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  • Urban Renewal Conference

    International Conference of the Department of Urban Planning and Design and the Foundation for Urban Architecture

    BME, 24. 11. 2010.
    1111 Budapest, Műegyetem rkp. 3.

    The Department of Urban Planning and Design of the University of Technology and Economics declared the year 2010 the year of „Urban Renewal”. As part of that undertaking the task of various university courses and several research projects that our department has initiated are connected to this theme. The Conference on the 24th of November in the main Assembly Hall of the Central Building of the University is also part of that program.
    … but what makes this issue so actual?
    The importance and extent of the transformations of the last decades of the 20th century in major cities of Western-Europe can be compared to the scale of the urban interventions of the 19th century, when unlivable medieval urban structures had been renewed with the demolition of city walls and with burning new large scaled structural elements into the tissue. The 20th century urban renewals were made possible by the neglected industrial areas and railway yards of the metropolitan areas. These, by that time very valuable areas, have been treated in different ways in various countries of Europe.
    In some cases the missing green spaces of the city have been developed here, at some other locations new urban centers were created with flourishing public spaces and there are numerous examples of these areas becoming the victims of ‘real-estate development’, fully developed with residential and office spaces providing an environment without a public realm, completely unapproachable for a regular city dweller. All these ‘solutions’ are considered urban renewals, but there are major differences, in how much they take into consideration the existing natural and built characteristics of the area, which actually could be one of the metering tools of the quality of rehabilitation projects. Defining the concept of urban renewal and necessitating the quality in the renewal of built up or historical inner city areas is particularly important. Even recent events in Budapest warn us on that!
    The actualities of the conference are given by the fact, that Budapest and most of the former socialist capitals and metropolises, having a time-lag related to their Western-European mates, still have not lost their opportunity for a high quality renewal. The former industrial areas and railway yards are still mainly undeveloped, our inner city is intact, although the pressure of the real estate developers who do not take into consideration the existing values of the capital is enormous.
    The conference provides ammunition for the grand professional battles fought against such developments and for finding the best possible strategies of urban renewal.

    Sándor Pálfy DLA

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