WT42 – Urban design and urban governance
City : ES - Barcelone
In partnership with :
Governance, i.e. the art of governing societies for the purpose of survival, social cohesion, peace, equilibrium and long-term development, presenting the prospect of a harmonious society, has been at the centre of societies for millennia. Each society has in every period invented ideologies, systems of thought, institutions and ways of acting to respond to these essential objectives. Imperial China for instance provided itself with an organised administrative system throughout the land which ensured long periods of stability for society.
For its part, Europe is rich in diverse traditions of governance, whether this concerns the conception of the state and the administration, the democratic institutions, the balance between powers, the development of public services or the place of local authorities given broad independence. Since the 17th century, the organisation of society in the context of sovereign states with professional administrations has gradually become established everywhere in Europe, replacing feudal systems and aristocracies. It was not until the Second World War that European integration made it possible to pass, to a certain extent, beyond the previous conception of sovereign states but the tensions within the European Union, between the European Commission, responsible for stating the European interest and a Council of Member States, show a constant wavering between a new supranational political system which is trying to be born and national political elites who would often rather go back to a simple area of negotiation between sovereign states.
In fact, systems of governance are systems of great inertia, both in relation to the ideologies and concepts on which they are based and in relation to the administrations and political bodies that embody them. But in three centuries, the world has changed completely. States are too narrow frameworks to manage interdependencies. The dividing up of powers between the different regional levels does not correspond to the reality of problems that can never be managed at only one level. The watertight compartments between public and private players are not well suited to joint construction of the common good by both. The systemic nature of the economy, of society and of ecosystems does not lend itself well to the compartmentalised management of problems that is traditionally that of government. Political systems inherited from the past no longer correspond to the technical and social condition of societies. Interdependencies are increasingly organised on a planetary scale, which the relationship between states, each jealously guarding its own sovereignty, cannot easily take into account.
It is therefore urgent that we find principles and specific forms of governance that can meet these new challenges. Because of planetary interdependencies, these principles deeply rooted in the respective traditions of China and Europe should nevertheless have common dimensions. The framework of the workshop will be an exploration of these questions.
BIP 123 – Workshop Presentation
Cities and especially the biggest ones, embody modernity. Within them they have most of the factors of production and innovation of the modern economy. As much the consumption of fossil fuels or the management of water cycles as social cohesion and harmony depend to a large extent on their design and management. The future of our societies depends to a large extent on the more or less sustainable nature of their development, on their capacity to provide all citizens with a harmonious life and a healthy environment, on the possibility of peacefully managing the competition for the use of coveted resources and land and on their capacity to enable increasingly diversified human groups to live together peacefully.
Furthermore, the cities, especially the largest ones, are spreading out over increasingly vast areas so that new balances and new forms of governance need to be found among the local autonomies, in order to take account of specific realities and the aspirations of the population, whilst at the same time guaranteeing overall consistency in urban development and management.
In Europe, China and everywhere in the world, the question of urban governance and of the institutions of the political systems that might be capable of providing high-quality urban governance is at the centre of political agendas.
Today, Chinese urban growth is the fastest in the world. It might almost be said that the future of cities is being decided in China. A great many partnerships have already been made between Chinese and European cities to share thinking, know-how and technology. On an international scale, the creation of the UCLG, United Cities and Local Governments network in 2005 offers a new framework for international exchanges on urban governance.
The aim of the workshop will be to identify the principal issues of urban governance in Europe and in China and to explore the areas in most urgent need of innovation and cooperation in order to achieve cities in the 21st century that are fit to live in, governable and sustainable.
YE Yumin (叶裕民)
JI Jianye (季建业)
LIU Chunrong (刘春荣)
PI Dingjun (皮定均)
QU Ying (曲颖)
ZHANG Bing (张兵)
ZHANG Yineng (张轶能)
Prime movers : BILSKY Edgardo, YE Yumin (叶裕民)
Organisers : BILSKY Edgardo
Moderators : MONTSENY Antoni
Reports : GUTIERREZ CAMPS Arnau
Logistical support : MARCHINA Elisa
Workshop reports :
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