La semiotica della Cité du fer: sedimentazione di segni e costruzione di spazi
In: U+D urbanform and design: 14, 2020
The city represents the place of the complexity: a constantly changing entity and heterogeneous reality where accumulations, fragments, heterotopia, layers refute a vision limited to the visible image of its buildings and reflect a perspective linked to its construction over time and a plurality of substrates – social, economic and political.
In this perspective, the contribution investigates the case of the city of Seraing, a fundamental center of steel production in Belgium, where the decline of mines, first, and steel, then, has had a great impact on the population and the physiognomy of the city. Past and present do not stop reconfiguring themselves in the traces and signs of the city: they highlight the industrial identity of Seraing and outline the phenomena that have defined the construction of the spaces as they are shown today. The study of transformations is articulated in a redrawing and comparison of the main historical maps with the contemporary orthophotos – Carte de Ferraris, Carte du dépôt de la guerre, Orthophotos WalOnMap – in order to trace both the consistency of the urban fabrics and the character of the permanences: in fact, the observation of these elements shows how the physiognomy of the city is inextricably linked to the growth of industry, while the three specificities – the river, the forest and the railway – remain almost unchanged over time and are recognizable ab origine.
Therefore, the reading of the natural and artificial changes of the territory generates an interconnected system of signs aimed to describe, regulate and reflect on the dynamics in progress, as well as on the criticality of the place. A procedure of simultaneous decomposition and recomposition allows the comprehension of the characters of the place and considers the levels of the city not as diachronic superimpositions, but as synchronic twines.
Keywords: dismantling, industrial city, signs, urban structure.