European Prize for Urban Public Space – Special Recognition for City of Copenhagen

The European Prize for Urban Public Space is an initiative of the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB) and was established following the exhibition “The Reconquest of Europe”, which was held in the CCCB in 1999, in order to offer testimony to the process of rehabilitation of public spaces that has been occurring in many European cities. The European Prize for Urban Public Space is a biennial competition organized by seven European institutions with the aim to recognize and encourage the recovery projects and defense of public space in our cities.

The aim of the Prize is to recognise and foster the public character of urban spaces and their capacity for fostering social cohesion. While acknowledging the ambiguities inherent in the notion of public space, this Prize – the only one of its kind in Europe – is distinctive in both recognising and promoting a public space that is at once public (open and universally accessible) and urban. A full list of those winning projects and those which received special mention click here .

The list includes joint winners:

Caldes de Montbui (Spain), 2015

The orchards around the town are the focus of an integral project of restoration which restores the old irrigation system of thermal waters, reactivates agricultural activity and opens up a network of pedestrian pathways.

Szczecin (Poland), 2015
A place where sixteen demonstrating workers were killed in the 1970s has become the new Solidarity Square while also forming the roof of an underground museum on the recent history of a city which was seriously damaged during the Second World War.
European prize

National Museum in Szczecin – Dialogue Centre Przełomy | KWK Promes Robert Konieczny

Special mention:

Ablain-Saint-Nazaire (France), 2014
An elliptical structure which seems to hover over the landscape expresses the fragility of peace and shows the names of more than half a million victims of different nationalities who lost their lives during the First World War on the hill of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette.
Kiev (Ukraine), 2016
An empty lot is transformed into a memorial for the victims of the EuroMaidan protests and, on an everyday basis, has a productive role as a self-managed community vegetable garden.
London (United Kingdom), 2015
The windowless facades and neglected surrounds of a public library and municipal sports centre dating back to the 1960s acquire centrality and civic representativeness thanks to the addition of a theatrical loggia, the new Virginia Gardens and improved shop fronts along the adjacent main high street.
Sint-Jans-Molenbeek (Belgium), 2015
The construction of a monumental porch in a courtyard garden makes it possible to accommodate concerts, markets and a wide range of activities for residents in a neighbourhood with a complex and fragmented social composition.
The Jury of the Prize has specially created the category of Special Recognition in order to emphasize the merit of the city of Copenhagen in its firm and persistent commitment to a public space that gives priority to cyclists and pedestrians. It hopes in this way to draw attention to its determination and persistence in reconquering public space from private vehicles, which formerly overran it, so that it can be used by pedestrians and cyclists. All of these policies are the result of a commitment to ensure that a good quality of urban life is available for everyone. This resolve is now patent in the considerable number of interventions supported by the metropolitan area of Copenhagen among the 25 finalists in this most recent award of the Prize.

 

DECISION OF THE JURY:

For its enlightened policy-making and seriousness in its present and future vision of the city. Reflecting this enlightenment is the fact that, among the 25 finalist works of the 2016 European Prize for Urban Public Space, several are from Copenhagen and its metropolitan area. All of them show great determination to encourage a comfortable presence of people in their urban surroundings. A commitment to the quality of life in urban public space throughout the city is expressed in innovative interventions related with such important issues as mobility or water management. The city has invested in democratic, sustainable mobility with an emphasis on public transport and bicycle traffic rather than cars, while also highlighting proper use and enjoyment of its water resources. With this Special Recognition, the Jury recognises the reconquest of the city as a role model which could be taken up worldwide.”

To read about Copenhagen’s Climate Adaptation Plan featuring Tåsinge Plads, Copenhagen case study.

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