SMART CITY

THE URBAN LANDSCAPE IN A SMART CITY The   concept   of   urban   landscape   represents   the sublimation     of     urban     environment     and     goes beyond    that    of    public    spaces    by    incorporating them   in   the   environment   around   them.   The   urban landscape     is     thus     essentially     a     space     of     a collective    nature,    though    involving    both    publicly and    privately    owned    property,    which    ultimately comes to form the skin of cities. TOWARDS   A   PARADIGM   SHIFT   IN   THE   FIELD   OF SUSTAINABLE URBAN MANAGEMENT Although     not     explicitly     formulated     in     its     final declaration,   during   the   Congress   the   need   to   make experiences   aimed   at   the   urban   management   of the   urban   landscape   more   widely   known   at   the international   level   was   emphasized.   In   this   respect the     importance     of     mobilizing     efforts     towards achieving   this   essential   goal,   which   is   carried   out by   associations   of   cities,   was   also   stressed,   as   was the    challenge    of    incorporating    urban    landscape management    issues    in    the    agenda    of    United Nations   sooner   rather   than   later,   once   it   has   been revealed   that   all   cities   have   an   urban   landscape that deserves to be protected. As   for   the   Habitat   III   Conference,   we   would   like   to   highlight   that   the   thematic   preparatory   meeting   held   in   Barcelona   on   4   and   5   April,   2016 recognized   the   central   role   of   public   spaces   in   the   New   Urban Agenda   as   they   are   a   key   factor   in   achieving   the   collective   aspiration   of   making   cities and other urban settlements more sustainable, fairer, more democratic and more participatory. "Public   spaces   are   public   property   or   private   property   designated   for   public   use   and   are   accessible   and   enjoyed   by   all   citizens   without   restriction and   free   of   charge.   The   character   of   a   city   is   defined   by   its   streets   and   public   infrastructure   which   is   visible   in   many   different   urban   typologies, including squares, boulevards, gardens, neighborhood parks, libraries, etc.” As   a   result   of   the   meeting,   the   so-called   Barcelona   Declaration   emerged;   at   this   point   it   is   of   interest   to   emphasize   paragraphs   such   as   the   following that it includes: " We welcome in particular the recognition of the importance of public space in order to achieve sustainable development. (...)" " We recognize with satisfaction the considerable attention that has been devoted to the concept of public space in the preparatory process. (...)" "   All   of   them   coincide   with   the   definition   of   public   space:   Public   spaces   are   all   places,   including   streets,   public   property   or   property   of   public   use, accessible to and enjoyable by all, free of charge and without any vested interest. (.. .) " " The New Urban Agenda is a unique opportunity for authorities of all levels to be able to make human rights a reality for all inhabitants. (...)" " The right to the city is a new paradigm that provides an alternative framework to rethink cities and urbanization. (...)" "   There   is   a   need   to   preserve   the   character   and   quality   of   existing   historical   public   spaces,   so   as   to   promote   local   identity   and   transmit   the   heritage to   future   generations;   to   improve   public   areas   existing   in   the   central   and   peripheral   parts   of   the   city,   in   order   to   improve   their   quality   and   foster   a sense   of   belonging   in   communities;   to   design   new   public   spaces   in   built-up   areas   and   in   new   areas   of   urban   expansion   to   increase   people’s   quality of life and strengthen social stability. (...) " All   these   statements, which we   share   in   essence, were   the   object   of   study   in   an   ICOUL   2017   preparatory   meeting   held   in   Barcelona   on   18 April,   2016, which was attended by some of the speakers at the first conference. During the meeting, several questions were raised: Why should we limit ourselves to public space and not start talking in terms of urban landscape? Is it perhaps the case that the right to the city does not stretch beyond public space? Is   it   not   the   case   that   private   partners   jointly   participate   in   improving   the   quality   of   the   city   and   its   image,   and   in   promoting   a   sense   of   belonging   to and pride in the city? Is it the case that the backdrop -in the classical Greek sense- to the public spaces of the city does not deserve to be protected and improved? Those   attending   regret   that   at   this   thematic   meeting   of   Habitat   III   on   public   spaces,   initially   envisaged   as   an   opportunity   for   discussion   and contributions among world leaders and stakeholders in the field of urban development, the subject of urban landscape was in fact almost absent. We    believe    that   we    are    in    an    excellent    position    to    put    forward    the    advantages    of    an    urban    landscape    management    policy    that    has    been successfully   applied   in   Barcelona   for   thirty   years   on   the   international   stage.   