Towards an interdisciplinary creative process for a better sustainable living in the cities Print
Monday, 20 July 2009 09:12

Human Cities is a concept which has been created and launched by Pro Materia in 2006. Acting now as a European Network of Creative Cities, this cutting-edge concept is funded by the EU Culture 2007-2013 Program. It opens the door to extensive collaborations between Brussels, Glasgow, Milan and Ljubljana.

5 institutions and active partners are part of the European Human Cities Network:
- ISAC F - La Cambre Architecture, Brussels, Belgium.
- Pro Materia Creative Design Consultancy Agency, Brussels, Belgium.
- The Lighthouse, Glasgow, UK.
- Politechnico di Milano, Milan, Italy.
- Slovenian Urban Planning Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

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Human Cities offers a series of innovative views and contributions to the public space and urban fabric which are emerging more and more as a field of creative intervention and collaboration between artists, designers, architects, sociologists, writers and philosophers, urban planners and landscape architects. This interdisciplinary approach of the Human Cities hub, researches and action program will enhance the emergence of creative cities seen much as a laboratory for informal, temporary, creative performances and installations of static or moving forms and objects challenging our existing art, architecture and design stereotypes.

Sustainability and creativity in urban design are also more and more connected to educational and participative programs reaching all kind of public within the already explored and not yet studied urban territories. Both are also linked to more dense digital and media environments surrounding us as well as to the ephemeral, the temporary and the creation of new typologies of public space where creative people can meet, play, live and enjoy the site specificity and qualities of the places to be.

Places to be are tackling the design multiple and multicultural facets of the urban fabric. They are used as the main theme for the Human Cities Call for Entries. In fact, European cities today face both frightening threats and exhilarating challenges, becoming harder to manage and to understand, while fostering their role as the drivers and hubs of our economies. Not only must they compete in attractiveness, in order to encourage talents—both creative and academic— to move in (or not to move abroad), they also need to create a framework that promotes their human capital, while coping with social fragmentation and sustainability. Human Cities as a project and philosophy is therefore positioning itself towards artifacts and spontaneous creations which are seen and perceived in their uses, living scenarios as well as in their complex urban perspectives.

A final [human cities] symposium and related events festival will be organized in Brussels (Belgium) in Spring 2010, bringing together pioneering institutions from all over Europe. All of them are actively developing new methods and approaches to urban design as a kind of promise for a better and more human-oriented environment. They will share the differentiated ways in which they respond to today’s challenges, bringing forward the lessons learned from their most successful experiences.

[human cities] symposium and related events festival aim at reaching the largest number of people as possible and at fostering public commitment right in the prominent public spaces and through socio-cultural institutions that are running relevant Human Cities projects in locations such as streets, city squares and gardens, inner-city parks, busy thoroughfares or hidden alleyways, disused industrial sites... Real life installations and productions will challenge the unpredictable and informal human interventions. Human Cities could hopefully become the European reference for an upcoming Human Cities Design* and Hacking** Culture. It would become part of the urban regeneration process as well as it would propose alternative renewal strategies for the community through creative places to be.


* Design in the urban perspective comprises all the artifacts that are related to places and cities environments and are interconnected to their users. It is an ongoing process which replaces the urban dwellers as well as the creative minds in their context of a contemporary city culture and underlines its effects on real life situations and site-specific installations in the public space.

** Hacking is defined by Richard Thieme (O’Reilly Network) and the Graffiti Research Lab, both mainly active in the United States, as “the means and methodology by which we construct more comprehensive truths or images of the systems we hack”. This same spirit can be applied to urban interventions by hacking into the code of the city to create a greater sense of understanding and a connection between individuals.

Article courtesy of v2com