A long view on the European Urban Summer School in Madrid in 2013

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Taking a long view from inception of the European Urban Summer Schools, EUSS in Madrid marked a natural progression along a steep learning curve. Initiated through AESOP - with Izabela Mironowicz as the creative driving force - EUSS took off in 2010 with very high goals. In Wroclaw Poland, nine projects on ‘Urban change’ were tackling the city as a whole, conceptually transforming specific districts and making fine grain urban design proposals. A state-of-the-art publication supported by UN Habitat put EUSS on the global professional map. The theme of ‘Urban change’ ran through all the subsequent summer schools. They all focused on concrete sites while relating to time- and location-specific, often complex planning issues. They addressed ‘quality of space – quality of life’ in Lisbon, ‘times of scarcity – reclaiming the possibility of making’ in London, and ‘strategies for the post-speculative city’ in Madrid. Each EUSS took place in a large city, often a capital. Each had selected sites as a challenge to current planning wisdom which stretched the imagination of the participant young professionals. They delivered, in the very short time available, also in Madrid. A purpose of the EUSS publication series is to document these very rich and original contributions to pressing urban issues by young professionals from all over the world. Madrid after the property market collapse was a great opportunity for young professionals to think about alternative urban futures while making concrete proposals for the given sites within realistic constraints. They came up with innovative ideas for acity unknown to most of them. The three adjacent sites, starting from the heart of Madrid and reaching the southeast fringe with progressively increasing scales confronted the participants with a large range of issues. They benefited from well balanced formal contributions from academics as well as practitioners and were tutored by academics with both practical experience and local knowledge.
Strategies For the Post-Speculative City : Proceedings of the 4th AESOP European Urban Summer School, Madrid, Spain, September 2013
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