ASPIS Conference Gent(BE)_Live Reporting: Day 01(AM)

The conference kicked off with a fundamental view on the ‘Myth’ and sustainability or even the ‘Myth’ of sutainability. The first series of presentations combined theoretical backbones of public open space with case studies from Estonia, over Spain, Athens in Greece and Istanbul in Turkey.

Here is a short summary of the speakers from this morning.

Keynote speaker, Denis Dujardin:

Denis Dujardin has started the conference by posing interesting topics for reflection concerning the sustainability of the urban landscape. High maintenance landscape designs that we see in many cities, do not seem a sustainable solution as when the intensive upkeep ceases, they will return to their wild nature. He proposes, is this the imposition of human interference or the interference of nature reclaiming human imposition?


Fouli Papageorgiou, coordinator ASPIS:

Summary of the aims of the ASPIS group and an overview of the product of their work and research, this conference the culmination of the work from the last few years. The IT tools that have been developed, sustainability game, star rating tool and memory game, will be discussed further in the conference. All are available at:


Friedrich Kuhlmann: Baltic perceptions on the sustainability of public open spaces

Looking at the start of the project, Friedrich explains how the sustainability criteria evolved. The meaning the terms ‘public space’ and ‘sustainability’ have very different connotations in different countries, depending on culture and background. It was established that the most important factors are the multiplicity of activities, ‘life going on’ in a way tied to events and seasons, as well as the idea that continual investment should not be needed to maintain a public space.


Hèctor del Alcàzar Indarte: Valencia, the city with no-river. The relationship between public space and city.

Hector has given synopsis of the development of the city of Valencia that highlights the importance of the participation of citizens with the city authority in order to create an urban landscape for the benefit of society. Following the diversion of the river the citizens successfully campaigned to turn the old riverbed into a linear public park, which is now the green backbone of the city, rather than a highway as were the original plans of the city.


Konstantinos Moraitis: Antonis Tritsis Park as a Center of a Future Environmental and Landscape Network, in the Metropolitan Territory of Athens

There is a plan to form a ‘necklace’ of the open void in the city of Athens, a green network of the parks and open spaces. This is proposed with a number of layers, activating the urban streams, using the open railway lines and the major avenues of the city, to connect the city to the coastal zone and the mountainous areas surrounding the city. The idea is to invert the perception of environmental design, rather than putting nature into the city, connections are created that allow the invasion of nature from the outside.


Handan Turkoglu, Meriç Demir: Evaluation of the urban open spaces in Istanbul

Handan emphasises the importance of the social aspect of sustainability of public urban spaces. She mentions different aspects of successful urban spaces: socially liveable, accessible, economically viable and ecologically sustainable. The importance of the social value is highlighted by incidental spaces that have evolved rather than planned.

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