The Chair of Architecture and Urban Transformation wants to engage in rediscovering Europe as inhabitable ground, and a shared space for all, in a world that is constantly changing. The rediscovering of this territory, both as a shared history and a common future, is what we call NEWROPE. It comes with an exploration of the large diversity of urban practices that inhabit and shape Europe.
Europe is part of a world that is rebalancing, where the causes and effects of climate change and the exploitation of our ecosystems and cities are strongly related to issues of identity, equity and solidarity. Despite, or maybe because of its complex and contested nature, and long history of extraction, expansion and exclusion, Europe hosts an array of spatial conditions and democratic practices that can help formulate and answer urgent questions and offers a fertile test bed to fundamentally rethink urban transformations and social change.
Europe is a territorial condition of a long and layered urbanity, as an accumulation of decisions and actions. Europe is part of a world that is rebalancing, where issues of climate change strongly relate to issues of empowerment and feeling engaged. From a material point of view the European urban condition seems much more stable than in other parts of the world, although modernisation processes seem to work towards fragmentation rather than integration.
The same can be said when looking at the societal condition, where Europe is far from a universal condition. When looking more closely at specific parts of Europe, travelling from Switzerland to Albania or Belgium, the continent contains a striking diversity in degrees of development, with its consequent migration issues. A range of places where the meaning and the functioning of the democratic process is still strongly evolving.
Europe is an ongoing experiment, with the application of the liberal rule of law and the notion of what a democratic process should be under constant renewal. Experiments with deliberative democracy are being tested and developed, and the question of inclusion and integration an ongoing topic of discussion. Working in Europe offers the opportunity to investigate these situations, but also - thanks to the proximity - to engage in them and even become an actor in (re-)shaping them.