The third OIKONET international workshop will take place at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade, from 6th to 11th of June 2016. This workshop will be dedicated to examining strategies that embrace the multiple dimensions, scales and actors involved in the process of creating liveable cities. These strategies will integrate architectural, urban design and urban planning issues to create a multifaceted framework to develop liveable cities.
The area of study is a Kosančićev Venac, a historical part of the city of Belgrade. It is a heterogeneous, mixed-use area connecting the Sava riverfront with the main pedestrian zone, next to the Kalemegdan fortress. Despite its excellent position and evident potential for revitalization, this area has been deteriorating for decades, losing part of its inhabitants and failing to attract new ones. Its predominant use is residential, although there are many institutions of education and culture nearby.
The workshop will provide a learning environment in which students and faculty members from schools of architecture from different countries in Europe will discuss a variety of approaches to create liveable cities. The learning activities will include lectures, field studies, and practical work in the design studio carried out during the five-day workshop. Before the workshop, during April and May, there will be preparatory activities carried out distantly by the participating students assisted by tutors at their institution as well as from other partner schools of the OIKONET network.
Liveable cities provide physical, social, economic and political infrastructures that ensure their inhabitants evenly distributed wealth, affordable quality housing, healthcare, cultural infrastructures, quality education, environmental resilience and easy accessibility within the city and with other cities in the world. All of these goods and services should be evenly provided among the city population, avoiding disparities between classes and between urban areas. Providing a liveable environment helps to attract talent and investment which, in turn, secures economic growth. Being on the top list of the most liveable cities in the world is tantamount to prosperity and progress. Creating liveable cities is a collective task which involves all of the city’s stakeholders.
In the process of revitalizing cities, keeping a balance between the existing structures and the new developments is of major importance. The city provides the spatial milieu which accommodates and at the same time shapes everyday life. New ways of living coexist with traditional ones. The city is a multi-layered structure which carries the collective memory of the people. At the same time, it is an organism which needs new inputs to keep alive. Renewal, regeneration, reconstruction, restoration and redevelopment convey different balances between maintaining current spaces or creating new ones, between preserving or transforming the character of a place and, and between reusing existing structures constructing new ones.
Making our cities liveable involves adopting plans to revitalize existing urban areas. To this endeavour, improving existing built structures – buildings as well as public infrastructures – is not enough. It is also necessary to adopt strategies that intertwine environmental, social, psychological issues in the dynamics of renovation. Environmental issues include climate change over micro-climate, to urban green spaces and wild life. Social aspects span from economy and culture, over issues of gentrification and segregation, to quality of life such as access to sports and leisure, schools and day care and elderly care. And psychological aspects range from a feeling of belonging, to the sense of orientation and the perception of safety. An interdisciplinary, inclusive and participative approach is necessary to develop strategies to achieve liveable cities that take into consideration physical, social and psychological realms.