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Productive Cities – Topic of Europan 14

Felix Baumann

How mixed is actually the mixed-city? With Europan 14: Productive Cities, the Europan Europe Initiative addresses the lack of productivity in modern European cities.

Europan project city: Zwickau (picture: Europan Europe)

The Europan Europe Initiative focuses on productive designs for its 2017 competition. Young architects and urban planners are invited to submit proposals, which should improve small-scale urban manufacturing. The paradigm of the mixed-city has transformed European cities into spaces of living, offices, gastronomy and culture. Spaces for production and manufacturing however, only played a minor role in city centres and were systematically disregarded by planners.

Plea for Productivity

Europan chose the topic to underline the lack of productivity in modern European cities. Borders of economics, trade and living are vanishing in urban areas, but the productive areas are left at the outskirts. While the city centre offers working possibilities only for high-skilled professionals, low-skilled workers must commute long distances. That disagrees with the urban design concept of a mixed-city with short distances and generates many economical, ecological and social problems. By reintroducing small-scale manufacturing and production into urban areas, spaces for living and working can be moved closer together. Furthermore, it could conserve resources and strengthen local fabric and value creation cycles. On that account, every design should deal with following questions:

“How to integrate some of the production activities in the city to enhance new relations between citizens?”
“How to live in productive fields and to produce in living environment?”
“How to integrate all the production cycles considering distribution, waste and consumption?”

Conditions of the Competition

As always, Europan is taking place in many locations throughout Europe. 45 sites from different regions and with different conditions have been chosen for development. The competition addresses only young architects and urban planners, who must be under the age of 40 years old. The competition ends on June 30th, 2017. More information is available here.