Urban Design Governance in European Cities


In European cities, we know several kinds of regulations, standards, plans, and permits aiming at spatial quality. Although these formal and mostly legally institutionalized tools are helpful in avoiding really bad projects and safeguarding basic qualities in city development, they are not so strong in encouraging a higher level of urban spatial quality that excels.

That’s why we need in urban design governance also other methods than the traditional ones, not so much formal but rather soft power by nature.

Which kind of formal and informal mechanisms do exist in European cities in order to improve the quality of design projects? What are the modalities of these kinds of urban design governance? What would be the financial impact of design quality?

What can we learn, in view of sharing it in a long-term network of professionals and supporting uptake in design quality policies all over Europe?

The project is an initiative of a small consortium comprising The United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), University College London (UCL) and the Brussels “Bouwmeester Maître Architecte” (BMA), supported by the European Commission.

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