Over the timespan of just one generation, the planet’s pace of urbanisation has dramatically increased. New challenges have emerged which deeply question the validity of the post-war planning paradigms. What is the impact on the work of the urban designer, and how can the profession prepare itself for the future? A night with several leading practitioners, working in different European cities.
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For his book, Designing Change, Eric Firley, a professor at the University of Miami School of Architecture, interviewed twelve leading practicing urban designers from three continents. Firley wanted to know how their profession changed over the last decades and which they consider being the big challenges to come. During this event, we focus on two of those challenges: participation and density. Adriaan Geuze, Paola Viganò and Bruno Fortier will demonstrate cases and discuss those two topics.
Adriaan Geuze is a leading landscape architect and co-founder of the Rotterdam based West 8, responsible for designs all over the world, from Strijp-S in Eindhoven to Governors Island in New York. Geuze in Designing Change: ‘In our profession, social and political positioning is relevant: which users are to be included and excluded?’
Paola Viganò is a professor at the IAUV in Venice, one of the first architecture schools of Italy, head of the Laboratory of Urbanism at the Technical University of Lausanne, and she leads a Milan-based urban design and architecture office. Viganò in Designing Change: ‘If cities are considered not natural, it will hinder us to understand the profound relationships that the city has with the rest.’
Bruno Fortier has an uncommon background. Before he opened his own firm, he worked as a teacher and researcher in history at the university. His office is responsible for many masterplans all over France, such as Masséna-Chevaleret in Paris. Fortier in Designing Change: ‘There is a quest for density today. There is superposition, there are new functions, there is more complexity. That’s the Koolhaas legacy.’
Regula Lüscher is, since 2007, the head of the planning and building department of Berlin. Lüscher in Designing Change: “Regarding my own convictions, after twenty years of work in the public sector -first for nine years in Zürich and now here in Berlin- I have come to realize that an unrestricted market economy and forces of globalization, for exemple in the form of real-estate speculation, make it almost impossible to defend land against individual interests in favour of the common good and the needs of minorities.”