In the conditions of the Anthropocene –a new bio-geological period where human activities on the global scale have a destructive impact on life on earth– how to face climate change and inequalities? How to imagine other possibilities to inhabit the planet Earth?
The Europan 16 topic focuses on living cities as a new paradigm, in which new kinds of synergies can be considered between the environmental, biological, social, economic, cultural and political dimensions.
This paradigm leads us to think in terms of co-evolution and interactions, and to work with regenerative project dynamics, combining metabolic and inclusive vitalities.
Metabolic vitalities should help go over the opposition between city and nature, allowing the Europan projects –mixing architecture, urban design and landscape architecture– to identify and to negotiate with an ensemble of transformations. These transformations take natural elements into account like water, material flows, energy… which are all part of the life cycles. These new relations generate inhabited milieus.
These milieus are considered as complex ecosystems creating flows (with entries and exits) and in constant evolution. Developing such cyclic processes (natural cycles, circular economy cycle) leads the design process to minimize the environmental footprint and the consumption of non-renewable energy, and to promote new forms of dwelling.
Metabolic vitalities encourage design processes on different scales. The recycling competence, the enhancement of organic or energy material, the adaptation to climate change, the integration of nature and biodiversity are as many metabolic vitalities that Europan 16 sites should trigger to allow their own transformation into ecosystems between nature and culture.
To be rewarded, the projects should translate this metabolic dynamic in their proposals.
Urban environments are facing increasing inequalities and conflicts produced by invisibility, exclusion, marginalization, and inaccessibility to housing, to work, to education and to public services. To fight against these social fractures, inhabited milieus should become places where new inclusive policies and practices are supported.
Inclusive vitalities put on the foreground modes of doing that can support territorial justice articulating social and ecological concerns. Issues of accessibility to public infrastructures and to housing should get a predominant role, promoting conviviality. Taking care of living environments could promote inclusion by transforming marginalised spaces into places of exchange, co-learning and biodiversity. This could allow new inclusive narratives of inhabited environments across scales and generations, promoting new forms participatory democracy.
When choosing the sites, when defining the programmatic frames that come with their evolution, and when judging the participants’ proposals, Europan 16 will emphasise on the consideration of the inclusive dimension of the inhabited milieus.
If we want to face these social and environmental emergencies, we have to address new creative and responsible project dynamics, which should be able to reconnect with the cycles and rhythms of the living nature, associating metabolic and inclusive vitalities.
The Europan 16 sites will consider these two dimensions in their transformation goals. How can the project spatialize and, at the same time, spare resources, common goods, recycling processes, hybridisations, sharing and the different temporalities?
This is the question raised for Europan 16.