Urbino is a small town in central Italy, population 7,800, the seat of a university, and also the center of a rural administrative district with a population of 17,500. Its eventful and long history has over the past two decades come to include an especially remarkable modern feature: the town government has undertaken a program of self-rehabilitation, a program supported moreover not only by the administration and the dominant regional interests but also by the population at large. This is a case in which social decay seems to have become a true focus of concern, uniting every sort of person affected by what had become a steady decline in the general quality of life. This book is a translation of Giancarlo De Carlo's detailed study of Urbino's problems and its Master Plan for its own evolution.
Although Urbino's case is an unusual one—its historic heritage, which is visible in the architecture and general layout of the city, dates from ancient times and is a wellspring of civic pride among the people—the story of the town's economic and cultural decline is so familiar that it could be transposed to any one of a thousand western locations: emigration, declining suitability for agriculture, insufficient attractions in the city itself for either industry or new population, and attendant circumstances. Urbino's Master Plan is an attempt to realize the possibilities for growth that do exist, working from the most comprehensive possible assessment of the needs of all the people living in the region. Professor De Carlo's study is exhaustive in detail, describing Urbino's problems and planned efforts from every realistic viewpoint. For this reason it is a valuable source book in urban development geared to small towns seeking to preserve their heritage and character. Among the appendixes are an analytical survey of town planning and an extract from Master Plan regulations showing the types of building and development that are to be permitted in various locations. Numerous photographs and line drawings illustrate the text.