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2007.03.21 SEVILLA Sustainable Cities European Conference [EN]

"Sustainability" as a lemma is long overdue in Ur.Babel as well as in the Urbipedia. For it is at the same time central to correct community development within the framework of urban regeneration in deprived neighbourhoods, as it is also a fashionable bureaucrat word that legitimises unusual investments, but also limits active development efforts in time. Sustainability of the empowerment that is set in motion is absolutely a main objective of any urban project. But at the administrative level it is seldom taken into account, that the dynamics of empowerment only develop during the course of the regeneration process. Sustainability is specific to the local dynamics. How those forces are driven, from where they start, where their sources are - that reveals itself only during the process. Sustainability in urban (re-)development is a GOAL, not a methodology.

The Aalborg+10 Charter of 1994 (click here for the English PDF version) is based on the Brundtland Report on sustainability. Sustainability as embodied in urban societies, is taken in a much wider sense than "sustainable urban redevelopment": It encompasses ecology, governance, etcetera. But also citizen participation and social equity, main issues in urban territorial redevelopment. Sustainable Cities and Towns Campaign.gifDozens of European cities have signed the common declaration of intentions. But the initiators have understood that intentions are not enough. A campaign is going on, to influence European decision making in the sense of the urban sustainability objectives.

Sustainability efforts for the empowerment of marginalised communities can be programmed, measured and monitored. Gabriel Chanan (his profile is coming up in the "Profiles In Competence" section) wrote some very relevant texts about it for the British Government, that may serve at the same time as guidelines for local practicians.

All in all, a series of European Cities- and Towns Conferences about urban development sustainability is a positive event. The next one will be in Sevilla (Spain). Here is the official announcement:

Taking the Commitments to the Streets

Fifth European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns

21-24 March 2007, Seville, Spain

Join the conference to meet with more than 1000 delegates committed to sustainability. The event builds on the success of local governments to meet, to exchange and to concretely commit to advancing sustainability in Europe.It follows the series of conferences held in Aalborg 1994, Lisbon 1996, Hannover 2000, and Aalborg 2004.

Gain an insight in to the progress and achievements in local sustainability in Europe, and the implementation of the Aalborg Commitments and Aalborg Charter, and learn how to foster sustainability in your own city or town.

Discover recently developed tools, instruments and knowledge that can support your city or town in its efforts to accelerate sustainability.

 For more information, contact ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability. (e-mail)
To register, visit the conference website.

Mid-December, the organising committee will have selected from the 250 papers that have been proposed, the ones that will be programmed during the three meeting days.

The intention of the conference is to mobilise more popular support for the urban sustainability objectives. We welcome these intentions and hope that urban practitioners will contribute from their daily experiences and that the organisers will favour those contributions.

The struggle for urban sustainability will be decided in the most fragile urban zones. New and creative tools and methods will be invented there. 

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