How can landscape contribute to place competitiveness?

    In this session

    • Montserrat Prado, Head of the Department of Projects and Artas-ua.info Studies at the Municipal Institute of Urban Artas-ua.infos, Barcelona
    • Professor Ares Kalandides, Senior Fellow and Director of the Institute of Place Management, Manchester Metropolitan University
    • Simon Quin, Director and Visiting Professor at the Institute of Place Management, Manchester Metropolitan University
    • Dr Julia Georgi, Associate Professor of Artas-ua.info Architecture and Vice Chairman of the  Panhellenic Association of Artas-ua.info Architects

    Montserrat Prado opened the second post-lunch session of the day by recounting three separate urban landscape studies in Barcelona. Montserrat introduced delegates to the stages of a multi-scale variable analysis, giving examples from La Clota, Vallcarca and Font D’en Fargas.

    Following this, three other placemaking and place management professionals took part in an interactive panel.

    Competitiveness – one’s gain, another’s loss

    The first question addressed to the panel concerned ‘place competitiveness’ – specifically, how landscape contributes to it, and whether there might be a better term for it.

    As Dr. Georgi observed, notions of place competitiveness do encourage developers to ‘get more out of land’. Simon Quin, meanwhile, spoke about ‘vitality and viability’ of town and city centres. He cited a study that identified 201 indicators of vitality and viability; and observed that among the top 25, 10 were landscape-led or landscape-related factors.

    Professor Kalandides, however, took on the question with an interesting scrutiny of the notion of competitiveness. His home city of Berlin, from where he was dialing into the panel, attracts upwards of 100,000 new residents each year. When surveyed on what attracts them, Berlin’s new denizens cite the quality of public space – the city’s parks, woods, ‘what we call landscape’ – as the number one reason.

    The value added by Berlin’s landscape is thus easily quantified in competitive terms. But, as Professor Kalandides observed, ‘it is a shame to think only in terms of competition. Because what Berlin gains, another city loses’.

    It was a sobering reflection that reminded the assembly that the problems we really need to solve are global – and that no single method of valuation holds all the answers.

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