Home > urban research > “CITIES WITHOUT LIMITS” EURA CONFERENCE 2011


In June I have taken part in the EURA Conference 2011 “Cities Without Limits” in Copenhagen. Here you can read my report from the conference. Specially thanks to the Lunds University that gave me possibility to participate.


The annual conference at the urban research field was held in Copenhagen in June 22-25th. There were presented 189 research works from all over the globe and even larger number of researchers has been involved.

The conference was organised by Centre for Strategic Urban Research in cooperation with University of Aalborg. In turn Centre for Strategic Urban Research was formed by Centre for Forest, Landscape and Planning (University of Copenhagen) and Aarhus School of Architecture. The centre is funded by Realdania Research.

The conference aims at contributing to recent trends of a relational understanding of cities. At all levels, urban boundaries are being erased. Global economic relations and local labour and housing markets are creating a trans-localness and made cities increasingly depending upon on one another.

“The City without Limits” conceptualises these phenomena across disciplines: architecture, planning, geography and social sciences.

Part1_The Topic

The conference has began and finished with several presentations from key note speakers.

One of them was presentation given by Jan Gehl (Danmark) that inspired everyone to use a bike in everyday life. Jan Gehl is one of the most experienced urban reasercher and designer, that focuses on the quality of public realm and connectivity in cities.

Another remarkable presentation was given by Paula Vigano from the Universitá IUAV di Venezia (Italy). In her presentation Extreme City she talked about urban environments being veritable bridges—as opposed to walls or sinks—between important ecologies and biodiversity, and she indicates the climate change as an important connector. She talked among other things about how design projects around the Venice region could also reveal and confront the social distress which pervades the residents of rising waters.

Other leading speakers were Lars Winther (University of Copenhagen, Denmark), Mauritz de Hoog (TU Delft, The Netherlands), Tim Gresswell (University of London, United Kingdom) and Nina-Marie Lister (Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada).

During next 2 days of the conference participants had a chance to listen to very condensed information from their colleagues reserachers.

Conference papers have been presented for within five tracks:

1  “Conceptualising cities”
2  “Governance in cities unbound”
3  “Residential liveability in urban regions”
4  “Resilient metropolitan landscapes”
5  “The city of talent – knowledge economy and urbanity”.

A 6th “open track” was launched for international research group to present joint research findings.

Several sessions have been doubled in order to handle the number of presentations.

The sessions were held in the conference center at the Radisson Hotel in Frederiksberg.

The receptions took place at the University of Copenhagen, Center for Forest, Landscape and Planning and at the City Hall of Copenhagen.
Part 2_The presentations and the knowledge exchange.

Every participant had 15 – 20min to present the research work with following questions and discussion. Due to many members presentations were going on in parallel at the same time but in different rooms. Someone have noticed at all tracks looked very interestingly, so it always felt like you miss something substantial behind the back.

It was obvious that all the presentations needed to be recorded to give a chance to everyone to see them, reflect on the topic and may be even start an online discussion after the conference.

Here are some key words from presentations I have been able to listen.

Track 1_Conceptualizing Cities

“Physical and Social networks are closely interwined and the environment is shaped by interrelated networks of production and cooperation on various scale levels. The built urban environment assumes a critical role in the system as it heavily impacts on the physical processes of encounter and exchange. The results deliver missing links between the functional and physical consideration of space as a catalyst for economic activity.”
Urban as Sites of Multi-Scalar Spatial Relations by Anne Wiese, TUM, Germany
Case study: Hamburg Region

Track 2_Governance in Cities unbound

“New experiences of metropolitan planning in Europe have revealed that border crossing initiatives of urban development are often constrained by structures of consolidated power, generating non-cooperative behaviour from stakeholders. The paper investigates the hypothesis that the ability to respond to the new goals of inter-municipal development depends on the capacity of local governments to “realign” their power relationships and to build solid coalitions of actors with neighbouring jurisdictions, private developers, property owners and civic groups”.
Crossing Borders Spatial Development by Federico Savini,University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Case study: Paris Region

Track 3_Residential Livability in Urban Regions

“Residential choice is considered as an process through which families evaluate over time the relative “qualities” (sensitive, social and functional) of a given context in relation with their mode of living, that is the various activities (dwelling, development of social relations, mobility practices etc) shaping their everyday life. As a typological analysis result we categorized households into seven “residential lifestyles”. Two main groups were highlighted as the contrast between ways of living typical of (modern) industrial society and those originating from (post-modern) postindustrial society.”
Differentiation in Family Lifestyle by Marie-Paule Thomas, Laboratory of Urban Sociology,EPFL, Switzerland
Case study:Lausanne and Bern

Track 4_Resilient Metropolitan Landscapes

“One of the key questions of global relevance is: How can the value of local be protected, reframed and recognised within the fast changing cultural landscapes of 21st century? The paper investigates a particular kind of driving force behind reuse practices, those related to local fashion industries and associated creative spatial practices. The emphasis is on the potential of “fashion” in broadest terms – as commodity, as driver of consumption, as creativity, and as contemporarily culture, and the focus is on distinctly local energies and responses.”
Fashion and Reuse Urbanism by Davisi Boontharm, National University of Singapore
Case study:Tokyo, Bangkok and Singapore

Track 5_ City of Talent. Knowledge economy and urbanity.

