in co-operation with RWTH Aachen, Institute for Urban Design
on the occasion of 150 YEARS of RWTH AACHEN UNIVERSITY
SHAPING URBAN CHANGE
LIVABLE CITY REGIONS FOR THE 21st CENTURY
REAL CORP 2020
25th International Conference on Urban Planning
and Regional Development in the Information Society
1st Aachen Urban Planning Conference
15-18 April 2020
RWTH Aachen, Germany
Currently different trends can be seen in urban development around the globe, but there are some common things:
- historic administrative boundaries do not represent real urban structures any more, cities expand beyond these boundaries and form metropolitan regions, which may even result in transnational functional urban areas and agglomerations;
- in almost all cases it is of utmost importance to coordinate urban development between several governments, administrative authorities and institutions on different levels, but this task turns out to be a quite difficult one;
- cities and regions are hungry for resources and see themselves opposed to density and environmental problems as well as other threats, nevertheless sustainability, resilience, high quality of life and considerate exploitation of natural resources are central goals of urban development;
- new technologies and digitisation play an essential role in the development of cities, urban regions and metropolises – without appropriate urban, environmental and mobility technologies it would hardly be possible to see urban development, maintenance of functionality and creation of livable urban areas.
While cities in Asia, particularly in China and India, but also in Japan and South-East Asia, and in parts of South America, Africa and the Gulf region currently grow and will further grow in a fast and unstoppable way for some time, and while further megacities, urban agglomerations and metropolises far beyond 10 million inhabitants arise, also many European, North American and Australian cities are growing – but far more slowly than in the regions mentioned above; nevertheless even here a strong dynamic urban development towards city regions can be observed.
In many of the urban areas and metropolises of the world it is the core task to build and maintain the absolute minimum of infrastructure for survival of their inhabitants – drinking water supply and wastewater disposal as basic elements –, other parts of the world face the problem to design processes of change in a way to keep and even improve the existing high quality of life.
In some parts of the world cities and metropolises are growing undamped and hundreds of millions of people are attracted to cities. However, in numerous European cities and agglomerations we can currently see two kinds of processes which may appear to be contradictory at first glance: reurbanisation and regionalisation. City centres and centrally located urban quarters become more attractive, especially for people who (re-)discover the benefits of urban life. This return to core cities as a place of life has a lot of reasons, but it is strongly linked to changes in the working environment and the trend to combine working and living much more as it were possible in suburban fringe areas. In this regard, well equipped and multi-functional urban quarters do have their advantages. At the same time we have a regionalisation of urban issues, mostly because cities get more and more under pressure.
Many city centres are lacking affordable housing space, whereas there are plenty of vacancies in the surroundings. Wrong allocations create unnecessary commuter flows. Regarding this background, we need intercommunal cooperations to find the necessary balance between different development dynamics. Current extensive discussions on “Low Carbon Cities” or “Smart Cities”, that is the question for future development of cities under the conditions of climate change, energy saving technologies and the scarcity of fossile resources, turn up concrete questions of future urban development and design, which can only partially be answered today.
Even if cities and villages are changing in such a way, they keep being places of (collective) memory and recognition; places where bonds are established. Identity and homeland – terms that are supposed to designate such qualities of a city – are, however, not based solely on the familiarity of a living environment whose essential characteristics have hardly changed over a long period of time, but can be traced back to the specific atmospheric qualities of a city, a neighbourhood or a region. Therefore, not only the architectural heritage with its historical buildings, streets, open spaces and districts is decisive for the identity of a city, but also the ability to create new, convincing and in the best case unmistakable atmospheres within the framework of new urban development. This is particularly true for cities that hardly have any historical districts – or for large urban landscapes, for which such small-scale districts are hardly the sole image bearers.
REAL CORP 2020 aims to discuss strategies and concepts for quality change management in the light of the challenges outlined above, which arise in neighbourhoods, cities, urban regions and metropolitan areas. This also raises the question of who the actual actors of current urban, regional and metropolitan regional development are and what role planners can play in the corresponding scenarios.
Present your work and research activities at REAL CORP 2020! You are invited to submit your proposals for papers and presentations online through MY.CORP especially on the following topics:
Please submit your abstract by 6 December 2019 23:59 CET. For submission you are intended to use MY.CORP only.
Further important deadlines on the way to having your paper published