Elective Course: Field Trip - Neapolitan Complexity: the Everyday Life of a UNESCO World Heritage Site

  Street in Naples Copyright: © Dr. Stefano Cozzolino

Summer Semester 2023

The city of Naples is distinguished by a remarkable abundance of historical and cultural elements, as well as a morphological and social complexity that is scarcely paralleled elsewhere. This intricacy is marked by a multitude of contradictions, including a vibrant social and cultural vitality juxtaposed with persistent social issues such as poverty, inadequate building maintenance, and suboptimal waste management practices. Furthermore, recent political critiques at the local level have jeopardised Naples’ UNESCO standing.

The proposed excursion is an integral component of the elective seminar titled “Unfolding City Complexity” under the guidance of Stefano Cozzolino. By leveraging the insights of Jane Jacobs, students will develop their analytical abilities to explore the interplay between the physical (tangible) and social (intangible) environments, and the ways in which they intersect. The seminar will explore the spontaneous order concept, that is, the emergence of social and spatial patterns (e.g. local culture, habits, social norms, etc.) that influence city dynamics and people behaviours/interactions. The peculiarities of these patterns is that 1) they are not the result of planning but emerge and stratify over time from a multiplicity of uncordinateed actions, and 2) are dynamic and open to changes. Given its multifaceted socio-spatial complexity, Naples provides a prime and fitting case study for achieving the seminar’s objectives.

The excursion will take place from May 20 until June 3, during the RWTH excursion week, and will focus on the Quartieri Spagnoli (Spanish Quarter).


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