Design Processes for the Redevelopment of Toxic Landscapes in Napoli Est. The Role of Soil in Contemporary Spatial Transformations

Main Article Content

Marianna Ascolese
Marica Castigliano


Urban transformations are critical to understand and orient design trend and governance processes. In the framework of Urban Metabolism and Circular Economy, the paper focuses on the cyclical use of resources in the processes of urban renewal that are carried out in contaminated lands. Through the explanatory case study of the ex Manifattura Tabacchi – a former industrial site located in the polluted eastern area of Napoli, in South Italy – the research underlines that local policies still strive to operationalize the dialectic between urban design and ecological restoration, raising numerous challenges in both governance and design dimensions.
The paper addresses the unfruitful gap between design and remediation as a new frontier that architects and urban designers must overtake to govern the transition towards an effective ecological turn in design disciplines. The objective of this study is to provide fruitful insights in revealing the soil as a socio-technical resource whose value has to be culturally acknowledged in order to rise stakeholders’ awareness, and thus being instrumental in decision-making. In the conclusion, research trajectories are provided to implement the debate


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
AscoleseM., & CastiglianoM. (2022). Design Processes for the Redevelopment of Toxic Landscapes in Napoli Est. The Role of Soil in Contemporary Spatial Transformations. UPLanD - Journal of Urban Planning, Landscape & Environmental Design, 6(2), 29-40.


Alberti, M. (2008). Advances in Urban Ecology: Integrating Humans and Ecological Processes in Urban Ecosystems.

Baccini, P. (2014). Understanding and Designing the Metabolism of Urban Systems. In D. Ibañez & N. Katsikis (Series Eds.), New Geographies 06: Grounding Metabolism. Cambridge: Harvard Graduate School of Design, Harvard University Press.

Beatley, T., & Manning, K. (1997). The Ecology of Place: Planning for Environment, Economy, and Community (Illustrated edition). Washington, DC: Island Press.

Berger, A. (2006). Drosscape: Wasting Land in Urban America (1st edition). New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

Bianchetti, C., Cogato Lanza, E., Kercuku, A., Sampieri, A., & Voghera, A. (2015). Territories in Crisis: Architecture and Urbanism Facing Changes in Europe. Berlin: Jovis.

Blumlein, P., Kircholtes, H. J., Schweiker, M., Wolf, G., Schug, B., Wieshofer, I., … Jaensch, S. (2012). Soil in the City. Urban Soil Management Strategy. Stuttgart: City of Stuttgart – Department for Environmental Protection, Germany.

Breure, A., De Deyn, G., Dominati, E., Eglin, T., Hedlund, K., Van Orshoven, J., & Posthuma, L. (2012). Ecosystem services: A useful concept for soil policy making! Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 4(5), 578–585.

Breure, A. M., Lijzen, J. P. A., & Maring, L. (2018). Soil and land management in a circular economy. Science of The Total Environment, 624, 1125–1130.

Collins, J. P., Kinzig, A., Grimm, N. B., Fagan, W. F., Hope, D., Wu, J., & Borer, E. T. (2000). A New Urban Ecology: Modeling human communities as integral parts of ecosystems poses special problems for the development and testing of ecological theory. American Scientist, 88(5), 416–425.

de Sola-Morales, I. (1996). Terrain Vague. Quaderns, (212), 36–38.

European Commission. (2006). Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection.

European Commission. (2011). Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe.

European Commission. (2015). Closing the Loop—An EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy.

European Commission. (2019). The European Green Deal.

Ferrão, P., & Fernández, J. E. (2013). Sustainable Urban Metabolism. The MIT Press.

Golubiewski, N. (2012). Is There a Metabolism of an Urban Ecosystem? An Ecological Critique. AMBIO, 41(7), 751–764.

Heynen, N., Kaika, M., & Swyngedouw, E. (Eds.). (2006). In the Nature of Cities: Urban Political Ecology and the Politics of Urban Metabolism (1st edition). London; New York: Routledge.

Ingold, T. Siamo linee. Per un’ecologia delle relazioni sociali, Treccani, Roma 202

Keesstra, S. D., Bouma, J., Wallinga, J., Tittonell, P., Smith, P., Cerdà, A., … Fresco, L. O. (2016). The significance of soils and soil science towards realization of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. SOIL, 2(2), 111–128.

Kennedy, C., Pincetl, S., & Bunje, P. (2011). The study of urban metabolism and its applications to urban planning and design. Environmental Pollution, 159(8), 1965–1973.

Kennedy, Christopher, Cuddihy, J., & Engel-Yan, J. (2007). The Changing Metabolism of Cities. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 11(2),

Lucci, R., & Russo, M. (Eds.). (2012). Napoli verso oriente. Napoli: Clean.

MA. (2005) ‘Ecosystems and Human Well-Being’. Millenium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis

McBratney, A., Field, D. J., & Koch, A. (2014). The dimensions of soil security. Geoderma, 213, 203–213.

Minami, K. (2009). Soil and humanity: Culture, civilization, livelihood and health. Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, 55(5), 603–615.

Newman, P. W. G. (1999). Sustainability and cities: Extending the metabolism model. Landscape and Urban Planning, 44(4), 219–226.

Norrman, J., Volchko, Y., Hooimeijer, F., Maring, L., Kain, J.-H., Bardos, P., … Rosén, L. (2016). Integration of the subsurface and the surface sectors for a more holistic approach for sustainable redevelopment of urban brownfields. Science of The Total Environment, 563–564, 879–889.

Petruzzelli, G., Pedron, F., Grifoni, M., Barbafieri, M., Rosellini, I., & Pezzarossa, B. (2016). Soil Remediation Technologies towards Green Remediation Strategies. International Journal of Geological and Environmental Engineering, 10(6), 654–658.

Potting, J., Hekkert, M., Worrell, E., & Hanemaaijer, A. (2017). Circular Economy: Measuring innovation in product chains. PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. Retrieved from

Reed, C., & Lister, N.-M. (Eds.). (2014). Projective Ecologies (Har/Chrt edition). ACTAR, Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Römbke, J., Breure, A. M., Mulder, C., & Rutgers, M. (2005). Legislation and ecological quality assessment of soil: Implementation of ecological indication systems in Europe. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 62(2), 201–210.

Secchi, B. (2011). La nuova questione urbana: Ambiente, mobilità e disuguaglianze sociali. Crios, (1), 83–92.

Steiner, F. R. (2008). The Living Landscape: An Ecological Approach to Landscape Planning (II edition). Island Press.

SuRF Italy. (2014). Sostenibilità nelle Bonifiche in Italia. Retrieved from

Swyngedouw, E. (2006). Metabolic urbanization. The making of cyborg cities. In N. Heynen, M. Kaika, & E. Swyngedouw, In the Nature of Cities: Urban Political Ecology and the Politics of Urban Metabolism. London; New York: Routledge.

UNEP. (2006). Circular Economy: An alternative for economic development. Paris, UNEP DTIE. Retrieved

Williams, J. (2019). Circular cities. Urban Studies, 56(13), 2746–2762.

Williams, J. (2021). Circular Cities: A Revolution in Urban Sustainability. Routledge.

Wolman, A. (1965). The metabolism of cities. Scientific American, 3(213), 179–190.