The Chair of Urban Development at the Munich University of Technology and the Chair of Spatial Planning & Strategy at the Delft University of Technology convened a conference on regional design on the 14th and 15th of October, 2015 in Munich. The conference ‘Shaping regional futures – Mapping, designing, transforming!’ invited scholars and practitioners with expertise in the design and planning of European regions. The intention of the conference was to investigate the way how the imagination and envisioning of spatial futures of regions enhances planning on regional and supra-regional levels of scale.

During the first day of the conference theoretical notions on regional design were discusses. Verena Balz (TU Delft) and Agnes Förster (TU Munich) gave a key note speech. They highlighted aspects of settings, processes and performances of regional design that should be considered when comparing relations among regional design practices and regional planning across Europe. Simin Davoudi, Professor of Environmental Policy & Planning at Newcastle University, reflected on the setting of regional design. Davoudi elaborated on dominant perceptions of regions and the necessity to challenge these. Terry van Dijk, Associate Professor in Planning and Vice Dean at University of Groningen, considered the performance of regional design. Van Dijk argued that design should not be assessed on promoting people’s concerns only but also on convincing actors of the need for long term planning. Joachim Declerck, principal of Architecture Workroom Brussels and affiliated with Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Versailles and  Ghent University, reflected on design processes. Declerck argued that a regional designer is a broker who coordinates actions by tiers of planning.

During a morning session of the second day of the conference academic approaches to the teaching of regional design were discussed. The session was moderated by Lukas Gilliard, Munich University of Technology. Nadia Alaily-Mattar (TU Munich) argued for learning goals of regional design education at the TU Munich from a theoretical perspective. An understanding of relations among scales and political discourses were among goals. Remon Rooij, Associate Professor Spatial Planning & Strategy at Delft University of Technology elaborated on regional design education at the TU Delft. Rooij emphasized on student’s needs.

During the last part of the conference European case-studies in regional design were analysed on their relation with planning. San Verschuuren (Spatial Planning Department of the Municipality of Amsterdam), Paul Gerretsen (Association Delta Metropolis) and Jannemarie de Jonge (Wing, Wageningen) reflected on regional design in the Amsterdam Metropolitan region. Wilhelm Natrup (Head of Spatial Development, Canton of Zurich), Anna Schindler (Head of Urban Development, City of Zurich) and Martin Berchtold (berchtoldkrass space & options) contemplated on the making and use of the Metrobild Zürich design. Christa Reicher (Professor of Urban Design and Land-Use Planning at Dortmund University of Technology) and Martin Tönnes (Head of Planning, Ruhr Regional Association) reflected on Ideenwettbewerb Zukunft Metropole Ruhr. Lessons learned from the cases were discussed during a plenary session.

 More detailed results from the conference will become available via this blog!

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