How Architecture and Urbanism Can Strengthen Europe

In this dramatically changing world, the discussion on Europe’s role in the World has been sharpened. What can architecture and urbanism do in that respect? How can it strengthen Europe?

Good architecture and good cities obviously can lead to better living environments, with more value and attraction. However, it would seem that we witness a greater trivialisation instead of diversity and spatial quality in urbanized areas.

Europe has some remarkability. The strong points of Europe are overwhelming amount of various cultures, cities and landscapes, the enormous accessibility, the seemingly endless Heritage, the high quality of architecture and landscape architecture, the talented designers, the green awareness, the desire for fashion and innovation. How to strengthen that?

The social, demographic, ecological and economic challenges of our present-day society call for a new élan, new visions.

What kind of architectural and urbanistic projects can do that? How to support it? If so, what criteria do we need to develop? What organization can do that? And how to do in such a way that attracts the attention of all Europeans, if not outsiders?

The future European programmes on urban and territorial cohesion offer a unique opportunity to allow architectural knowledge to meet these challenges in an open-minded way. To experiment, untied by suffocating regulations. To design unexpected scenarios.

For the first time, the directors of architecture of the European member states will be invited to discuss how architectural policies can take a more active part in the development and the implementation of the European Union set out in the EU 2020 Strategy, especially on European Urban Agenda. Or even to elaborate on a European Urban Policy.

The adoption of the Council Conclusions on architecture and sustainable development in 2008 encouraged a greater attention for architectural and urban diversity and a more flexible city planning. The challenge is to create space for new unconventional approaches, to allow imagination, innovation, creation and non-dogmatic practice.

Opening address: Mr. Johannes Hahn, Commissioner of Regional Development. (tbc)

Invited speakers include
Prof. Winy Maas, architec, urban planner (MVRDV)

“How architecture and urbanism can strengthen Europe?

Mr. Jaap Wiedenhoff, ARUP (engineers, planners world firm): why do we need architecture?

EFAP: “Underconstructions”, a European bottom-up observatory on new urban and architectural practice in Europe

Ms. Frédérique Monjanel, VINCI : being developer and creative architecture

Points of view of experts:
Experts from: European Economic Social Committe (Mr. Joost Van Iersel, rapporteur on the Opinion on Metropolitan Areas and Cities Regions in Europe 2020), European Investment Bank (Mr. Gianni Carbonaro, JESSICA and investments funds), METREX (Ms. Sylvia Schreiber, tbc).

In discussion with:
Members of the Parliament.

European Commission: directors in charge of Regional development, of Culture and Education; Entreprise: meeting new challenges.

Member States: the Directors in charge of architectural policies, following up the adoption of the Council Conclusions on architecture and sustainable development in 2008 that encouraged a greater attention to architectural creation and urban diversity, towards next policies.

Closing remarks:
A representative of the Danish Ministry of Culture (tbc).

Ms. Mercedes Bresso, President of the COR: the European summit in Copenhagen, the role of the territorial collectivities in architectural and urban quality. (tbc)

Mr. Jan Olbrycht, MEP, President of the Urban Intergroup.

More information:
The conference language will be English.

*”Non-City”, was the tittle of the previous conference we co-organized, the documentation and presentations made by speakers are available on:

A working session with the directors of architecture of Member states will take place from 10h – 13h

Contacts: Isabel Mut, (, and Yvette Masson-Zanussi (Director of EFAP)

Contact European Parliament: Katarzyna Szczepanska, Mr Olbrycht office.


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