Ute Meyer and Martin Spalek have started the urbanes.land initiative in 2017 to raise awareness on potentials of resilient development outside urban cores.
The initiative’s core ambition is to turn knowledge into action. The team operates at the interface of academic research and innovative practice. As a core idea it embraces the already built environment and existing economic, political and academic carpet as the principal resource to harvest responsible solutions from.
Across Europe millions of people live in small and medium-sized cities, in polycentric networks of towns along transportation lines or waterways, in suburban agglomerations or at the fringes of metropolitan areas. They share surroundings that are only intermediately dense and don’t account for being urban – in a landscape of global production that isn’t rural any more. Lateral to the grand narrative of the urban age, these regions in second row contain considerable reserves for resilient circular systems. Their in-between realities – neither black nor white but a kaleidoscope of greys – hold a promise for diversified built / unbuilt conditions able to melt in metabolic wholes. What if we re-read the peripheries? What if the operational, albeit fragmented carpet of everyday Europe, contemned for its land appetite and irrational mobility patterns was transformed into laboratories for a balanced use of resources, system thinking and new modes of cooperation? What if the big transformation, carried by the many, could become an early reality here? We coined the term urbanes land for these territories that need to be put back on the agenda.
Ute Meyer and Martin Spalek have started the urbanes land initiative in 2017 to raise awareness on potentials of resilient development outside urban cores. This builds on a large body of academic work to analyse and conceptualize the phenomenon of dispersed settlement: From Thomas Sieverts’ to Peter Hall, from Bernardo Secchi and Paola Viganò to Karl Ganser or Studio Basel scholars have pointed out the necessity of a synopsis to be drawn on a regional scale to achieve transformative balance. The initiative’s core ambition is to turn this knowledge into action. The team operates at the interface of academic research and innovative practice. As a core idea it embraces the already built environment as the principal resource to harvest responsible solutions from.
We are not alone. Many people understand that an urban practise in outskirts and fringe territories can substantially propel the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). All their brains, hands and hearts are needed to clear the way into the future: post-fossil, short-distanced, economically balanced and socially sound. In our network experts from diverse backgrounds meet and learn, give and take inspiration. (Inter)nationally the network links professionals working the transformation of the physical and social living environment from a planners’, designers’, curators’ and intellectuals’ prospective. On a regional level a broad variety of actors comes together in islands of transformational knowledge: experts for mobility, energy, climate or agriculture, innovators of the knowledge economy, start-up culture or upcycling scene, open source, co-production and commoning activists, politicians and entrepreneurs, finance and governance specialists or academic minds. The process of designing tomorrow is inherently inclusive.