We talk about this with … Gabriele Buia, President of ANCE

Requalifcation and regeneration of urban areas


Is regeneration the key to making our cities more livable and setting the construction industry back on a path of growth?

It’s more than the key: there’s literally no other way to limit the amount of new land we use and renovate countless run-down buildings that are in dire need of a radical upgrade in terms of energy efficiency, safety and quality. It’s a need everybody feels, but that so far has not translated into a broad-based action plan. With very few exceptions, all we’ve seen are patch-up efforts that are simply not good enough to qualify as major urban regeneration plans. Which is what ANCE, the Italian Association of Construction Companies, regards as the number one priority for turning around the economy and enhancing the quality of life of all Italians.

To start with, we need a frame law laying down the urban planning, taxation and regulations within which to operate and make urban regeneration a reality. ANCE is putting together a plan to achieve this, and will soon be handing it over to the Government.

What do construction companies need to do to be competitive and actually drive the process?

The global financial crisis triggered the birth of a new and very different building construction market, with investments slashed by half and construction companies being compelled to make dramatic cultural changes. The growth of the industry, and Italy as a whole, is now being spurred by the regeneration of existing buildings and environments, against a backdrop of general neglect and unrelenting insecurity. Through regeneration and renewal our cities will become safe; by renovating and revitalising run-down buildings and neighbourhoods they can be repurposed and offer new services. Buildings that were sub-standard to begin with or that have had adequate maintenance need to be made safe and welcoming for the people who live and work in them, or replaced by better quality and more efficient constructions.  The wanton waste of energy resources can and must stop, through compliance with the latest energy savings and generation regulations. If this is the market of the future, businesses and industries cannot be caught off guard: they need to specialise and ensure that they meet deadlines, budgets and quality standards. Top notch enterprises have to be recognised as such by the market, and be able to work in synergy with all the other industry players, from architects and designers to the trades and manufacturers of materials and technologies. Bonds of loyalty need to be forged with the demand side.

 

MADE expo has always valued innovation: what role can a trade fair play?

For years now MADe expo has been the go-to event for building industry professionals. Shows like MADE expo offer operators an unrivalled opportunity to come together and check out the latest developments, innovations and technologies, and it gives them the chance to adopt a much-needed "systems approach". The event can also take credit for focussing attention on the hot topics of the day, which at present importantly include urban regeneration and retrofitting buildings to make them earthquake safe. Major events such as MADE expo can be instrumental in raising awareness and encouraging a sharing of objectives, thereby helping to lay the groundwork for achieving the modernisation our cities and the country’s economic system as a whole need to be competitive.