Dansk Byplanlaboratorium - The Danish Town Planning Institute

The Danish Town Planning Institutes



Other Institutes

1 st I N T E R N A T I O N A L C O N G R E S S 28 - 31 / 5 / 1998

European Council of Town Planners

Liaison committee of the national associations and institutes of town planners in the member countries of the European Union

Conseil Européen des Urbanistes

Comité de liaison entre les associations and instituts nationeaux d’urbanistes dans les pays membres de l’Union Européenne


European Council of Town Planners’ Principles for Planning Cities

In June 1994, the Municipality of Athens and the Greek Planner’s Association held a conference with the title: "TOWARDS THE NEW CHARTER OF ATHENS: FROM THE ORGANIC CITY TO THE CITY OF THE CITIZENS". Delegates discussed the effects of the Athens Charter of 1933 on the development of European planning thought and practice, and proposed that a new Charter should be produced to address the problems and opportunities now facing European cities.

The idea was followed up in November 1995, when the European Council of Town Planners (ECTP) held a day conference in Athens, hosted by the Greek Planner’s Association and the Ministry of Environment. At that event it was unanimously confirmed that a new Charter was needed to steer the development of European cities into the 21st Century. A special working commission was set up by the ECTP to prepare a document for discussion consisting of Jed Griffiths (England), Charles Lambert (France), Flemming Thornaes (Denmark) and Alexander Tripodakis (Greece).

This charter is the result of the efforts of the commission and debates at the General Assembly meetings, as well as consultations with national associations and institutes of planners in eleven countries of the European Union, (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, France, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, and United Kingdom), united to form the European Council of Town Planners, between mid 1995 and early 1998. ECTP corresponding members in six other countries (Cyprus, Hungary, Iceland, Poland, Switzerland and Turkey) also made valuable contributions to the document.

The charter will provide the principal input to the international conference "THE NEW CHARTER OF ATHENS 1998" organised by the Municipality of Athens and ECTP, to be held in Athens in May 1998.


0 R G A N I S I N G C 0 M M I T T E E

8, Paleoiogou Str., GR 104 38 Athens, Tel.: (+301) 522 0988, 524 9475, Fax: (+301) 522 0988


* In preparing this Charter, the ECTP has been mindful of the widespread influence of the 1933 Athens Charter, and the shortcomings of the types of structures and schemes which resulted from its application. A new Charter has been prepared which is more appropriate for the coming decades. It places the citizen firmly at the centre of policy-making. The main concept expressed is that the evolution of cities should result from the combination of a variety of social forces and the actions of key players in civic life. In the view of the ECTP, a new framework for urban planning is required, so as to meet the cultural and social needs of present and future generations.

* In this changing context, the role of the professional town planner, as a knowledgeable co-ordinator and mediator, is crucial. The key element of a new Charter, it is suggested, should be a widespread concern for the fabric of cities, and of society, with the place of the planner, not as a Grand Master, but as an enabler and choreographer of development. In defining the new role for cities, planners need to share it and nurture it through a dialogue with partners at the local, national, and the European level. A wide range of agencies will be involved in planning for cities and towns. The role of the town planner in these processes is to provide a vision for the future of cities and enlightenment and inspiration for the citizens of tomorrow.

* In terms of planning as a continuous process, this Chatter is only a beginning. Based on the analysis in this report, the ECTP has produced a limited set of findings and recommendations aimed at planners, politicians, and all those who are concerned with the future of European cities. These are set out in Section 3. It is intended that the recommendations should be reviewed on a regular basis, and the document should be updated and rewritten every four years, so as to reflect changes in the structure and operation of the planning system across Europe

* A wide range of agencies will be involved in planning for cities and towns. The role of the town planner in these processes is to provide a vision for the future of cities and enlightenment and inspiration for the citizens of tomorrow. .

* In summary, the purpose of this new Charter is to:

- define the Current Urban Agenda (Section 1)

- define the Role of Town Planning in pursuit of that agenda (Section 2), and

- recommend some Guiding Principles to be followed by the planning profession and urban policy-makers at all levels (Section 3).




1.1 The modern European city is confronted by a series of problems and pressures which will need to be tackled by town planning. Throughout the 1990s, a series of reports by the European Commission (EC) have helped to shape the urban agenda, together with the United Nations Habitat II Conference, held in Istanbul in June 1996. Among the EC reports, the most significant are the following :-

1) The Green Paper on the Urban Environment (1990).

2) Europe 2000 : Outlook for the Development of the Community’s Territory (1991).

