Rifo/it – Urban regeneration and land restitution


RIFO Urban Regeneration and Land Restitution is a project by the University of Bergamo with the collaboration of the Pesenti Foundation, pursuing a dual objective:





RIFO Urban Regeneration and Land Restitution is a project of the University of Bergamo with the collaboration of the Pesenti Foundation, pursuing a dual objective:

  • The first operative object aims at replacing obsolete buildings with new buildings that can meet contemporary housing needs;
  • The second cultural objective aims at triggering a change in the social perception of buildings: no more soil degradation and land destruction but a factor favoring soil and land regeneration.


The analytic perspective necessary to implement such a project, which –it must be reaffirmed clearly– before being a technical activity is a cultural action, essentially includes three program assumptions:

  • shifting the focus from “cities” seen as a territorial structure to “cities” seen as a place of ecological housing;
  • regenerating obsolete areas by creating recreational areas with the participation of the residents in the design process;
  • considering that housing needs are affected by ecological and environmental aspects resulting from the attention to natural resources and the environment.




The RIFO research aims at analyzing obsolete and disused areas and buildings, assessing the potential for urban regeneration and land redevelopment.




The project was conceived on a national scale and has so far completed the 1st phase dedicated to the Lombardy region, creating a database on localization, quantity and quality of disused areas and obsolete buildings.

This 1st stage also proposed a method (RIFO) based on:

  • Identification of the obsolete disused buildings of a neighborhood for short-range relocations;
  • Demolition of obsolete/disused buildings and creation of eco-sustainable buildings in their place, maintaining the volumetric size while reducing the surface to create more green areas;
  • Cooperation and governance actions for strategic territorial planning and reconstruction based on the concept of spatial capital.






The second phase aims at stimulating the territorial analysis in Lombardy, investigating the applicability of the RIFO method.





rifo/map is an interactive mapping quantifying, displaying and comparing the obsolete/disused buildings of each Lombard municipality. It is an open system that can be consulted by cross-questioning, quantifying disused and obsolete buildings, showing their use destination, comparing typologies, and offering a comparative view of the urbanized area.
rifo/3d is an interactive and three-dimensional mapping of the demolition and reconstruction opportunities for each disused and obsolete building of Lombardy.
Go to rifo-3d map


The RIFO project team, coordinated by Prof. Emanuela Casti




The study was conducted by DiathesisLab, a research and experimental cartography laboratory coordinated by Emanuela Casti at the University of Bergamo.

A group of 8 researchers (mostly geographers, but also urban and computer experts) and 3 students (from mid-2013 and for about 2 years) conducted the RIFO research, studying the disused and obsolete areas of Lombardy


The great building heritage, once regenerated, will respond to both the demand for social housing and land restitution.