This September 2012, 27 postgraduate students and young professionals from across Europe and further away came together for the 3rd European Urban Summer School (EUSS). A joint project of IFHP / ECTP-CEU / AESOP / ISOCARP and SCIBE, EUSS is hosted by the University of Westminster, at the School of Architecture and the Built Environment, in London.
This year’s ‘Times of Scarcity: Reclaiming the Possibility of Making’ entitled EUSS engaged participants in the quest for and development of new ways of thinking about and new tools in response to emerging issues. Throughout the short course of intense nine days instructive, illuminative seminars and workshops, which are held by many notable experienced academics and practitioners, participants were informed on the context of scarcity in the built environment where at the same time had the chance to develop and test this gained knowledge on the area of Bromley-by-Bow, a deprived area of East London.
Six different teams including participants and team tutors were formed to collaborate on the given task to identify a mode/type or effect of either materially or socially constructed scarcity in the area of Bromley-by-Bow.
The different nationalities and the backgrounds of the participants, that are ranged from architecture and planning to urban economy has been truly beneficial in terms of providing a strong interdisciplinary platform for sharing and debating ideas. Ideas generated on different approaches such as the issues of sustainability in the built environment and placemaking practices, having different initial ideas as well leading to different consequences. This led to fruitful proposals and focused on various dimensions on the issues scarcity; comprising design, policy, community-based suggestions and discrepancy between bottom-up planning and top-down planning.
Each team presented their ideas on the closing day of EUSS which manifested many creative and different tools to develop uptodate planning concepts. Although, it is hard to describe each of these meaningful outputs, some of them could be highlighted briefly. It started with a team displaying several videos to make audiences experience and feel the site area. Following this visual experience, next suggestions were made upon the new technologies and infrastructure redevelopment schemes for a better built environment, whereas other output proposed an efficient web access to improve connectivity thus communication. Yet, another idea was on the complexity of planning process and indirect relations between different problems, suggesting different actions strategies and goals; last but not the least, another team developed urban acupuncture to protect the study area from the impacts of capital flow.
Although the EUSS is over now, it does not yet mean to an end to this collaborative ideas in the context of scarcity, but actually a start to reflect the knowledge and put it into practice. All these creative and different responses encouraged to think outside the box and provide a wide international network which offers a platform for information flows between participants and tutors around the world.
Now we are 27 scarcity spies who work for EUSS around the world and seek for new creative ways to overcome urban scarcities.