Such systemic approaches are already central to the main environmental strategies in Europe, such as the newly adopted European Union’s action plan for the Circular Economy, the European Innovation Partnership’s Horizon 2020 programme and the emphasis on Water and Smart Cities in the COP21 process.
The HPF’s Urban Lab was an excellent opportunity for cross-disciplinary collaboration, the precondition for achieving sustainable systemic solutions. Management of resources, integrated into urban planning and architecture, proved to be ‘the way to go’. Moreover, the decentralisation of water management for the easier recovery and reuse of resources from wastewater can also result in new local businesses.
The proposed urban projects for Lloret included creating green areas as ‘rain gardens’ to form part of future storm water management; creating urban productive landscapes for local food; and water reuse-oriented rehabilitation of some hotels. Proposals focused on diversifying the economy through local food production, educational programmes, smart city interventions, yearly art and music festivals, sport events and, of course, improving mobility in the region. This comprehensive new approach was warmly welcomed by the Municipality of Lloret de Mar as well as by the business sector.
It is professionally fulfilling to see that solutions beneficial for the environment, including reducing water and energy demand through local recycling, and encouraging local food production, are also seen by local businesses as an opportunity. Only when all stakeholders see the benefits is it realistic to expect that these innovations will find a permanent place in Lloret.
Participants in the Urban Lab agreed that sustainability and resilience will only be achieved through cross-sectoral and cross-disciplinary collaboration, where urban planning goes hand-in-hand with the management of resources (water, food, energy). The Urban Lab provided an excellent and creative environment for such planning and we hope it will guide the future urban management of Lloret de Mar.
I would like to thank the organisers, the HPF Chairman Ismael Fernandez, Claudia Lozano (Secretary General and Coordinator of Urban Lab) and Maricela Camacho; our hosts, the Municipality of Lloret de Mar, headed by the Mayor Jaume Dulsat, the members of the Business Bureau of Tourism of Lloret de Mar, the Convention Bureau and the team of experts and professionals that worked intensively throughout the Urban Lab: Manfred Schrenk (ISOCARP, the team leader of the Urban Lab), Desiree Martinez (IFLA), Amos Brandeis (ISOCARP), Peter Bassin (ECTP-CEU), Cezar Augusto Ruiz (FIU) Aina Soler, Alberto Martin, Jonas Bjorklund, Karoline Nilssen and the students of Architecture and planning Sónia Gómez, MoniKa Rovira and Marta Esqueu.
As a partner of the HPF, the IWA’s Cities of the Future program brought water management expertise to the Urban Lab. Other partners included ISOCARP and ECTP-CEU covering urban planning, architecture and urban economy,FIU covering mobility and IFLA covering landscape architecture.