“Today collectiveness is considered as an essential constituent for the production of knowledge and innovation that has consequently transformed “relational qualities” into procedures. The hyper-collectivisation is also justified by the challenge of cities and regions to deal wit the unstable transnational mobility of a highly educated and cosmopolitan  workforce.
In order to attract and deliver a “pleasant stay” to them an hyper-valorisation of the communal facilities and of residential environment is functional to ease and speed their access to the working and collective life.”
Hyper-Collectivisation for the Multitude by Sabrina Puddu, University of Cagliari, Italy

Track 6_Open Track

“Urban shrinkage has become a new normality for a growing number of European cities and urban regions. It is a result of different, but strongly interconnected processes: uneven economic development, demographic change, shifts in land use and urban form, as well as housing preferences and lifestyles. These factors will increasingly impact on urban and regional development in the future.
Research identifies major complexes of causes of urban shrinkage and discusses which types and trajectories of shrinkage do exist with respect to causes but also the embeddedness of shrinking cities into different national and local context.”

Causes, Trajectories and Consequences of Urban Shrinkage by Dieter Rink, Annegret Haase, Katrin Grosmann, Matthias Bernt, UFZ, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Germany
Case studies: Leipzig-Halle, Liverpool, Sosnowiec-Bytom, Ostrava, Genoa and Donetsk-Makijiwka.

After the conference was finished all participants were invited to Copenhagen City Hall for a warm reception. The city architect Tina Saaby gave the greeting welcome speech to researches and described a City Hall building as a good example of democracy and accessibility in Copenhagen. The building is open for everyone and there is no security check at the entrance that makes everyone welcome in.

Part 3_The networking – establishing a global network of Urban Researches.

The last day of the conference was organised as mobile workshops as 6 bustours based on different topics.

Participants could chose to look at the Ørestad development, Copenhagen Fingerplan implementation, Peri-urban landscapes in greater Copenhagen, Western Harbour area in Malmoe or even take a bicycle tour to look at the Copenhagen city from the cyclist perspective.

Mobile workshops and receptions gave a great chance for networking. People exchanged opinions, reflections and contact information.

As a local person from Copenhagen I was asked for city tours for my colleagues from abroad. As the weather was fine we visited Christiania, the free community inside Copenhagen city center. The open green area with the lake around gave an unusual experience after the noisy and polluted city center.

Here the atmosphere was perfect to reflect on all those studies and research works we have been listening for 2 days. Such an informal communication within our young age researchers group made us think to stay in touch for the future. So we all decided to meet again.. next year..at the Urban Research Conference 2012!

Next Year Conference

The Urban Research Conference EURA 2012 will take place in Vienna (Austria) in September.

The outlined tracks (provisional):
1 – “Aim, Process and Deficits of the JPI “Urban Europe”
2 – “Patterns & Drivers of long-term urban dynamics”
3 – “Competitive and inclusive metropolitan development”
4 – “Vulnerable & Resilient Cities”
5 – “Metabolism of Urban Areas – resources, energy and land use”
6 – “Urban Networks, design & Connectivity”
7 – “Innovation hubs & Living Labs”

So submit your paper and see you next year!

References: Cities without limits. Book of abstracts.
Oficial webpage of the conference: http://www.eura2011.org
Pictures by Miguelangel Ajuriaguerra and the author.

Categories: urban research
  1. June 21, 2012 at 4:17 pm


    I,m Wail Houssin, Prof. architect.

    Would you please sent more information about this conference, and all the conferences in the future.

    Thank you alot.

  2. February 14, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Amazing blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or
    go for a paid option? There are so mny chooices out there that I’m totally
    confused .. Any tips? Many thanks!

    • February 14, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      Hi Chau!
      Thanks for your comment.
      I can advice you to write about that you are interested in, better short texts but regularly, then long ones but not very often.
      Use pictures! It makes it easier to read.
      About readings, I can recommend Rain Gardens by Nigel Dunnet, if you are interested in sustainable use of rain water. Let me here what is your profession about.

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