The Conference brings together international specialists from city administrations, research and practice to report on current European strategies and experience as well as presenting examples of specific projects. In doing so it aims to initiate a debate on future possibilities, both for the City of Vienna and similar metropolitan area.

SUSANNE METZ, City of Hamburg
Department of Urban Development and Housing

Milan, Duisburg, Lugano

Ariadna Miquel AMENGUAL (instead of Janet Sanz), City of Barcelona
Department for Ecology, Urban Development and Mobility

GERHARD HAUBER, Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl
Überlingen, Bejing, Hamburg, Singapore

JÜRGEN PREISS, City of Vienna
Environmental Department

DIRK VAN PEIJPE, De Urbanisten

Department for Sustainable Urban Development

EDZO BINDELS, West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture
Rotterdam, New York, Brussels

More than 75 % of Europe’s population now lives in urban areas and the proportion continues to grow. The corresponding pressure for new development in a finite space is leading to increases in urban density and in many cities is stimulating a debate about how to deal with the last remaining reserves of urban land. At the same time there is a growing awareness of the importance of green and blue infrastructure and its role in providing urban ecosystem services.

Usable urban open space – especially green space – is consistently viewed as a key factor in determining quality of life and as an influence on people’s choice of where to live. High quality open spaces are therefore among the most important factors in the development of new and in the renewal of existing urban areas. How will it be possible to do justice to the increasing importance of urban green and open spaces despite the need for denser development in towns and cities? Can we resolve this apparent contradiction?

Furthermore, climate change is bringing with it new threats to our towns and cities which can be ameliorated by well-designed open spaces. Phenomena such as extended summer heat waves, increased air pollution and extreme rainfall events, are both a challenge and an opportunity for urban open space in the context of the city as a whole. In a rapidly growing city such as Vienna, this pressure on open space can already be clearly felt. Numerous other cities in Europe are facing similar challenges and innovative new visions are being developed, which aim to combine all aspects: higher built densities with an attractive urban living environment as well as responding to urban climate issues.

How can new development be accommodated while at the same time promoting the creation of an attractive and liveable urban environment?

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