NEWS: Congress for European Urbanism - Declaration of Bruges
- Those of you interested in New Urbanism or in planning in Europe might
find this interesting.
Department of Urban and Regional Planning
San José State University
One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192-0185
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Subject: NEWS: Congress for European Urbanism - Declaration of Bruges
From: John Massengale <john@...>
This is forwarded from the New Urban News, with permission. It submitted
the New Urban News by the Congress for the New Urbanism [Ed: CNU:
22 JUNE 2003
Council for European Urbanism (CEU) formed
Seventy-five urbanists met in Belgium in April to launch a new European
movement on urbanism.
Good news from Brussels and Bruges. The EuroCouncil
was a success. People came together to present projects
from the US and Europe, and then formed CEU, a sister organization
Leon Krier said, "The built wastelands of 20th century Europe
and the USA were not the result of anarchy and lawlessness
but the realization of an erroneous doctrine. The Council
for European Urbanism is a reaction against this fiasco by
planners and architects who build ecologically and aesthetically
sustainable human environments based on traditional
European models of cities and villages."
The five-day event was organized by Christian Lasserre
and Joanna Alimaniestianu, with help from Andrés Duany
and John Massengale, along with the Council Committee,
which organizes the semiannual discussion discussion meetings
called New Urban Councils.
American presenters were Victor Dover on charrettes,
Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk on public participation, Chuck Bohl
on the rebirth of main streets, Dan Camp on the Cotton District,
Galina Tahchieva of Duany Plater-Zyberk (DPZ) on several
of their projects, Paul Whalen on Celebration, and Peter
Swift on road standards. Massengale made the opening
speech and Duany animated the whole event. Andrés also
moderated the discussion about the creation of a new urbanists
movement in Europe.
On the European side, Paul Murrain of the Prince's Foundation
spoke convincingly regarding his concept of "living
tradition" versus pastiche and blind modernism. Another Brit,
Robert Adam, from the International Network for Traditional
Building Architecture and Urbanism, covered the topics of
regionalism and development projects in British villages. The
Berlin office of Kohl & Krier (Rob) presented a number of
projects. Other presenters included DPZ (on Tacheles, a Berlin
mixed-use project); a Belgian group, ARCAS (on traditional
seaside villages in the north of France and in Belgium);
and Gaetan Hannecart, a Belgian developer.
From Italy, we had the delightful Pier Carlo Bontempi, a
Charter Award winner, who spoke in analogies to traditional
cuisine. Gabriele Tagliaventi, another Italian, organized the
exhibitions "L'altra modernita" on classic architecture and urbanism
in Europe in the Twentieth Century. Other attendees
included representatives from the University of Viseo in Portugal,
Dutch architect Peter Verschuren, a group of architects
from Norway and Sweden, and another group from Berlin.
As usual at the Councils, there was not enough time to
discuss the presentations. Also, the group included architects
who promote traditional architecture, so the debates were
sometimes more about style than urban form or tools to implement
New Urbanism. Sometimes the discussions were too
far from the realities of planning.
Thankfully, the (East) Germans redirected the debate. During
a fight over style, they showed huge slab block housing
"neighborhoods," dead industrial sites, and polluted cities.
They said, "this is the real world. Let's focus on what's really
essential before arguing style."
After that, we all focused on an agenda for the future and
on identifying essential principles. The last day, we launched
CEU and agreed on a declaration (see below).
We will meet again in Stockholm in November to consider
a European version of the Charter of the New Urbanism. We
will also examine European projects and share information
about best practices. In the meantime, participants are forming
networks in each country and seeking solutions to challenges
dealing with codes, the rehabilitation of greyfields and
slab block housing, and other issues.
As you can see, something is moving over here!
The Declaration of Bruges
The Council for European Urbanism is dedicated to the well-being of the
people of Europe by the recreation of humane cities, towns and
European Cities, Towns and Countryside are under threat from:
o Waste of land and cultural resources.
o Social segregation and isolation.
o Monofunctional development
o Loss of local, regional and national cohesion, character and
12 Challenges for European Urbanism:
1. Poorly integrated housing: slab and tower blocks and low-density
2. Unintegrated public and commercial functions: business parks and out-
of- town shopping and entertainment centres.
3. Disposable buildings and short life-cycle developments.
4. Degradation of public places.
5. Public realm made from left-over space.
6. Car-dominated transport.
7. Indiscriminate road and street design.
8. Disconnected street networks.
9. Autocratic planning methods and over-regulation.
10. Destruction of villages through decay, abandonment or suburbanization.
11. Disruptive infill and dysfunctional zoning in urban areas.
12. Non-contextual guidelines and regulations in historic areas.
The Council for European Urbanism will take up the 12 Challenges, develop
program, organization and strategy, and set up national chapters. A full
Charter will be drawn up and presented in Stockholm in November 2003.
Adopted April, 2003
John Massengale, AIA