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NEWS: Congress for European Urbanism - Declaration of Bruges

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  • asha.weinstein@sjsu.edu
    Those of you interested in New Urbanism or in planning in Europe might find this interesting. Asha Weinstein Department of Urban and Regional Planning San
    Message 1 of 1 , May 29, 2003
      Those of you interested in New Urbanism or in planning in Europe might
      find this interesting.

      Asha Weinstein
      Department of Urban and Regional Planning
      San José State University
      One Washington Square
      San Jose, CA 95192-0185
      email: asha.weinstein@...
      phone: 408-924-5853
      ----- Forwarded by Asha Weinstein/SJSU on 05/29/2003 01:37 PM -----

      Wendy Plotkin <wplotk1@...>
      Sent by: H-NET Urban History Discussion List <H-URBAN@...>
      05/27/2003 08:45 AM
      Please respond to H-NET Urban History Discussion List

      To: H-URBAN@...
      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:
      http://www.cnu.org/ ]
      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
      to CNU.

      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
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