The Territorial Turn

Plea for a Paradigm Shift in Urbanism

Urbanism is the art, science and technology of developing human settlements. It is less about the buildings themselves than about their arrangement, relationship to each other and connection to the environment. Crises have influenced the discipline of urbanism as much as they have had an impact on the development of the various urbanist movements. Currently, the pandemic but also the challenges of climate change, e.g. through increasing severe weather events, have once again confronted us with the fragility of the built environment - and thus raised the call for a rethinking of the goals and means of urban planning. In the face of immense environmental and social challenges, a paradigm shift in planning approaches is needed. 

The Territorial Turn describes the essential change in fundamental framework conditions and values in urbanism. This stands for a holistic, cross-sectoral and networked understanding of space, as well as for a close connection between the built environment and living systems - an approach that replaces the predominantly building-oriented attitude in specialist planning in favour of an increased appreciation of public space. Here, the space between buildings is understood as essential for ecological and social change, both in small-scale neighbourhoods and blocks, and at the level of districts and entire cities.

The projects are thus not defined by the boundaries of the site, but situate a planning to be developed in a larger context within the existing socio-ecological systems and cycles. This results in large, interconnected site systems that gain greater resilience through networked structures and go far beyond the goals of economic progress, modernity and technology. Territorial Turn thus follows the notion of an overarching spatial vision for a just and ecological city with a high quality of life for people and animals.

Symposium: Territorial Turn!

15th –16th of September 2022

The Alluvial Valley of the Lower, Mississippi River; Harold Fisk, 1944

The symposium Territorial Turn! takes place in Graz on the 15th and 16th of September 2022. The symposium, which is part of the New European Bauhaus Program, offers 1,5 days of presentations and discussions with international scholars and practitioners of the disciplines of Urbanism, Architecture, Landscape, Planning, Urban Studies and Design such as Susanne Eliasson (GRAU), Stefan Rettich (University of Kassel), Eva Pfannes (OOZE), Paola Viganò (EPFL Lausanne, IUAV Venice), who will present their perspectives on the Territorial Turn. 
It will also feature testimonies of Ali Madanipour (University of New Castle), Christian Schmid (ETHZ), Maarten Van Acker (University of Antwerpen),  Erik Wieërs (Flemish Government) and Judith Schwentner (City of Graz) and Chris Younès (École spéciale d'architecture and École nationale supérieure d'architecture de Paris La Villette). 
In addition, paper presentations will be followed by discussion panelled with Han Meyer (TU Delft ) and Marcel Smets (KU Leuven), among others.

Exhibition: Territorial Turn

2nd of February - 3rd of April 2022

(c) Martin Grabner

The exhibition Territorial Turn, developed by the Institute of Urbanism at TU Graz under the direction of Prof. Aglaée Degros, described the essential change in fundamental framework conditions and values in urbanism. It introduced courageous concepts, presented pioneering possible solutions and described fundamental urbanistic notions that contribute to actively thinking, planning, designing and implementing an ecological and equitable future of the city on a territorial scale. Seven selected practical examples from Nantes, Leipzig, Amsterdam, Leuven, Vienna, Péronnes-lez-Antoing and Trofaiach were used to demonstrate a future-oriented approach to urbanism.

"Territorial Turn - Plea for a Paradigm Shift in Urbanism" was an exhibition by the Institute of Urbanism in cooperation with Haus der Architektur.

Book: Basics of Urbanism

Aglaée Degros, Anna Bagarić, Sabine Bauer, ­Radostina Radulova-Stahmer, Mario Stefan, Eva Schwab
Zürich: Park Books, September 2021
ISBN 978-3-03860-260-6
EUR 38,00
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Urban design today is facing a multitude of challenges. Using twelve key terms, this book connects these challenges to projects in this field. It introduces concepts. presents possible solutions, and describes implementation processes. A special focus is put on the interaction of the built environment with living systems—an approach that is slowly gaining acceptance within the urban design community and that is setting aside a primarily building-oriented practice in favor of an increased appreciation of public space.
Basics of Urbanism defines and illustrates parameters with a clearly territorial approach to urban design. Space between buildings is treated as an essential structure for environmental and social change within small-scale neighborhoods and blocks, as well as at the level districts and even entire cities. This approach includes forward-thinking temporal aspects as well as the implementation of existing resources in the creation of new spatial qualities.
With contributions by Markus Bogensberger, Aglaée Degros, Eva Schwab, Marcel Smets. Interviews with Blaz Babnik, Stefan Bendiks, Ilka Cerpes, Harald Grießer, Gernot Kupfer, Robert Loher, Claudia Nutz, Ans Persoons, Katarina Psegionnaki, Michael Ryckewaert, Rudolf Scheuvens, Carol Schmitt, Marcel Smets, Maarten van Aacker, Bernd Vlay, Johann Zancanella, and Sibylla Zech.