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REAL CORP 2020

SHAPING URBAN CHANGE
LIVABLE CITY REGIONS FOR THE 21st CENTURY

25th International Conference on Urban Planning
and Regional Development in the Information Society

150 YEARS of RWTH AACHEN UNIVERSITY
1st Aachen Urban Planning Conference

Currently different trends can be seen in urban development around the globe, but there are some common things:

  • historic administrative boundaries do not represent real urban structures any more, cities expand beyond these boundaries and form metropolitan regions, which may even result in transnational functional urban areas and agglomerations;
  • in almost all cases it is of utmost importance to coordinate urban development between several governments, administrative authorities and institutions on different levels, but this task turns out to be a quite difficult one;
  • cities and regions are hungry for resources and see themselves opposed to density and environmental problems as well as other threats, nevertheless sustainability, resilience, high quality of life and considerate exploitation of natural resources are central goals of urban development;
  • new technologies and digitisation play an essential role in the development of cities, urban regions and metropolises – without appropriate urban, environmental and mobility technologies it would hardly be possible to see urban development, maintenance of functionality and creation of livable urban areas.

While cities in Asia, particularly in China and India, but also in Japan and South-East Asia, and in parts of South America, Africa and the Gulf region currently grow and will further grow in a fast and unstoppable way for some time, and while further megacities, urban agglomerations and metropolises far beyond 10 million inhabitants arise, also many European, North American and Australian cities are growing – but far more slowly than in the regions mentioned above; nevertheless even here a strong dynamic urban development towards city regions can be observed.

In many of the urban areas and metropolises of the world it is the core task to build and maintain the absolute minimum of infrastructure for survival of their inhabitants – drinking water supply and wastewater disposal as basic elements –, other parts of the world face the problem to design processes of change in a way to keep and even improve the existing high quality of life.

In some parts of the world cities and metropolises are growing undamped and hundreds of millions of people are attracted to cities. However, in numerous European cities and agglomerations we can currently see two kinds of processes which may appear to be contradictory at first glance: reurbanisation and regionalisation. City centres and centrally located urban quarters become more attractive, especially for people who (re-)discover the benefits of urban life. This return to core cities as a place of life has a lot of reasons, but it is strongly linked to changes in the working environment and the trend to combine working and living much more as it were possible in suburban fringe areas. In this regard, well equipped and multi-functional urban quarters do have their advantages. At the same time we have a regionalisation of urban issues, mostly because cities get more and more under pressure.

Many city centres are lacking affordable housing space, whereas there are plenty of vacancies in the surroudings. Wrong allocations create unnecessary commuter flows. Regarding this background, we need intercommunal cooperations to find the necessary balance between different development dynamics. Current extensive discussions on “Low Carbon Cities” or “Smart Cities”, that is the question for future development of cities under the conditions of climate change, energy saving technologies and the scarcity of fossile resources, turn up concrete questions of future urban development and design, which can only partially be answered today.

Even if cities and villages are changing in such a way, they keep being places of (collective) memory and recognition; places where bonds are established. Identity and homeland – terms that are supposed to designate such qualities of a city – are, however, not based solely on the familiarity of a living environment whose essential characteristics have hardly changed over a long period of time, but can be traced back to the specific atmospheric qualities of a city, a neighbourhood or a region. Therefore, not only the architectural heritage with its historical buildings, streets, open spaces and districts is decisive for the identity of a city, but also the ability to create new, convincing and in the best case unmistakable atmospheres within the framework of new urban development. This is particularly true for cities that hardly have any historical districts – or for large urban landscapes, for which such small-scale districts are hardly the sole image bearers.

REAL CORP 2020 aims to discuss strategies and concepts for quality change management in the light of the challenges outlined above, which arise in neighbourhoods, cities, urban regions and metropolitan areas. This also raises the question of who the actual actors of current urban, regional and metropolitan regional development are and what role planners can play in the corresponding scenarios.

The renowned RWTH Aachen in the historical European medium sized city of Aachen, in the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia with its rich mining and industrial tradition, located in a cross-border city region in the border triangle Germany-Belgium-Netherlands, is the ideal place to discuss these developments and challenges with experts from all over the world. 

