The Centro de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) has just announced The European Prize for Urban Public Space 2012. The European Prize for Urban Public Space is a biennial competition that aims to recognise and encourage the creation, recovery and improvement of public space in the understanding that the state of public space is a clear indicator of the civic and collective health of our cities.
With ideas of equality, plurality and progress constituting part of its very foundations, the European city is today facing new challenges arising from its exponential growth and increasing social and cultural complexity. Some of society’s main problems are radically expressed in the city’s public spaces. Segregation, rampant construction, homogenisation and privatisation of urban space are some of the phenomena that are putting into jeopardy the ideal of the open, plural and democratic community that has always been so distinctive of the European city. Architecture and urban planning are essential tools that determine the collective life of cities, conditioning their use and the political and social relations they contain. Hence, cross-fertilisation between the disciplines that study, interpret and transform the urban phenomenon should be encouraged. In this spirit, the CCCB and the Institut Français d’Architecture decided in 2000 to establish the European Prize for Urban Public Space in order to bring together and publicise the interventions that promote the public character of the city and its capacity for social integration the length and breadth of the continent.
The Prize, which is honorific and awarded on a biannual basis, is conceded both to the architect and the public authority (city council or political representative) that has taken the political decision to carry out the intervention and frequently to guarantee its financing as well. The Prize is not so concerned – either exclusively or as a priority – with large-scale urban planning operations as it is with large or small interventions of urban surgery that are primarily aimed at improving the conditions of life of citizens. Priority is assigned, then, to architecture with a social vocation rather than to works with an aesthetic emphasis or spectacular intent. Moreover, although it preserves local particularities, the Prize seeks to extol the features that are common to urban planning interventions throughout the geography of Europe and thereby strives to foster and to give greater prominence to a certain European identity in the sphere of architecture.
To enter, you must register and submit your entry (of a work that created, recovered or improved public space within the geographic limits of the Council of Europe in the years 2010 and 2011) by 19 January 2012 via www.publicspace.org. For more information, you can visit www.publicspace.org or download the Public Space 2012 Dossier.