Europan 11

Eligible: students, professionals
Register: 10 June 2011 / Submit: 30 June 2011
Registration fee: 100 €

The Europan 11 competition is taking place in conditions marked by a strong commitment amongst European cities to very stringent environmental objectives. Following the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit in 2009, municipalities became aware of the importance of what they do alongside central government to limit greenhouse gas emissions, control energy consumption and manage (or preserve) rare and non renewable resources such as water, as well as to diminish pollution of different kinds. As a general rule, they are trying to achieve greater autonomy, in both food and energy, and want to develop societal innovations in order to encourage every Citizen to adopt an eco-responsible lifestyle. These geopolitical concerns need to be reflected in the design of urban spaces at the urban and architectural scale.

Good-quality planning with a focus on sustainability should generate an evolution in its environmental and human components that is consistent on all scales. It has become a strategic factor, since it can enhance the economic, social and cultural attractiveness of a region, city or locality, and also boost local identity.

For a municipality, the quest for sustainability entails the production of areas that bring quality of life to everybody, in other words the appropriation of public space and ease of access to amenities and services.
A sustainable approach also involves tackling the question of nature. Whether developed, wild or in the form of local agriculture, nature needs to be reconciled with the urban fabric in order to enhance the territories of the city and protect resources, biodiversity and the urban future.

A city or conurbation that is seeking to achieve a degree of sustainability must moderate its horizontal expansion in order to limit its consumption of unbuilt land and thereby prevent urban sprawl. Sometimes it may even need to recycle or reduce its built-up areas, and reorder its existing fabric. In any case, thinking about the future requires the development of a prospective approach to the identification of local specificities.
The sharing of created spaces and access to the different municipal services promotes social relations between citizens.
Whatever their scale, areas interact and it is essential to develop these connections and interdependencies
in systems that extend from the local to the global. These connections must also allow access to knowledge and the confrontation of ideas.

For this purpose, Europan 11 entrants will need to propose an environmental development strategy and projects that have the potential to evolve and take account of the specific identity of the different locations.
Project designs will also need to include a method of achieving development that is appropriate to the scale of the site, despite the unknowns that may arise with the passing of time.
To fulfil this goal, the architect will need to bring together multiple skills (planning, landscape, environmental, economic, etc.). Only a synergy between different approaches will meet the challenge.

Geographical and territorial locations have their own specific character, so the remit will need to be diverse to obtain solutions that reflect the particular requirements of the site.
This is because every site, whatever its size, interferes with the surrounding area and this interference will depend on its scale. It will have to contribute to ensure that every new local or wider operation constitutes an enhancement within a global context by adding significant value. Finally, the site forms part of a specific urban culture that differs from country to country, which will need to be identified to allow competitors to take it into account.

The diversity inherent to the conditions, not to say the specific problems of each participating European country, means that three different scales need to be distinguished, ranging from the wider surrounding area to the specific location:
1- Global strategic scale (the scale given to the competitors)
  - The metropolitan area (spatial conurbation consisting of autonomous and interlinked urban units) and the city
(urban space of activity and habitat with diversity and mixture)
2- Ideas scale (scale used by competitors to define the problems to be resolved)
  - The district and its relations with the neighbouring districts
3- Scale of the urban and architectural project (focus of the design process)
  - The urban fragment and plots

These scales correspond to spaces of different sizes, which will need to be defined precisely for each site and on the basis of the contexts provided.
Each Europan 11 site pack will therefore contain three types of information for entrants, corresponding to the three scales:
- The political objectives of the city or conurbation in terms of sustainability (economic, social and cultural) together with the big territorial determinants (networks, usages, density, etc.), whether current or future.
- The specificities of the area where the site is located and the outlines of future evolution.
- The actual project site where operations are likely to occur after the competition, with all the information needed to understand existing conditions and the hoped-for changes.

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