Sustainability and renewal on the agenda for Dundee visit

The University of Dundee will this week welcome professionals who have contributed to some of Europe’s great urban renewal success stories to explore how medium-sized cities can become more environmentally, economically and culturally sustainable.

The University is hosting an international seminar by the Academy of Urbanism (AoU) at West Park Centre on September 20. ‘Contemporary Approaches to Sustainability in European Cities’ will bring almost 300 architects, planners, policy makers and other delegates from across Europe together to discuss the application of contemporary strategies.

Speakers include representatives of Bilbao (Spain), Aarhus (Denmark), Freiburg (German) and Ljubljana (Slovenia), all of which are previous winners or finalists in the Academy’s prestigious European City of the Year award.

The visitors will also visit V&A Dundee and tour the wider Waterfront and city centre areas to hear about the progress of Dundee’s regeneration and the challenges that the local authority and its partners face.

Event organiser Dr Husam Al Waer, senior lecturer at the University and an AoU academician, said: “This is a very exciting time for Dundee and we are delighted to bring so many people from across Scotland, Britain and Europe to the city to showcase what is happening here.

“Postindustrial development needs to be sustainable, both in terms of the environment and the benefits it delivers for people living in these cities. This seminar brings together representatives from some of the best-performing medium-sized cities in Europe with experts from Scotland to discuss how urban areas can be more sustainable in all meanings of the word.

“To me, sustainability is about creating a great place to live, work, prosper and enjoy quality of life – both now and into the future. Bilbao, Copenhagen, Freiburg and Ljubljana are each great cities, but they have taken very different routes to get to where they are today and it’s those routes that are important to help inform the journey that Dundee is on.

“The main thing they have in common is that whatever their main driver was – culture, green space, economy or transport – it always ends up affecting all the others. For example, in Bilbao their main impetus over the last 20 years was culture, which went on to have a huge impact on infrastructure, tourism, and environmental considerations. A robust vision affects everything in its path.”

Keynote talks will be delivered by Asier Abaunza Robles, councillor and city planner of Bilbao City Council, Stephen Willacy, city architect, City of Aarhus, Liljana Jankovic Grobelsek, representing the City Municipality of Ljubljana, Wulf Daseking, former head of urban planning of the City of Freiburg, and the Scottish Government’s chief architect Ian Gilzean.

A civic reception for delegates will take place following the conclusion of the seminar.

More information about the event can be found here.

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