The international gathering promotes exchanges of knowledge between local governments in the conviction that urban public space is a crucial factor in achieving more equitable and sustainable cities. The European Prize for Urban Public Space will be present in the “Citizenship and Public Space” seminar sessions in Porto Alegre (Brazil), from 27 to 29 October 2014. Organised by the Committee on Strategic Urban Planning of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the Porto Alegre meeting wishes to continue along the lines of the seminar “Reimagining Public Space”, which was held in Durban in June 2014. The aim of these international conferences is to bring together administrators and urban planners from a very wide range of cities in order to encourage exchanges of knowledge and experience pertaining to urban public space.
The exponential growth of the world population is occurring mainly in cities. Urban dwellers now represent more than half the planet’s inhabitants and the UN calculates that, by 2050, the figure will exceed 70%. In these circumstances, it is possible to foresee that local governments will have greater responsibility in managing the problems confronting humanity, and it is highly probable that urban public space will become the most important setting for economic, political and social change. One of the essential tools sustaining the commitment of local governments in the quest for more equitable and sustainable cities is the public space intervention planned with a view to strengthening the common good and shared interests.
The national and international speakers meeting in Porto Alegre will be discussing this vision of public space in lectures, debates and guided tours. The European Prize for Urban Public Space will be represented in the seminars by the architect Alex Giménez Imirizaldu, lecturer in Urban Planning at the Barcelona School of Architecture (ETSAB). On Tuesday 28 October, from 2 – 5 p.m., Giménez will be presenting the documentary “Europa Ciudad” (Europe City), a co-production of the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB) and Spanish public television (RTVE) which shows the importance of public space in the European idea of the city. One of the people interviewed in the film, Alex Giménez will take part afterwards in a debate moderated by Maria Regina Rau (Prefeitura de Porto Alegre), in which the other speakers will be Frederic Saliez (UN-Habitat) and Maria Elvira Madriñán (Rogelio Salmona Foundation, Colombia).
[Further information about the seminars here]
Translation: Julie Wark.