Urban Maestro: New Urban Design Governance Infrastructures

By: Simona Paplauskaite, Colm mac Aoidh & Frederick Serroen

Team bouwmeester maitre architecte, Brussels


Lecture held on May, 07, 2021


The quality of the urban environment derives from various interventions and policy decisions over time and reflects the collective work of multiple stakeholders – public, private, and community.

While European cities have developed sophisticated laws and regulations (‘hard power’) to secure diverse public interest objectives through the governance of urban design, the quality of the resulting urban places can be disappointing. Often the outcomes are not aligned with commonly shared objectives such as creating environmental sustainability, human scale, land use mix, conviviality, inclusivity, or supporting cultural meaning. This shows the limits of formal framework within which the urban developments are planned and delivered.

Over the last two years, Urban Maestro project aimed to understand and encourage innovation in the field of urban design governance through a better knowledge on alternative non-regulatory (‘soft power’) approaches and their contribution to the quality of the built environment. As a result, it selected and highlighted a panorama of innovative practices that can be used as a source and inspiration for future policy updates supporting the informal approach to the governance of urban design.

In this the website offers several reports, papers and a wide display of practices and institutions.

About Simona, Colm and Frederick

Simona holds diplomas in both architecture and landscape architecture obtained in Vilnius Gediminas Technical University and Kingston University London. In parallel to working in fields of landscape architecture and research, she leads artistic practice that focuses on the use of scientific and artistic tools that help to mitigate environmental risks and increase life quality in urban conditions. After 8 years of work experience in various architecture and urban planning offices in the Netherlands, Denmark, the United Kingdom, and Belgium, Simona joined the Bouwmeester team to run the Urban Maestro project.

With background in visual communication design, Colm studied at Dublin Institute of Technology, London Metropolitan University and KU Leuven, working for 9 years at various architectural practices in the UK and Belgium. He currently lives and works in Brussels, where alongside other projects he writes and edits for academic journals, books, and magazines.

A historian by training, Frederik also holds a master’s degree in urban planning and European urban cultures. After two years with the NGO City Mine[d] in charge of the PRECARE project, and in particular of the temporary use of unoccupied buildings in Brussels, Frederik worked at the Flemish cities research centre before joining the Brussels bouwmeester team.

Length: 47:06 min


[EN]   Berlin Brandenburg 2040 was initiated by the Habitat Unit in cooperation with Projekte International and provides an open stage and platform for multiple contributions of departments and students of the Technical University Berlin and beyond. The project is funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation.

[DE]   Berlin Brandenburg 2040 wurde initiiert von der Habitat Unit in Kooperation mit Projekte International und bietet eine offene Plattform für Beiträge von Fachgebieten und Studierenden der Technischen Universität Berlin und darüberhinaus. Das Projekt wird von der Robert Bosch Stiftung gefördert.

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