Urban Regeneration Forum in Bilbao
Text: Florian Maier
In March 2014, the initiative "Bilbao Bizkaia Architecture" (BIA) has been founded to energize architecture and urban planning in the province of Bizkaia in Spain, committing to take on the challenges facing the profession, such as internationalization, exchanges and the citizen participation. It is a platform for analyzing and promoting multiple activities at grassroots level.
The BIA considers town planning, architecture and sustainability as totally cross-cutting disciplines. Smart cities, cities which can be turned into pedestrian zones, energy-efficient cities and, in the final analysis, human cities will be the centre of attention.
In September 2014, the first important event will be held in Bilbao: the "Urban Regeneration Forum". The event which will include a conference with 300 international experts, and will defend the notion that "architecture, in its broadest sense, creates added, economic and cultural value that contributes to sustainable development and enriches the community". The letter of introduction of the forum is a manifesto entitled “Towards a healthy city” (Hacia una ciudadsana), which defends the concept of a city which is egalitarian, liveable, attractive, and prosperous.
The topics are:
- Public space as a driver urban regeneration
- Regeneration in an era of austerity
- Leadership in urban regeneration
- Sociological components of urban regeneration
- Education as a core driving force for development
- Top down versus Bottom up
- Naturalisation / the landscape component in urban regeneration
- New technologies
The forum expects to attract around 300 international experts for a week and a professional trade show will be run alongside. The BIA will also establish a biennial award to a leading figure in the world of architecture who has contributed to the development of Bizkaia society through architecture and urban regeneration.
Bilbao has had a history of being ground-breaking from its very foundation. Today, "Bilbao" is a synonym for quality architecture and urban renewal. At the same time, professionals working in the field of architecture in Bilbao and Bizkaia are acquiring new skills and the creation of knowledge is on the increase.
2013 saw the 20th anniversary of a meeting of great interest organised by Bilbao Ria 2000 in 1993 at the Museum of Fine Arts, called "Arquitecturas para Bilbao" (Architecture for Bilbao). Architects such as Norman Foster, Frank O. Gehry, César Pelli, Roberto Ercilla and Miguel Ángel Campo presented and explained their projects. It seems fitting that, almost a quarter of a century later, an event will be held to reap the rewards from the seeds that were sown in 1993.