Open Wholeness in Urban Design: Architecture in the European City

By Beate Niemann and Priscilla Schädler.

Published by The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In times of a continuous transformation of urban structures in terms of growth and shrinkage, sprawl and the compact city, adaption and individuality, the only possibility for planners to cope with it while integrating steadily changing parameters, is a strategic design approach. Developing these strategies - orienting to cases that have proofed to be successful - leads to traditional European cities with still existent historic structures, such as Barcelona, Paris or Amsterdam that seem to be still appropriate to fulfill contemporary demands. Their ability to transform areas, based on a stable existent framework demonstrates their flexibility without giving up the wholeness character of the entire system. Therefore, these cities have two simultaneous features: openness for the new and unexpected and meanwhile stability of existent context. In respect of these features the question arises, whether the traditional European city can be a role model for all future sustainable cities in general and whether its features can be transferred to other cities or planned new towns. Can the European model guarantee resilient urban planning adapted to the 21st and the following centuries?

Keywords: Strategic Approach, Urban Transformation, Traditional Urban Planning, European City, Openness, Wholeness

The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp.75-79. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 350.072KB).

Prof. Dr. Beate Niemann

Chief Executive Director, Niemann and Steege, Ltd., Urban Development Institute, University Leipzig, Duesseldorf, Northrhine Westphalia, Germany

The basis of our work is an intense analysis of the existent local situation as the starting point of all further conceptions. On the one hand, there is our research interest in the question how especially open, spatially diffuse situations with “urbanity“ in the sense of an intense and functional linkage of the city‘s elements, uses and built structures can be generated by the means of architecture, urban and landscape planning. Furthermore our work is related to the practical experience of - more than ten years - consultance of urban developments and the consequent application of a large diversity of instruments from regional planning, strategic masterplans, land-use planning, spatial frameworks to urban design projects.

Priscilla Schädler

Düsseldorf, Germany

Ms. Schädler is an urban planner from Düsseldorf, Germany.