Title: Urban Design Governance: Nuances and Vicissitudes in the European South
Assoc. Prof. Charis Christodoulou
Department of Urban and Regional Planning, School of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Research Unit for South European Cities, School of Architecture, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.
Contemporary South European landscapes change increasingly by objectives and means of focused development projects of the genre of urban design. Discontinuous leap-frog development has become a key process and outcome of territorial/urban transformation and a dynamic tool of the neo-liberal reform in planning. Diverse project typologies - often described as development ‘islands’ (e.g. urban waterfront developments, special urban facilities, coastal/mountain resorts, smart hubs, seniors’ housing, fun parks and other) tint landscapes within and beyond cities and settlements. Heritage and ecological preservation as well as climate change alert are issues often washed away or pretentiously considered.
The culture of urban design seems to be the key to map and conceptualize current spatial development that produces diverse projects as urban fragments or (non-) contextualized interventions in cities, urban areas and urbanized regions. The session focuses on governance processes, i.e. agents/actors involved as well as official and informal tools of localized (urban design) project development. The topic encompasses the shifting role of the public sector (via new quasi-public entities, new legislation and consultation processes etc.), the private sector responses (investment interest, involved industries etc.), as well as the engagement of local communities and other bottom-up initiatives (neighborhood movements, conflictual groups etc.).
The session seeks to unfold nuances and vicissitudes of urban design governance in South European cities, urbanized and urbanizing areas, inscribed in or exceptional to ordinary planning processes. Thus, it invites theorizing contributions as well as critical case reviews of projects and practices.