A   simple   reading   of   the   recommendations   that   emerged   from   the debate   on   public   space   held   in   New York   on   the   occasion   of   PrepCom   1   for   the   III   Habitat   Conference   points   out   some   of   the   possibilities   of   this   new scenario: - We must learn from the mistakes of Habitat II, and transform ideas into action (Management). - The need to recognize the role of civil society and the importance of incentives to the private sector (Public Action). -   The   need   for   a   change   in   language   in   order   to   try   to   persuade   governments   and   the   private   sector   to   invest   in   public   spaces   is   advantageous   for everyone (Sponsorship and co-operation). It is precisely because of this change in language that the challenge that is set out by this modest platform has been undertaken. We   understand   the   urban   landscape   as   a   sublimation   of   the   urban   environment,   overcoming   a   static   concept   of   public   space;   a   landscape   that   by its very   nature   can   never   be   of   either   a   limited   or   exclusive   nature. We   also   advocate   that   investing   in   the   urban   landscape   is   to   invest   in   sustainable urban development; it is a true exercise in social responsibility, and that is advantageous for everyone. The   underlying   idea   that   inspires   this   proposal   is   that   by   means   of   the   management   of   the   urban   landscape   a   sufficiently   important   impact   on   the environment   will   be   brought   about   for   the   image   of   the   city   to   be   rebuilt   and   the   quality   of   citizens’   life   to   be   improved,   regardless   of   the   level   of development   which   they   have   had   access   to,   always   based   on   the   principle      of   the   supremacy   of   the   collective   right   to   enjoy   a   sustainable   urban environment and a harmonious landscape that is suitable for human development, over and above any particular interest or right. The present urban landscape, and what we intend to provide or improve, for better or worse, is an important part of the branding of the city Far   beyond   what   has   been   traditionally   preached   as   regards   public   space,   excellence   in   the   quality   of   the   urban   landscape   will   allow   citizens   to identify   better   with   their   urban   environment   and   to   make   a   commitment   to   its   preservation,   as   if   it   were   an   extension   to   their   own   home.   By   its nature, the urban landscape is indeed an extension to the dwelling; it is a collective dwelling, in short, a meeting point for citizens. City   dwellers   have   a   right   to   live   in   an   urban   environment   in which   public   space,   the   historical   heritage   and   the   integrity   of   buildings’   architecture   are all   respected;   they   are   also   entitled   to   a   free   and   more   secure   relationship   with   this   urban   environment.   These   rights   are   acquired   through   the peaceful   enjoyment   of   a   balanced,   sustainable   urban   landscape   as   a   result   of   a   proper   control   of   the   excesses   that   may   deteriorate   the   quality   of life and security of its installations, facilities, equipment and other resources in general. In   each   city,   in   order   to   define   the   extent   of   these   rights,   mechanisms   involving   co-operation   and   engagement   with   citizens   must   be   implemented, the   city   thus   becoming   a   joint   product   of   all   the   stakeholders.   To   us,   providing   cities   with   adequate   instruments   for   achieving   these   objectives appears to be the best possible forward-looking, result-oriented step so as to realize the expectations brought about by Habitat II. The   seed   of   our   modest   contribution   to   the   New   Urban   Agenda   that   has   emerged   from   the   Habitat   III   Conference   is   contained   in   the   "Charter   of Cities’   Urban   Landscape",   adopted   on   the   occasion   of   the   aforementioned   First   International   Conference   on   Urban   Landscape   (ICOUL),   held   in   Sao Paulo in December 2015 "We   request   that   local   governments   should   provide   specific   instruments   for   the   broad-based   management   of   the   urban   landscape   and   should   lay down   individual   and   collective   responsibilities,   both      public   and   private,   so   as   to   enhance   the   quality   of   life   in   and   of   the   city.   Similarly   they   should set out the bases of the new challenges and opportunities that urban landscape management represents for cities: "We   believe   that   the   urban   landscape   is   an   essential   feature   in   the   shared   living   environment   of   our   cities   that   deserves   special   attention   and protection. The   major   problem   in   cities   does   not   lie   in   the   lack   of   planning,   but   rather   in   the   lack   of   any   change   in   people’s   behavior   in   relation   to   the environment they live in and share." Or   maybe   it   is   the   fact   that   the   urban   landscape   is   the   work   of   humankind   that   justifies   it   being   granted   less   legal   protection   than   is   given   to   the landscape which is the work of mother nature? "We   believe   that   the   preservation   and   enhancement   of   the   values   of   the   urban   landscape   affect   key   aspects   of   urban   life.   