BIENNIALS OF EUROPEAN TOWNS AND TOWN PLANNERS. 1995-2017
The goal of the Biennial of "Town and town planners", promoted by the European Council of Town Planners (ECTP-CEU), is bringing together urban planners, designers, sociologists, historians (of architecture), politicians and other professionals to discuss the issues and share information and lessons learned.
We need to know how urban planners and designers throughout Europe deal with changes in the cultural and technological environments.
The Biennial aims to launch a European debate on how urban designers and planners can help create sustainable cities.
The goal of biennials is also to assemble urban planners, engineers, architects, economists, sociologists, elected people, citizens, private and non governmental organizations (NGO) with the objective to share questions, experiences and alternative answers.
From 1995 in which the first Biennial was organized until the last edition organized in 2007 in Paris, Biennials have focused on the different problems and challenges European cities and territories have faced over the last 22 years.
The Bienials intend to put some light on these questions and understand better the European cities changes and new urban paradgims.
The History of Biennials
I Lyon, France: 4 to 6 December 1995
Planification urbaine et development durable/ Town planning and sustainable developement.
An initiative of the French urban planning agencies with the support of the European Council of Spatial Planners. The central theme of the meeting revolved around urban planning and sustainable development, focused on the need to promote energy saving and the preservation of ecosystems and to replenish cities based on these coordinates.
II Roma, Italy: 8 to 13 September 1997
Organized by the National Institute of Urbanism.
To create the initiative, a permanent international group was created. It was organized around eight discussion boards.
• The city's strategies in the face of global competition.
• Settlement systems between concentration and dispersion: processes, problems and policies.
• Networks of medium and small cities: between cooperation and competition.
• Policies for the preservation of the historical indentity of cities and territories.
• The profession of cabinetmaker: training, practice, instruments.
• Policies for the sustainable city.
• Policies to govern the effects of global competition on urban society; "intelligent" Europe.
• Magazines of planning and dissemination of the discipline.
• Government of cities and urban policies in the European Union.
III Herne (Germany): 14 to 17 September 1999
Sustainable Development - A Challenge for Europe’s Urban Regions
Under the sponsorship of the German Association for the Planning of Cities, Regions and Territory.
It took the title Sustainable development, a challenge for European urban areas, which led to thematic issues surrounding urban areas, especially those that had experienced major industrial transformations, given that the city hosted the meeting is a municipality located in the Ruhr basin.
Further information: http://alt.srl.de/3rd/
IV. Rotterdam, Netherlands: 20 to 22 of September 2001
Culture of Cities - Transformations generating new opportunities
The 4th Biennial of Towns and Town Planners in Europe hwas held at the conference centre De Doelen in Rotterdam.
It was made under the theme Culture of cities: transformations that generate new opportunities, focusing on four issues of debate:
• Global forces. The interaction between global forces and local cultures.
• Cultural inheritance. The conservation and development of the cultural and historical legacy.
• Cultural identities. The management of diversity of identities in large European cities.
• Life on the street. New challenges in the design of the public sphere.
V. Barcelona, Spain: 10 to 12 April 2003
Connecting the City - Connecting Citizens
This biennial will explored the spatial impacts of transportation and other networks supplying resources such as information, materials or energy and the challenges they create for spatial planning.
The following themes were explored and further developed within the different workshops held during the event:
1. European level: connecting cities in a polycentric Europe
2. Regional level: connecting the cities in the Region
3. City level: connecting social groups and districts
4. Street level: connecting citizens.
Further information: http://www.planum.net/biennal-barcelona-2003. Catalogue:
VI. Copenhagen, Denmark: 9 to 11 June 2005
City Living - Living City
This Biennial was mainly focused on exhibitions, conferences, workshops, presentations and work visits.
There was the opportunity to meet mutually urban planners and political decision makers to discuss the central issues of current planning.
With the generic title of Living City, living in the city, four framework papers were determined:
• Scenarios for the city and the territory.
• The threat of unstructured cities and changes in the connection to the city.
• Cities and town planning in the city.
• Connecting fragmented cities.
VII. Budapest, Hungary: 21 to 23 June 2007
For the first time, a biennial was celebrated in the capital of the ancient Iron Curtain, organized by the Hungarian National Federation of Agencies of Urban Planning. The motto selected for this Biennial was Building Sites.
The Conference addressed the design of the urban environment in an interdisciplinary way: it covered a wide range of topics, such as sustainable practices, future visions, latest concepts, generic competences, community concerns, effective control, and the role of culture and innovation, focusing on the challenges faced by urban planners in the process of creating livable places.
