Prospective visions for Greater Geneva
The Programme in Architecture, European Urbanization and Globalization, in collaboration with the Chair of Architecture and Territorial Planning at ETH Zurich, have been selected to work on the Prospective visions for Greater Geneva competition, organized by the Braillard foundation. The research project is entitled "Grand Geneve et Son Sol, Property, Ecology and Identity: A Prospect for a Socioecological Transition in a Cross-border Metropolis" and will start in early 2019 with the final results expected at the beginning of 2020.
Beyond the regular land-use plans and urbanistic projects at various scales, territorial design visions created in the context of public consultation are rare and unique projects potentially capable of changing the course of processes of production of territory and offering new guiding principles for the future for all protagonists involved. The case of the Greater Geneva cross-border metropolitan region—a case par excellence in Europe and the world—involves a high degree of complexity: its actors range from national and international governance institutions, to financial and knowledge clusters, to myriad local administrations, to citizens whose living and working places are spread across the region in both Switzerland and France.
At best, a territorial design vision for Greater Geneva will be able to propose how the current social and ecological challenges—including climate change, migration pressures, socioeconomic inequality and uneven development, demographic ageing, consumption of agricultural land and landscape, and the political complexity of the region—can be confronted by setting new goals and devising new approaches in the production of territory. Such a territorial design vision, the Leitbild, should be powerful—capable of inspiring the actors steering the territory and the citizens inhabiting it toward changing perceptions and more sustainable modes of practice. A successful territorial design vision requires first, a profound investigation of the challenges of a territory; second, a formulation of new mission statements and creation of alternative urban transformation models, and third, an inspired and efficient communication, through presentation of the project on the public stage, where it will incite debate of its possible realizations at various scales, from human to territorial.
During 2019, two master classes conducted by professors Milica Topalovic and Florian Hertweck will be organized in the form of joint design studios (2+2), thus carrying the program of the Greater Geneva Consultation into the educational sphere. The project will be deployed through the notion of land, as we consider it the essential ground of urbanism. The questions of land subdivision, distribution and use subsume central concerns of urbanism, both ecological and social. The state of our urban landscapes directly reflects our conceptions and practices linked to land organization: housing shortages, commuting, functional thinning of urban fabrics, ecological depletion, and pollution. We have been exploring the role of land for urbanism and architecture for ten years, and presented our results presented in various publications and exhibitions. Our team is highly motivated to deepen our approaches to land within this call for proposals, and to condense our insights into a convincing prospective project for the sustainable territorial transformation of Grand Genève.
ETH Zurich Chair of Architecture and Territorial Planning