European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research -
COST Action C11
" Green-structure and urban planning "
COST Action C11 - Presentation to the COST Urban Civil Engineering conference
Bled, Slovenia, September 2001.
Bernard Duhem, Ministère de l'Equipement, France, Chairman.
Cities morphologies in Europe have changed a lot since the second world war: their global densities have decreased, the outskirts have spread in all directions with low densities except for some places that have become parts of multi-polar forms, infrastructures for transportation- mainly roads- have taken a large place in the landscape. Globaly, planning has now to deal more with urban regions than with the only cities.
In parallel, the time, demand and means for leisure has grown a lot and taken various forms combining proximity and distance, specialization and multifunction. And we now know that green-structures can be involved in more roles than the leisure one: regarding climate, habitats for plants and animals, water management, and of course shaping of cities morphologies.
This COST action starts on this context bases. Its main objective is to reach a better understanding of the role played by planning, design and management in the interaction between green and build-up areas, improving the way green areas contribute to the quality of life of urban citizens, to the quality of habitats as a basis for biodiversity and to other aspects of sustainable development.
Fourteen countries have joined the Action until now: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden; The United Kingdom.
Six working groups members have already joined and some more experts are expected.
The topic of this Action has some links with some ongoing others: C 6 ( Pedestrians), C 9 ( urban quality), C10 ( outskirts), and E 12 ( urban forestry). Links should be easy through members of C11 management committee who also belong to these other Actions.
The COST proposal was prepared in an informal network which was set up in 1995 and met once a year to exchange research results about " urban densities and green structure", topic which appeared very important in a time were many countries were debating about problems and advantages of compact versus sprawled cities.
The action got an approval in February 2000 and a first meeting was held in Brussels in September 2000. During the second one in Sheffield (December 2000), the Management Committee decided to set up three working groups for a first period of two years- mainly dedicated to analyses (state of art and case studies)- dealing with ecological issues ( WG 1A), human issues ( WG 1B), and policy instruments ( WG 2). In a second phase we intend to focus on guidelines for planning design and management.
A third meeting was held in Marseille, May 2001, and was an opportunity for an open seminar with local researcher and practitioners.
The next meetings are prepare in Breda ( the Netherlands, November 2001) and later on probably München, Milano and Poland. Breda is expected to be the real starting point for work.
4) First comments.
The first two meetings gave the opportunity to start a description of various elements of green structures, and analyses of their uses and interactions with the urban tissues.
Sheffield has a very rich green structure. The green belt is protected since 1947, has supported a policy of "urban compaction" and played a important regional role ; part of it has been incorporated in the Peak National Park, one of the most important in England; districts of villas as Ranmoor/Broomhill, from the second part of the nineteenth century, have a lot of vegetation,this is under threat because of the process of densification which is not always as carefully controlled as it might be; old industrial valleys are now large green corridors( Rivelin Valley); and even the small gardens in districts of social housing many built as single houses (terraces and semi-detached) over the last 70 years are contributing to the greening of the city.
Sheffield has so rich a green structure than problems of maintenance have increasingly appeared and have led to the adoption of innovative practices. Maintenance of the Botanic Garden was almost abandoned during the 1980s and 1990s and inhabitants had to react strongly to have it protected; the Garden was classified under the " Heritage Park Conservation" measures and is now being restored with funds from the National Lottery, the City , local industry and local individuals. In the industrial district of Stocksbridge, many activities related to the greenstucture are being stimulated by the Stocksbridge Training and Enterprise Partnership, a charity association originally dedicated to social and educational problems but now involved in the whole range of community enhancement measures.
Marseille is a very different case.
First of all, due to the seashore position and to a rocky coast, the greenstructure is also a blue and white one, from a social point of view (leisure on the sea, on the hills, on the cliffs) as well as from a landscape one.
