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Urban Movements 1

Plenary / Panel
German and English language

Orientalisation, occidentalisation, internationalisation
Quintessence of the presentations: description of the development and current situation of the respective cities from the perspective of growth and dynamism on the basis of demographic developments (internal migration, international migration), economic transformation and global competition.
The objective is to create images which bring to light the broad lines of the central forces for change and the urban challenges in each of the cities (strengths and weaknesses in housing, infrastructure, the urban fabric, in management, social affairs etc.)  there is no requirement, however, to grant equal weight to all aspects for each city.


Independent Architect, Writer and Consultant, Bucharest Abstract
The Romanian section of global Archipelago of Poverty harbours now about 1 million people. 30% of them live in rural settlements, located mostly in depressed areas, in what could be described as  land of historic extreme poverty . The rest 70% are to be found in newly formed shanties in urban areas, on the outskirts of bigger cities.
One expecting to find on the islands of this sui-generis Archipelago folkloric exoticism, search for identity, longing after regional expression, will be baffled. To the difference of  regular ,  ordinary rural poverty in the Balkans, newly emerging extreme urban poverty is uniform, non-specific, highly trivial, non-ethnic. The similarities with what is happening in other parts of the world - be it in a Latin American favella, in gecekondu in Turkey s towns, in South Asia s shantytowns - are striking. Extreme poverty is a strong unifying factor and the architecture one founds there exhibits a truly  international character: another face of globalism.
There are a number of spatial factors that shape the attribute extreme when facing community poverty. It is territorial, thus different from the individualized fate of homeless. It is also inherently urban. Newly formed communities are built on squatted land, settling in derelict, vagrant, abandoned or even contaminated and always remote places. The persistent conflict with authorities puts people on permanent move. Phenomena that are widely recognised as source of extreme poverty  poor education, unemployment, high rate of disease - are mostly to be attributed to factors of spatial and urbanistic nature.
The urban, fast growing communities in extreme poverty are collateral casualties of the collapse of centralized authoritarian regime. The inconsistencies of economic transition and inadequate social policies are there to enhance the process. Talks about improving housing in communities in extreme poverty, about helping homeless people and street children to settle down somewhere, about alleviating the shortage and access to decent housing are recurrent themes in political rhetoric. But for fifteen years now, at least in Romanian case, the rate of growth of Povera Archipelago is largely faster than that of construction initiatives. In a more than a decade, despite the outcry of international community, despite the available funds, no more than 500 dwelling units have been erected. And that - putting together state and local administrations initiatives, the heroic efforts of foreign volunteers, NGOs or individual philanthropists. As we have learned on place, to build an (objectively limited) number of houses to be given to an (objectively limited) number of families did no more that deepen the existing crisis, the people s omnipresent apathy and helplessness.
The extreme poverty will be with us for a while. To build houses seems unrealistic, inapt to keep pace with the ongoing process. What should be done as a matter of utmost urgency is a type of economic-urban top-down intervention that will allow settlements to develop on appropriate land, will solve the problem of correct distribution of plots, will create a mechanism to legalise the questions of property, give access to clean water supply, find intermediary technologies for the disposal of waste and create fluent road connections with  mother townships. Allowing people to build their sheds as they can.
Is that ruthless pragmatism? And a voluntary abdication from architect s sacred mission of beauty, amenity and safety? Yes, most probably. But at this stage, rationalizing community s (not separate individuals ) quotidian existence appears to be the sole tangible alternative to compassionate but ineffective social philanthropy.
My communication to the Alpbach forum will try to substantiate this rather counterintuitive conclusion.
Associate Professor, Civil Engineering and Geodesy (UACG), University of Architecture, Sofia Abstract
A millennium-old settlement at the crossroads of cultural influences, the capital of Bulgaria faced challenges and chances in the societal transformation started in early 1990s. The random densification and deconcentration of urban functions, the new housing and office development patterns and the increasing vulnerability of public space thoroughly changed the cityscape. The emerging city image manifests large-scale efforts for a competitive integration into dynamic European and global frameworks; yet it often designates a burden beyond the environmental capacity and questions the spatial identity of Sofia. A main challenge seems the capability of planning to balance diverse and multilevel priorities and values throughout an urban process of considerable dynamism.
City Researcher, Istanbul Abstract
Istanbul, city in transition

Istanbul for the time being can be best characterized as a city of ongoing, actual transitions. Its a process of transition that had started in the 80s, stagnated between 1999 (the big marmara earthquake) and 2003 (end of the big recession) and is today accelerated more than ever. This transition can be described in various ways. Just to name some:

