E13/E14 - Inter-Sessions Forum - Debate

How Can Cities Become Productive?

During the E13/E14 Inter-Sessions Forum that took place in Badajoz (ES) last October experts and city representatives debated on the topic of Productive Cities. Different interpretations and representations emerged, but if the issue was to make the city compatible with industrial, agricultural and/or craft activities, it also focused on the emergence of new forms of production at the heart of the city, which are linked to the new technologies, to the association between research and production, to the invention of innovative services, etc.

© Architecture Workroom Brussels

Vincent Josso (FR), architect, engineer and urban planner, moderated the debate together with Aglaée Degros, architect, urban planner and Head of the Institute of Urbanism at the Graz University of Technology (AT). He introduced the debate summarising the topic in 3 questions:

1- Why is it necessary to have productive cities?
We have long considered that removing productive activities from the heart of the city was a progress in terms of urban environment. As a matter of fact the locations of major urban projects has often been wastelands of productive activities. So why is it changing?

2- Dealing with productive cities also means dealing with a form of labour
This concept has changed and it still is even more faster today, with 3D printers, advanced technologies, but also with more traditional activities. As a consequence how should we plan and design workplaces when the form of production changes so fast.

3- Sustainability
The sustainability of urban lifestyle raises the question of productive cities as an ecosystem to consider productivity in all the meanings of the word – industrial but also agricultural, social, artistic, etc. But also sustainability with regards to the adaptability of the buildings: when the production patterns change very quickly, how can we make sure that we are not creating tomorrow brownfields?

Discover hereafter the different viewpoints of:

- 4 European cities with a policy on the Productive City;
- 4 former Europan winning teams;
- and Europan 14 actors.