Urban spaces - enhancing the attractiveness and qu.. (UrbSpace)
Urban spaces - enhancing the attractiveness and quality of the urban environment
Start date: Oct 31, 2008,
End date: Oct 30, 2011
Some 75 per cent of the population of the Central Europe region lives in urban spaces, a figure which is likely to continue growing. Towns and cities are perceived as engines of regional development, offering a broad range of services and economic and cultural opportunities. However, urban concentrations of population bring a number of problems. The spread of urbanisation removes previously clear boundaries between settlement and surrounding landscape, putting great pressure on the natural landscape setting. In many urban spaces, the historic core is surrounded by physically separated new suburbs, which are nevertheless functionally linked to the urban centre, leading to growth in road traffic resulting in the loss of biodiversity and fragmentation of the natural environment. In this context open spaces play a vital role. They have a direct influence on the social life, on the perception of urban spaces both by inhabitants and visitors and on the identification of local people with their urban environment. Design of high quality urban spaces, involving inputs from community groups, is also an important transnational aspect of the planning process. Such places help to define the public life of a village or town by strengthening the local spirit. Much attention has been devoted to such issues in larger towns and cities. Partly perhaps because of a perception that smaller settlements have easier access to landscape outside the urban area, but probably also because of the assumption that the approaches which have been developed for larger towns and cities can simply be scaled down to fit smaller settlements. There is however, no evidence that this is in fact the case. One has to bear in mind that not more than 22 per cent live in cities of more than 200,000 inhabitants. Yet little consideration has been given to this transnational fact in the context of the planning, design and management of urban open space. The principle focus of this project is therefore on the role and management of such spaces in smaller urban and suburban areas. In this way the project will support the sustainable polycentric urban development which is characteristic for the region. It will take into consideration all aspects of urban open space and its improvement in terms of design quality, accessibility and functionality. Urban spaces can also influence the economical prosperity of cities. Urban open spaces play a specific role in the city structure design – especially their surface, quality and accessibility. In addition to the socio-community and recreational function, the urban open spaces areas have an unsubstitable ecological and microclimatic function, mainly in connection with the global warming threats. Existence and accessibility of the main city infrastructure forms a prerequisite of the quality of life for the majority of citizens. Public green areas and open spaces (their surface, accessibility and exploitation by citizens) belong to the main indicators of urban sustainability, in parallel with health and social services, public transport, basic education, food markets and waste collection facilities. Achievements: The UrbSpace project aims to improve the planning and management of open urban spaces in terms of design and environmental quality, accessibility and functionality. After finishing the key actions to set up the management of the project, the project proceeded by the preliminary and state of the art analyses in all of the participated countries. The consolidated reports are available on the link indicated further, as well as the 5 documents dealing with environmental, public participation, accessibility, crime prevention, gender and design aspects. The core output of the theoretical part of the project is represented by the "Joint Strategy - Guideline for making space" that is available in all partnerss countries national languages (Slovak, Slovenian, Czech, German, Hungarian, Polish and Italian) and along with the English version is placed on the project web page www.urbspaces.eu, under the section: Work package 3.The practical testing of the principal statementsformulated in the Joint Strategy is realized by project partners consortium in 20 pilot projects. The planning works of the pilot project designs were realized with strong emphases to the public participation and taking into account the aspects mentioned above. All design concepts of the planning phase are available on the project web page www.urbspaces.eu, Workpackage 4. The physical improvements through the investments were realized in 15 different pilot projects accros the region of Central Europe. All investments works have been succesfully accomplished and not only the local population but also the visitors could benefit from the renovated open spaces in Presov (Slovakia), Brno-Novy Liskovec (Czech republic),Sopot (Poland), Nagykallo (Hungary) and Rho (Italy) where the ERDF investment fundingwas applied. The detailed description of all pilot projects projects as well as the evaluation and conclusions are available through the project web page, Work package 4. Based on the pilot actions evaluation the Methodology Action plan for planners has been elaborated. The final Methodology plan is consisting, besides the " guidelines part", also from the "Checklists for UrbSpace-key aspects" – criteria that have to be considered for the good design of urban open spaces. The document is available in 8 languages on the project web page. Moreover the e-learning modul has been placed on the project as well and is interlinked with the "Le:Notre" thematic network website, under the responsability of the Vienna Technical University. The project has been extensively publicly promoted and disseminated through 3 thematic seminars and final conference, presentations and it continues to receive extensive media coverage. The Member's area and News section of the UrbSpace website are updated frequently, and the intranet acts as a key resource for partners to access relevant documents and upload information about UrbSpace activities.
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