- from industrial to post industrial
- from a city that had sunken to insignificance (1920s to 30s) but built up itself as a supplier of national markets (1950s to 80s) to a city that wants its share within world financial markets as a global player
- from a modus of city production by a big number of smaller actors to a city of a smaller number of big actors
- from a city of informal urbanisation to a city of formalized urbanization
- from a city of self-upgrading processes of migrant neighbourhoods to enforced gentrification by demolish and rebuild
- from a city of inclusionist migration to a city of exclusionist consolidation
- from a city that succesfully solved its main problems of urbanization in a quantitative manner (population from 700 000 to 13 m, by maintaining very affordable housing) to a city that claims to create quality that was lost during this process (identity)
- from a modus of city production where disciplines of built environment were excluded (by the state) to a mode of urban production where these are re-included (by the capital)
- from a city where planning meant 'registering the built reality' (revision plans) to one where planners gain self confidence, regard themselves as pro-active agents, and/or moderators of a multi actor dialogue

to sum up:
- from a modus of city production where the big capital was excluded for many decades (where the capital was involved in production of goods whereas the labor was only preoccupied with that as a hobby... but was mainly preoccupied with the production of built environment ... hence transformed itself to a class of self-made businessmen and transferred its poverty to the late arriving) ... to a city where the major involvement of the capital, or in other words the major modus of capital accumulation has become the production of the city.

Both capital and the architects and planners have reasons to deny the existing, not-yet transfomed city and its urbanisation processes, and label it as 'distorted'. They had been excluded from this process as main actors. The old (established) middle classes have as well a reason to deny it, as they were only to a very limited extend able to participate in the gains of the urban growth, compared to the vast gains of the new middle classes with a migration background.

However there are good reasons not to join these groups' biased positions vis a vis the still existing city and to learn from the past process of 'self service urbanization, while at the same time transforming it.
Chief Executive Officer, d. swarovski tourism services gmbh, Wattens Chair

Arch. Mariana CELAC

Independent Architect, Writer and Consultant, Bucharest

1967-1981 Junior staff architect, Proiect Bucuresti Institute
1971-1973 Research Guarantee with the Department of Architecture, University of Tokyo TODAI, Japan
  Research Team, International Center for Futures and Development Studies, Bucharest
1973-1977 Senior Research Fellow, Center for Systems Studies, University of Bucharest; Head of the Urban Futures
1977-1985 Senior Project Manager, National Center for Urban and Regional Planning and Design, Bucharest
1985-1988 Staff Architect with ISLGC Design & Urban Planning Institute
1988-1989 Placed in internal exile, in Vaslui and Bistrita cities
1996-1999 Director, Journal ARHITECTURA
since 1990 Independent architect, writer and consultant

Arch. Dr. Elena DIMITROVA

Associate Professor, Civil Engineering and Geodesy (UACG), University of Architecture, Sofia

1976-1983 Architectural Designer, Glavprojekt Architectural Design & Research Corporation, Sofia
1985-1994 Research Fellow, Research Centre, UACG, Faculty of Architecture, Sofia
1994-2003 Assistant Professor, Department of Urban Planning, Faculty of Architecture, UACG, Sofia
  Architecture, Sofia
since 2003 Associate Professor, Department of Urban Planning, Civil Engineering and Geodesy (UACG), University of

Orhan ESEN

City Researcher, Istanbul

 Studium der Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte an der Bosporus Universität, Istanbul. Ausbildung zum staatl. gepr. Reiseleiter.
 Selbstständig tätig in Istanbul als Übersetzer, Stringer/journalistische Unterstützung für ausl. Presse, Reiseleiter und Veranstalter von Bildungsreisen und Studienexkursionen, Projektberater, Stadtforscher, Autor und Herausgeber.
 Veranstaltung und Durchführung von klassischen und politischen Bildungsreisen sowie von akademischen Seminaraufenthalten und interkulturellen Workshops.
 Stadtpolitisches Engagement mit folgenden Schwerpunkten: Wohnen und Wohnumfeld, Denkmal und Katastrophenschutz, Urbanökologie und Transportwesen,
 Öffentlicher Raum und im Umfeld von zivilgesellschaftlichen Organisationen sowie von Bürgerinitiativen.
 Beteiligung an Foren im lokalen, nationalen und internationalen Kontext.

Dr. Andreas BRAUN

Chief Executive Officer, d. swarovski tourism services gmbh, Wattens

1969-1982 Verwaltungs- und Verfassungsjurist im öffentlichen Dienst
ab 1982 Leiter der Tirol Werbung, Wegbereiter für eine breite Thematisierung des Phänomens Tourismus
  Positionierung und Leitung der Swarovski Kristallwelt als eine Verschmelzung von Industrie, Tourismus und Kultur
ab 1995 Kommunikationsmanager bei der Swarovski Gruppe
2001-2010 Vertretung des Landes Tirol im Stiftungsrat des ORF
seit 2001 Geschäftsführer der d. swarovski tourism services gmbh, einer 100 %igen Tochtergesellschaft von Swarovski