Future Cities: Demographic Change and Local Differentiation
The impact of architecture as physical artifact on the urban development.
Two trends dominate future urban processes in Europe these days: the shrinking of numerous cities as well as their demand for a sustainable urban transformation. The urgency of these topics is of great importance to the field of urban and architectural design.
In order to investigate the potential of architectural interventions as catalysts for future urban transformations, the Future Cities Erasmus Intensive Programme was set up by the TU Berlin, TU Graz, University of Ljubljana, IUAV di Venezia.
The four European universities are co-operating in bringing together academics, scholars, students and the public to participate in joint research that focuses on the specific needs of shrinking cities in Central Europe.
Organized in the form of annual intensive workshops, so called „Working Weeks“, the programme aims to enhance the exchange between 1. students and academics, to learn more about the diverse approaches in different countries and professions, and 2. academics and local players, to test their project findings in practice.
The students work in mixed interdisciplinary teams while collaborating with local players and discussing their findings with local communities. The Future Cities programme will run for two to three consecutive years. The first „Working Weeks“ take place at the University IUAV di Venezia in May 2013.
Under investigation were the Italian cities of Trieste and Venice. These fields of research are perfect examples for the many medium-sized European cities facing the problem of stagnation and decline. Trieste has a need for new ideas concerning its abandoned freeport while Venice struggles with an ever growing tourist population that is driving locals out of the city. Focusing on Trieste, students will investigate the impact and influence of architectural interventions in the area of the former freeport. Within the city of Venice the Giardini area will be the second test site. Using the method of ‘research by design’ the teams develop and test possible strategies and are asked to come up with a series of project proposals and urban speculations.
The program encloses lectures, field work involving the analysis of the urban fabric, student presentations in cooperation with local players, working excursions and visits. Concluding a public presentation is envisioned, plus a publication which summarizes the student projects and the “working weeks” programme in general.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.