] and a big hole. This was not a stylistic choice: the viaduct had to pass through (.. .) and this would have given rise to an extremely interesting circulation system (.. .). All these things were not completed (.. .). During the project realization I encountered many difficulties. The project was not realized with a computer programme, but was drawn in ink, with subsequent consequences: since we had to change it frequently in dialogue with the clients, we could not control the costs (.. .). When you launch a project like this, you need an administrative centre that updates the costs in real time. So, in total solitude, the chief engineer of the Civil Engineering Office and I (.. .) removed [several] pieces of the project for the park's architectural design, cutting the related costs ... If you look at it, the building does not have a piece of thermal insulation (.. .) nowadays, such a building would be unacceptable! (July, 23 2013, Venice)

The architect talked about other prickly situations due to political interests such as the operations of ordnance clearance and environment reclaim. Such interests damaged the development of VEGA. At the origin, it was planned to be a relational place rather than a space merely aimed to host different actors.

In this book (see “A Hermeneutic Approach to the Knowledge Economy” by Augusto Cusinato's), place means a space filled up by people, practices, objects, and symbolic representations. Here, the concept of place refers to human practices and interactions and the mutual shaping. A SP works as an innovative infrastructure when social and material factors are properly designed to generate convergence between actors. Such designs arise from a visionary management able to organise different viewpoints leading them to agreement. Then, the manager should know the available resources and be able to align actors according to a shared vision of innovation. At the managerial level, also the economic sustainability of material structure should be carefully evaluated (e.g., eco-save building) because it could influence the future infrastructural development. In order to further analyse the VEGA history, I give voice to the past Director of VEGA, Michele Vianello, presenting his striking Pandora project.

  • [1] Anas is the technical manager of the Italian road and highway network
  • [2] State Railways
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