The two-and-a-half day program was full of the best practices: plenary sessions, followed by simultaneous mobile workshops, visits, as well as an exhibition of plans and projects from the world. The following seven topics were addressed:
• Interactions of innovation and urban development.
• The creative city: cultural economy as a generator of urban and regional development.
• The role of urban design in the creation of the leisure environment.
• The impact of major events.
• The revival of recreation: sustainable urban communities.
• The quality of urban spaces through development control.
• Generic competences for adequate urban development.
Further information http://www.mut.hu
VIII. Nancy, France: 2 to 4 December 2009
The spirit of cities
France hosted again a biennial fourteen years later.
What is the place of our cities in the world economy and how do they confront globalization?
What are the reactions to the economic, climatic, demographic and social challenges of today, and what are the concrete answers?
To which strategies, government instruments and economic interventions do they resort? These were some of the questions examined and debated during the course of the event, which focused on the role of urbanism in relation to the fight against climate change, bearing in mind that 75% of the global consumption of Energy, waste generation and greenhouse gas emissions are related to urban environments, and that 50% of the world population lives in cities and forecasts indicate that the proportion will be two thirds of humanity living in Cities in the middle of the 21st century.
IX. Genoa, Italy: from 14 to 17 September 2011
-Smart planning for Europe's gateway cities. Connecting peoples, economies and places.
The ninth edition returned to Italy after Rome in 1997. The most important changes in Europe and the world called attention to how cities can support the competitiveness of the European continent. Town planners reflected on how different disciplines can contribute to the competitiveness and cohesion of the European continent:
• From the harbor cities, the historic gateways between Europe and the world in the current cities that play the role of the gateway.
• Considering the impacts of maritime dimension on internal development.
• How to apply the strategic approach to urban development.
• Evaluate the urban impact of economic change.
• Analyze how the development of the infrastructure is related to cities and territories.
• Reflection raises the question how European policies act for the development and cohesion of the territory of planning: how impacts technological and cultural innovation in urban development.
Further information: http://www.biennaleurbanistica.eu/en
X. Cascais, Portugal: from 19 to 21 September 2013
New Paradigms, Challenges and Opportunities for European Cities - The contribution of Spatial Planning to overcome the crisis.
This Biennal featured the future of the cities and the contribution of the spatial planning in new challenges in the frame of economic crisis in Europe.
Energy, mobility and urban regeneration were the main themes under the open title of New Paradigms, Challenges and Opportunities for European Cities.
The Biennial answering about the future generations: Children born today may live until 2090.
We are preparing our cities for them. How should we do that?
And how should we combine the new paradigms, the new basis of city life with the struggle to overcome of the current crisis.
The ECTP-CEU Young Planners workshop prensented at the Biennial its works on City without Public Economic Funds; and organised a Workshop on Urban Regeneration.
XI. Dublin, Ireland: from 15 to 16 October 2015
Technology in Planning Practice. Making Cities Work
The eleventh Biennial took place in Dublin for the first time and its main objectives were:
1. Identify and demonstrate technology applications in planning practice
2. Familiarize planners with the use of technology applications
3. Enhance professional practice skills in urban planning
4. Develop professional leadership and practice management skills in urban planning
5. Present a “job-market” opportunity to planners and potential employers.
Its major themes were ICT – Applications to Town/Regional Planning; City Leadership and Governance ; Urban Mobility ; Mapping and Information Systems ; Sustainable Infrastructure (Energy & Water).
XII. París, France: 29 June 2017
Cities, Olympic and Paralympic Games and other Mega Events
For the third time France hosted the Biennial. The title Cities, Olympic and Paralympic Games and other Mega Events included an important "key": How to learn from experience. This Biennial was about Mega Events and its impact on the cities and how to make a good urban strategy. Ajoint subject was about the importance of learning from each other.
The work of the Biennale was enhanced by the feedback of the European cities that hosted the Olympic Games: Barcelona 1992 / Athens 2004 / London 2012 / Munich 1972 / Albertville 1992 / Turin 2006 / Tokyo 2020. And also cities who were contenders like Lille, Stockholm, Rome, Budapest and Hamburg. Particularly, The XII Biennial analyzed urban legacy , benefits, challenges and risks for the territories and their populations over the long term, under six sub-themes:
b) Social cohesion;
d) Values, identity, image;
e) Environmental awareness;
f) Economic competitiveness according with the following general approach.
Further information: http://biennale-europeenne-paris2017.fr/en/capitalization/