Seen   from   this   viewpoint, the   cityscape   has   an   impact   on   various   aspects   of   our   daily   life   that   affect   the   quality   of   life,   such   as   health,   education   and   welfare,   which   must   be safeguarded." A   harmonious   urban   landscape   makes   a   city   understandable   and   expresses   the   self-esteem   of   the   government   and   its   citizens.   The   specific geographic environment in which a city lies and the culture of its inhabitants produce the image and identity that make up its landscape. "The urban landscape should bring out and highlight the natural and cultural heritage that guarantees the identity of each city and tells its history." This   is   in   line with what was   noted   during   the   recent   UNESCO   meeting "The   Historic   Urban   Landscape   as   a   tool   for   sustainable   urban   development", held on 9 September, 2015, precisely in the city of Quito. "We   believe   that   the   erosion   of   cities   by   the   intensive   use   of   the   landscape   should   bring   about   a   direct   benefit   for   the   community   through   tangible improvements in the landscape itself." This   pronounced   sensitivity   towards   interventions   on   the   landscape   requires   a   comprehensive   and   integrated   management   of   its   possible   uses,   one that   reconciles   maintaining   its   balance   with   the   performance   of   its   socio-economic   and   cultural   functions.   Urban   landscape   management   requires an   open,   transversal   and   collaborative   approach   that   accompanies   the   natural   evolution   of   the   city,   helping   to   integrate   and   consolidate   its   new signs of identity. "We   urge   governing   bodies   to   act   to   improve   the   landscape   and   ensure   its   harmonious   arrangement,   promoting   the   safety   and   livability   of   cities,   as well as promoting the citizens’ obligations and rights." The   urban   landscape   is   the   result   of   public   and   private   interventions   on   the   city.   These   two   sectors,   which   share   responsibility   for   shaping   the   real city, must also share responsibility for its sustainability, maintenance and improvement. "We   consider   the   active   participation   of   citizens   to   be   essential   for   maintaining   the   elements   that   make   up   the   visible   structure   of   the   city,   and   for exercising the rights relating to urban landscape preservation." The   optimization   of   the   harmonious,   aesthetic   and   civic   values   that   the   urban   landscape   contains   is   heavily   dependent   on   the   use   made   of   and   the activities   carried   out   in   cities.   Any   alteration   to   the   relationships   between   the   elements   that   make   up   the   landscape   can   lead   to   instability   that adversely affects citizens’ quality of life. "We   appeal   to   the   different   political   and   institutional   leaders   who   advocate   joining   forces   to   work   together   for   a   more   livable   and   more   human   city, overcoming vested interests on behalf of the common objective of improving shared living conditions in urban environments and spaces." The   idea   of   what   is   aesthetic   should   be   given   priority   in   the   right   to   a   harmonious   urban   landscape.   When   a   city   is   contemplated,   the   aspect   that   is above all borne in mind is functionality; however, its beauty must also be taken into account. The cult of beauty is part of human culture. "We understand the urban landscape to be above all a meeting of citizens, which brings together urban planning and civility." Two points that at the same time represent two of the main ingredients for sustainable urban development: As   far   as   ideas   are   concerned,   we   believe   that   New   Urban   Agenda   should   also   include   the   essential   role   of   broad-based   participatory   processes that   transform   the   experience   of   citizens   into   public   action,   which   we   have   called   the   co-production   mechanism   of   the   city.   This   mechanism   must be   seen   as   part   of   a   new   political   discourse   that   is   based   on   the   defense   of   the   right   to   the   collective   use   of   what   is   public,   and   what   is   private;   this overcomes   the   spectrum   of   public   space   from   the   urban   landscape   perspective   (including   guidelines,   criteria   and   objectives   for   preservation), finally converging in order to improve the quality of life in cities, so as to live in and especially to construct them together. As   regards   actions,   we   aspire   to   include   urban   landscape   management   in   the   New   Urban   Agenda   as   a   set   of   interventions   necessary   for   the promotion,   protection,   preservation   and   conservation   of   the   quality   of   life   of   human   beings   living   in   urban   environments.   The   urban   landscape   is   an open system that is in constant evolution and therefore requires treatment in accordance with its dynamic nature. For all the urban inhabitants of the planet, the city is their place, their time, their life.
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