Second due to the general traditional Mediterranean character of the "grey city"' (the dense part from the first roman to the nineteenth century), which is there surrounded by a "green city" developed from the middle nineteenth to the middle twentieth, as nice combination of agriculture and residences. The northern part of this landscape heritage has much suffered in the last decades, due to major infrastructures and social housing in large blocks of buildings. The southern part, socially richer and less under the pressure of traffic flows from the north, has much more resisted development pressure. An important issue of the urban development today is to care for what is left of this heritage, but still to face the need of houses not too far from the city core. Marseille also shown the important role of roads, often negative but sometimes a positive one in framing and greening the city (avenue du Prado).
Two topics were raised there for the network's work: the evolution of uses between proximity( gardens) and distance( hills); and the green solutions for the large social districts, which most of the cities have not found yet.
- Management Committee
. AUSTRIA: Mr.Hermann KNOFLACHER, Mr.Klaus WAGNER,
. BELGIUM: Mr.Philippe HANOCQ, Ms.Ann VON HERZELE
. DENMARK: Ms.Karen ATTWELL, Mr.Ulrik REEH
. FINLAND: Mr.Matti ERONEN, Mr.Kimmo LAPINTIE
. FRANCE: Mr.Bernard DUHEM, Ms.Ann Caroll WERQUIN
. GERMANY: Ms.Bettina OPPERMAN, Mr.Stephan PAULEIT
. ITALY: Mr.Antonio ACUTO, Ms.Lucia MARTINCIGH
. LITHUANIA: Mr.Giedrius DANIULAITIS, Mr.Kestutis Zaleckis,
. THE NETHERLANDS: Mr.Peter SCHILDWACHT, Ms. Marleen VAN DEN TOP
. NORWAY: Ms.Unn ELLEFSEN, Mr.Karsten JORGENSEN
. POLAND: Ms.Ewa KALISZUK, Ms.Barbara SCZULZEWSKA
. SPAIN: Ms.Marta GARCIA NART, Mr Jorge MARTINEZ CHAPA
. SWEDEN: Ms.Kristina BJÖRNBERG, Mr.Björn MALBERT
. UNITED KINGDOM: Ms.Anne BEER, Ms.Caroline HARRISON
chairperson : Mr.Bernard Duhem, France
vice chairperson: Ms.Unn Ellefsen, Norway
chairman of WG 1A ( ecological issues): Stephan Pauleit, Germany
chairperson of WG 1B ( human issues): Kristina Björnberg, Sweden
chairperson of WG 2 ( Policies): Unn Ellefsen, Norway
- Working groups members:
. Mr.Jean-Marie HALLEUX ( Belgium)
. Mr.Oji MAIJALA ( Finland)
. Ms.Carmen AALBERS, Mr.Sybrand TJALLINGIi ( The Netherlands)
. Mr.Giovanni SCUDO ( Italy)
. Mr.Erik PLATHE ( Norway)
. Ms.Gunilla LINDHOLM ( Sweden)
. Ms.Anna JORGENSEN (UK)
. Institut for Public works planning and policies, Wiena, Austria
. City of Wiena, Austria
. University of Liege, Belgium
. Free University Brussels, Belgium
. Danish Building Research institute, Horstom,Denmark
. Danish Forest and Landscape Research Center, Horstom, Denmark
. City of Helsinki, Finland
. Helsinki University of Technology, Finland
. Ministry for Infrastructure, Transportation and Housing, Paris, France
. Thales consultant, Paris, France
. National School for Landscape Architecture, Marseille, France
. Komma.Plan consultant, Stuttgart, Germany
. University of Manchester, United Kingdom
. Politechnicum of Milan, Italy
. University of Rome, Italy
. Institute of Architecture and Construction, Kaunas, Lithuania
. City of Utrecht, The Netherlands
. Institut for Forestry and Nature Research, Wageningen, The Netherlands
. Ministry for the Environment, Oslo, Norway
. Institut for Building Sciences, Madrid, Spain
. Ministry for Public Works, Madrid, Spain
. Ministry for Developpement, Madrid, Spain
. Swedish Council For Building Research, Stockholm, Sweden
. Chalmers University, Goteborg, Sweden
. Map21 Ltd consultant, Sheffield, United Kingdom
. University College London
- chairman: Mr Bernard Duhem tel: (33).01.40.81.63.93
- website : www.map21ltd.com/COSTC11
updated 31 Oct 2001