Fallece Peter Hall

Peter Hall ha fallecido a los 82 años de edad. Figura tremendamente activa, defensor impenitente de la planificación (en una concepción muy suya, hay que decir), foco de polémicas en los 80 (por ejemplo la controversia en torno a las Urban Enterprise Zones, para algunos germen de la regeneración de los Docklands; ver debate con D. Massey entre otros aquí) y finalmente heraldo del urbanismo sostenible en su versión más popular. Además, por supuesto, escritor: Cities of Tomorrow es para muchos el primer acceso a la historia del urbanismo moderno; esa pequeña joya, London Voices, London Lives. Tales from a Working Capital, por mencionar sólo algunos.

Peter Hall_multipliciudades

Tuve dos intercambios de correspondencia con él. El primero fue a raíz de su intervención en un congreso organizado por la Consejería de Medio Ambiente y Ordenación del Territorio de la Comunidad de Madrid y METREX en 2006 — algunos recordarán el evento por el enfrentamiento bastante subido de tono entre Ramón López de Lucio y el entonces Director General de la Consejería, Enrique Porto. El report que hizo Hall tras varios días de visitas oficiales a instalaciones del área metropolitana fue un poco demasiado optimista y, algo indignado y bastante ingenuo, le escribí un mensaje de tres páginas post festum. Me respondió con una frase recomendándome que leyera el texto que iba a publicarse en breve en una revista británica… la verdad es que la cosa no cambió mucho.

De nuevo intercambiamos mensajes con motivo de la preparación del cuestionario que montamos desde la revista Urban y que más tarde se publicaría en una versión extendida con un análisis propio en Cities. Para esta última Hall amplió su respuesta y recuerdo que me envió las últimas notas en la nochevieja de 2012, hacia las 20:00 de la tarde, como él decía “a punto de descorchar la botella”; en fin, con 80 años entonces, da una idea de su energía y su adicción a esta disciplina para la que es ya un mito contemporáneo.

Les dejo con sus respuestas a mis preguntas y un vídeo de una de sus ponencias:

1. Although all urban formations are, in themselves, a network of contradictions – which vary considerably depending on their locations and social and political contexts – what in your opinion is the most pressing conflict involving contemporary cities, one that most deserves investigation or to which you personally have devoted your greatest energy?

The main conflict is the generation of more sustainable urban forms and modes of functioning. Though it has always been a central concern of planners to create better relationships among home, work, services and transport, this has come to the forefront in the last decade, as planners have faced the challenge of global warming. Urban planning is by no means the sole means to achieve more sustainable cities; standards for building and for waste disposal, for example, are equally important. But it plays a central role in the battery of tools.

2. What are the main fields of action for solving this conflict, and which channels should be used to direct those efforts?

I would mention three possible fields of intervention. First, reduced investment in adapting cities to mass motorization, with concentration on seamless public transport systems with easy interchanges, and better provision for cycling – especially segregated, safe bicycle lanes and bikeways; reallocation of street space to public transport, cycling and walking. Second, promoting compact, mixed-use – but not necessarily high-density – urban forms served by good public transport, including new compact suburbs and satellites. Third, building discrete new settlements, compact in form, served by excellent public transport links to nearby cities.

3. How can your discipline contribute with respect to this task?

Planning helps to improve our analysis of cities, achieving better understanding of the ways they work, and can be made to work, through close comparative empirical study of particular cases – especially ‘best practice’ examples of places that already score highly in sustainability terms. Planning’s capacity for synthesis is also important: developing the optimal bundle of policies – regulatory, fiscal, physical – to achieve sustainability.

4. Could you mention a policy, program, plan or even a theoretical intervention that could serve as an example of that line of work?

There are numerous examples of European (and some other) cities that in the past decade have been widely cited as examples of best practices: Hammarby Sjöstad in Stockholm, a medium– high-density, inner-city area on the site of an old industrial plant, particularly remarkable for its treatment of waste; Västra Hamnen (Western Harbour) in Malmö, a similar redevelopment of a derelict shipyard; Copenhagen, for achieving one of the world’s highest levels of bicycle use; the so-called VINEX settlements in the Netherlands, mainly satellite towns and urban extensions to major cities, served by excellent public transport, and Freiburg, the medium-sized south German university city that has emerged as the model of sustainable development on every criterion.

Advertisements

About asevillab

https://multipliciudades.org/acerca-de/
This entry was posted in Sin categoría and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Fallece Peter Hall

  1. Igor Calzada says:

    Interesante lo que recoges. Yo estuve con él en la Bartlett hace poco. Gracias por estas notas. Salud

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s