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EFAP and the Urban Intergroup cry alarm over the future of European cities

Press release                                                                             Brussels, February 9, 2011

The president of the French National Federation of urban planning agencies and the mayor of L'Aquila in Italy joined forces alongside leading European architects in the debate today in the European Parliament to signal that there is urgency for the future of the European city.
Invited by the Urban Intergroup and the European Forum for Architectural Policies, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Isabelle Durand regional policy director Rudolf Niessler shared the view of architects and philosophers: The European cities that are today admired around the world were all built by architects, artists and artisans with boldness and inspiration. But today, uncontrolled suburban expansion, dominated by the market, is all too often producing a banal, low-quality architecture that increasing frame life in the urban areas where 70 % of the Europeans live.
It is time to seize the full potential of this urbanity and bring in a new perspective, argues the philosopher Thierry Paquot. Because better solutions do exist: Vincent Feltesse, President of the Urban Community of Bordeaux, advocates the belief that prior to any planning, urban projects must be thought through by experts that will help to intelligently define the city and its contours. The quality of life of European city should not be subject to deceitful Greenwashing, but must rely on sensory qualities, said the architects Winy Maas and Jacques Ferrier.
⌠The sustainable city wont happen by accident. If we want to secure a new livable, urbanity both the architects and the EU must engage and take responsibility,ЃЎ argued EFAP President Rob Docter, who encouraged the European Union to assume its sole as regulatory body. The EU should seek to:

• Embrace the architectural and landscaping expertise and hold off market influence
• Start conceiving projects in terms of quality-of-life objectives rather than technical standards
• Stop limiting architectures role to isolated iconic buildings and begin favouring the everyday living environments.
A new European Urban Agenda is currently being prepared by policy makers. The conference strongly argued the need to start seeing creativity as an added European value.
President of the Urban Intergoup, MEP Jan Olbrycht, said: ⌠Europes thriving cities are the ticket to the EU's global competitiveness. We need a debate on the role of European cities and the problems they face. If we don't have clear ideas, urban sprawl, for example, will be very evident.

The vision of the medieval city must be reviewed in light of the visions proposed by the architects. They must be given an upstream role to renew the European urban projects upstream before it is too late.

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