Two decades of urban dispersion in Lisbon Metropolitan Area or the failure of consensus in urban and regional planning

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The dispersion became part of the urban lexicon applying a binary understanding: the dispersion is a problem and urban concentration is good; the first is inefficient, the second monetizes; the low density generates weak territorial cohesion, compactness is a sign of life and dynamism. One is always applicable; the other is always to refuse. There are alternatives to these dichotomous keys or gradations that can be applied. There are - apparently - enormous facilities that these binary reading processes provide to urban planners as to politicians or to academics. And this, apparent clearness, is essentially based on three components: The urban design where there is the urban form (said rational) that mobilizes technicians, politicians and academics; The territorial classification, it is the line between urban land and rural land that separates and groups; The dimension of the application of cost-benefit system where continuous and coherent urban form allows distributing the costs and benefits among a set of well-defined owners. Otherwise is the diffused and blurred urban form which makes uncertain the demarcation of the urban perimeter and the urban dispersion, generating costs, do not easily allow: The representation of the urban shape that appoint the evocation of an identifiable and classified city model; The demarcation of a line establishing the territorial classification; The distribution of costs and benefits conferred by applying a cost-benefit system which aims a fair distribution of capital gains generated in the territorial transformation process. Always the shape, the line and the rule as if they were absolute truths emptying any criticism that could be made. Almost never the process, the dynamics, the cultural identity and the strength of multidimensionality. And rarely, the incorporation of chance and unpredictability, of conflict and uncertainty. The work is done with a cut in space and time and it is in this section, which crystallizes the time and suspends the action of agents (natural and anthropogenic) in the territory, that decisions are taken and rules are set out.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015
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