ACE General Assembly – How to achieve quality in the built environment: Quality assurance tools and systems

4 toukokuun, 2019
FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE, Innsbruck (Austria), Technikerstrasse 21

Last year, European Ministers of Culture, along with other institutions and NGOs, highlighted in the Davos Declaration “a trend towards a loss of quality in… the built environment… all over Europe”, characterised by “the trivialisation of construction, the lack of design values, …the growth of faceless urban sprawl and irresponsible land use, the deterioration of historic fabric, and the loss of regional traditions and identities”.

Yet, as stated in the Declaration, a high-quality built environment makes a “crucial contribution… to achieving a sustainable society, characterised by a high quality of life, cultural diversity, individual and collective well-being, social justice and cohesion, and economic efficiency”.

The Council of the EU decided in November 2018 to create under the Work Plan for Culture 2019-2022 an expert group on High-quality Architecture and Built Environment for Everyone. Experts designated by EU Member States will exchange on best practices with respect to “multi-disciplinary and participatory governance models contributing to social inclusion and sustainable development of neighbourhoods”, putting focus on “architecture as a discipline that encompasses the right balance between cultural, social, economic, environmental and technical aspects for the common good”.

We are happy to read such a quote from an official European institution. We want to build on this.

The creation of this expert group represents a huge step forward for the architectural profession in Europe. The OMC group shall start its work 2020, this year should be used to define topics for its work. The Innsbruck conference aims to put one topic on the table.

While there is a broad consensus on the fact that high-quality built environments have positive impacts on people’s everyday lives, the characteristics of a high-quality architecture need discussion and possible specification.

The conference will aim to bring together architects, academics and experts from local public authorities, national governments and the EU institutions in order to call into question the concept of quality architecture and discuss existing tools, policies and good practices that enable to ensure that high-quality architecture is actually achieved in the built environment. In particular, the following questions will be discussed:

– What does high-quality architecture mean? How can it be defined? What are its main features?
– What tools and policies at local/ regional/ national levels to assess and guarantee high-quality in the built environment?

Ultimately, this conference is designed to be a first opportunity to think about the key questions that the Council’s expert group will have to investigate and to place the topic of quality and quality assessment as an important topic for discussion.


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