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Urban Industrialisation, Environment and Society: new perspectives of equilibrium
in Northern, Central and Southern European Countries


Manilla



Industrial heritage includes a high number of large factory buildings offering vast inner spaces and volumes, a solid structure, and often handsome façades. Such architectures often raise ambitions and interests for a profitable re-use – but of which kind ? The problem is not that of changing destinations of former industrial buildings – but rather of respecting the historic meaning of the premises, of an economic viability of the choice, of the appropriateness of the re-use with respect to the needs of the local population. It remains in many occasions a controversial matter to determine if the decisions for re-use are the correct ones, from different points of view, either economic or cultural, historic, ethic etc. Re-using quality industrial heritage (instead of erasing it) is no longer debated, while discussion on “good practices” goes on raging. Today, there is a strong tendency towards linking the new life of industrial architectural buildings with cultural or innovative activities – a new way, finally, of demonstrating that industrial heritage possibly keeps its function of a “pole of excellence” within the urban fabric of the future. 

The objective of the project was to compare the possibilities of success and the methodologies for achieving it in different European contexts – Turku and the historic and natural environment of its industrial growth; Sesto San Giovanni and its close link to a big metropolis; Zlin and its worldwide fame as an American style big business creation lined with a series of garden cities; Tallinn which has inherited a heavy amount of industrial testimonies from its recent history. 

The anticipated results were to constitute a long-lasting network of institutions (cultural, administrative, associative ones, planners and architects agencies, researchers namely in human and urban geography) able to promote and to disseminate “good practices” in the field of rehabilitation, reuse and enhancement of important former factory buildings, taking into account the improvement of their social, economic and urban environment.

The co-organisers have taken the opportunity to make meet scientific researchers, practical actors of the operations, urban planners, and groups of inhabitants in a democratic and interdisciplinary exchange of opinions on the relationship of industrial past to urban future. On a European level the project aimed to develop a mutual intellectual and cultural support between Western industrialized countries and Central or Eastern European countries.

Participants in the project

The leading partner has been the University of Turku (Finland), Department of Geography
The coorganisers have been:
The Muncipality of Sesto San Giovanni (Italy);
The Technical University of Brno, Department of Architecture (Czech Republic);
The City Council of Tallinn (Estonia);
Koinetwork g.e.i.e. (France).

Itinerant Exhibition

It has been presented during fall 2006 in Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland and Italy and has been accompanied by a catalogue and a Cd-rom.

Publication

The Exhibition catalog and virtual exhibition on Cd-rom has been published with the support of the Culture 2000 Programme of the European Commission – General Direction Education and Culture, 129 p., each contribution appearing both in the local language and in English.
In fact, it comprises also several original studies intending to illustrate the way in which industrialisation has marked and shaped the urban fabric, the built environment, the social context in four European cities. They are based both on the exhibition and on a collective effort of local researchers attempting to answer the central question discussed in the project: how do cities manage the industrial heritage, preserving its most significant elements while integrating them in new kinds of development. Four deeply different cases have been invited to confront their proper strategies.
The articles are by:
- Federico Ottolenghi, “Old Factories New Town”;
- Ladislava Horňáková, “Development of Zlin between the:two World Wars”;
- Pavel Novák, “The Zlin architecture of 1990-2005”;
- Helena Zemanková, “How to harmonize Zlin’s development with the protection of its cultural heritage ?”;
- Monika Eensalu, “Industrial architectural heritage in Tallinn”;
- Maria Hansar, “Rotermann City”;
- Harri Andersson, “City as Time Machine”.


Koinetwork has been taken in charge of the production of the Cdrom with the project virtual exhibition UIES VIRTUAL EXHIBITION

 See the CDrom produced

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