In Europe, the period of great economic and demographic growth is largely over. The boundaries of most European villages and cities are therefore no longer moving away, but have come to a halt or are even moving back. That makes the spatial assignment of the future European city fundamentally different. What exists should be made sustainable. The new spatial assignment involves maintaining, restructuring, densifying or diluting the existing city.
In the publication The Flexible City – sustainable solutions for a Europe in Transition the authors Tom Bergevoet en Maarten van Tuijl widen their methodological analysis from their successful Dutch publication de Flexibele Stad (2013), to the European scale. They present a toolbox that is able to turn this new assignment into a success.
In this series of events called “the Flexible City”, analyses, methods, instruments and examples of this book will be discussed. Demographic transition is an important subtheme in the book and will be the theme of tonight’s discussion.
Coping with demographic decline will be one of the major challenges of the near European future. More and more European regions are confronted with the negative consequences of it: vacant properties, reduction of investments, decline in employment, etc. Therefore residents, entrepreneurs, policy makers and other stakeholders try to find ways to make these effects bearable, or even to make a profit out of them.
The book “the Flexible City” shows how some European regions made these effects acceptable or even stopped them. They discovered hidden qualities within their own domain, hidden assets that were initially overlooked, and found ways to exploit these hidden assets.
Tonight we will look at inspiring examples of “close reading” of local, hidden qualities throughout Europe. We will find out to what extent these qualities can be exploited, so that the whole region can benefit from them and to what extent these assets contribute to enhance the sustainability of Europe.