Present your work and research activities at REAL CORP 2020! You are invited to submit your proposals for papers and presentations online through MY.CORP especially on the following topics:

  • Transforming City Regions –  Constant Changes on all Scales
    • regional urban planning and design of the city region,
    • Cross-Border-City-Regions, International Building Exhibitions (IBA),
    • Standardisation trough technological development vs. the quest for uniqueness and peculiarity,
    • Competition, collaboration, coopetition – within and amongst city regions,
    • Tradition vs. Branding: Keeping and creating the identity, the spirit, the emotions of cities, regions and places. Is “branding” the tool for new places to create identity or for existing places to “upgrade”?
    • Demographic Change – Aging Population, influx of youth, competition for talent, local/regional/international/global migration,
    • Global Urban and Metropolitan Networks – the New Silk Road as a prototype for the implementation of global mega-structures,
    • New Cities – Capital Cities and Thematic Cities; Indonesia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, China, Saudi Arabia, ...
  • Rise of Metropolises
    • 10, 20, 30 mln … more than just a bunch of cities, a different kind of human settlements,
    • How to manage metropolises and keep them running,
    • Metro-Matrix: theory and application,
    • Shaping the metropolis
  • Climate Change and Imminent Natural Disasters
    • mitigation, adoption, smart technologies, resource efficiency,
    • post-carbon cities and regions: sustainable, resilient, liveable
  • Re-Mixing the City: Concepts and Perspectives for Mixed Use in Future Cities
    • concepts and perspectives for mixed use in future cities
    • thinking urban factory – keeping and restoring production sites within the urban fabric
    • high up into the sky and deep down into the earth – concepts for highrise development and utilizing underground space for urban densification
    • The challenge of affordable housing
    • spatial and regional planning in the context of sustainable management of mineral resources
  • Cities for all – Integration, Public Welfare, Participation and Co-Creation
  • Smart Country & Co: What about the Countryside?
  • Cities and Technologies, Real Smart Cities, Intelligent Cities – High Tech and High Quality of Life: Best Practises and Concepts for the Future
    • digitisation, urban, environmental and mobility technologies
    • integrated/holistic approaches
    • sectoral solutions (energy/smart grid; resource management; people mobility; freight transport and logistics; smart government; data and information infrastructures; smart buildings, smart housing, smart home; smart health, education, entertainment; smart retail; internet of things; urban farming; safety and security; …)
    • governmental vs. industrial vs. civil society driven approaches
    • Things hardly mentioned in “Smart Cities propaganda” – the “other side of the city” (informal settlements; refugees camps; brownfields; traditional industrial areas, slaughterhouses, …; huge logistic and retail zones; waste (water) treatment; cemeteries; “no-go areas”; urban heat islands …)
    •  “Smart Cities” and/or “Intelligent Cities”
  • Real Estate Development and Urban Planning: Competitors or Partners?
  • Role of Urban Planning and Urban Planners in Shaping Cities and City Regions of the Future
    • experts, advisors, masterplanners, moderators/mediators, designers, integrators, technicians, …?
    • from local to global: cross-border and international planning on different scales,
    • cultural differences in urban planning and the use of technology
  • Technology-driven Resources and Tools for Urban and Regional Planning
    • evolution of GIS and DSS (Decision Support Systems),
    • regional, interregional, international, intergovernmental information and monitoring systems,
    • from Building Information Modelling (BIM) to City Information Modelling (CIM) and “Digital Twins” of Cities,
    • perspectives of “Big Data”, “Blockchain” and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in planning context,
    • planning and design with Virtual Reality (VR),
    • consumer 3d printing (c3dp), 3D printing in large scale,  …,
    • sources of information (remote sensing, LIDAR/Laser Scanning, drones/unmanned vehicles, floating vehicle data, data from mobile devices, real time data, sensor networks, ...),
    • accessibility of information and data (Open Government Data (OGD), Open Source and commercial data sources, user and crowd generated content, news from INSPIRE, international and global data initiatives, …; data centers),
    • mindset – trust or mistrust in data, instruments, methods, processes?
  • Demographic Change: Aging, Rise of the Young, Migration
  • Global Urban and Metropolitan Networks – the New Silk Road
  • New Cities around the Globe – Capital Cities and Thematic Cities