3) Europe 2000+ : Co-operation for European Territorial Development (1994).

4) European Sustainable Cities : Report by the Expert Group on Urban Environment (1996).

5) European Spatial Development Perspective (1997);

6) Towards an Urban Agenda in the European Union (1997)

1.2 The last-mentioned report was published as a communication from the Commission, inviting comment. It recognised the need to develop a more specific strategy for urban development in Europe in the context of European Union competencies and policies. The Commission intends to set up an Urban Forum in 1998, to address the issues more specifically, and to promote positive action.

1.3 Together, these reports have drawn out a number of themes related to the emerging urban agenda. In particular, they point to the need for action in four key areas, as follows :-

* Promoting economic competitiveness and employment;

* Favouring economic and social cohesion;

* Improving transport and Trans-European Networks (TENS);

* Promoting sustainable development and the quality of life.

1.4 The ECTP’s analysis of the urban agenda is set out in the ensuing paragraphs, which are arranged by topic headings. Whilst endorsing many of the concerns identified by the European Commission, there are a number of additional points which are considered to be pertinent.

Demography and Housing

1.5 Over the past fifty years, the demographic structure of Europe has been transformed. Although the threatened explosion in the birth rate has been contained, the number of households has risen considerably. The phenomenon is due to a number of linked factors - a rising divorce rate, later marriages, more single households, an ageing population, and higher standards of living. A number of questions will be need to be addressed, about the location and composition of new households across Europe, as well as the issues about how they could be housed, whilst protecting the environment. The picture may be further complicated by international migration patterns, especially within Europe, which are likely to intensify with the freeing up of the labour market. In addition, global population movements and mass travel will exert an influence.

1.6 Despite a tradition and experience of providing social housing in many European cities, there is still much to be done in providing homes, jobs, and community facilities for the homeless, the poor, the elderly, single parents, and ethnic minorities. These issues are important components of town planning and pose a great challenge for the future.

Social Issues

1.7 In parallel with demographic changes, there has also been a radical transformation in the social structures of European cities. There has been an increasing recognition that the energy of city life owes much to the diversity of social groups, which can be determined in terms of age, ethnicity, or wealth. On the one hand multi-cultural neighbourhoods, generally found in older cities, can provide social and economic vitality. On the other hand, there is evidence in some cities of deprivation, poverty and social exclusion, often concentrated in certain neighbourhoods or quarters.

1.8 At the same time, patterns of living and the nature of housing requirements have also been changing rapidly, although the characteristics of planning and housing provision vary considerably between regions, mostly because of differences between culture, lifestyle, and climate. The issues for planning are about social sustainability, to recognise the trends towards diversity and pluralism, and to be more sensitive towards the needs of a more diverse set of groups within the population. Planning will also have a role to play in reducing the negative effects of homelessness, poverty and deprivation via co-ordinated strategies for community revitalisation.

1.9 Recent events, especially the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and Habitat II in Istanbul, have confirmed the widening role and scope of town planning related to social cohesion. Although planning cannot tackle all the issues affecting city development, radical solutions will be needed from town planners - practitioners and researchers - to create new patterns of urban activities relating to the cultural and social requirements of succeeding generations.

Culture and Education

1.10 In a more and more and more technically sophisticated society, there is an increasing demand for recreational and leisure facilities. Potentially, European citizens will have more free time, with less hours spent at the workplace, and a longer life expectancy. Leisure and urban tourism are burgeoning activities in the European Union and urban heritage is an essential component of this phenomenon. Together they have generated tremendous pressures at heritage sites and open spaces within urban areas.

1.11 Heritage is a key element which defines culture and the European character in comparison with other regions of the world. For most citizens and visitors, the character of a city is defined by the quality of its buildings and the spaces between them. In many cities, the urban fabric, including many heritage assets, have been destroyed by inappropriate plans for spatial reorganisation, road construction, and uncontrolled actions by the property industry. In future, there should be a concerted effort to safeguard heritage resources and to promote best practices in conservation and interpretation. These actions, together with an appropriate spatial strategy, are essential for the well-being of tomorrow’s city, and the expression of its special character and identity.

1.12 Education will be a key component of city development. Not only does it provide basic standards of literacy and numeracy, it also engenders a sense of history and civic pride. It enables the citizen to interpret the city, to retrieve essential information, and to learn citizenship skills. In turn this generates the opportunities to participate more fully in the life of the city and in the decision-making processes.

The Information Society

1.13 The revolution in information technology and electronic communications is already having a marked effect on the ways in which cities function. Further changes may be expected to reduce the overall need to travel, to change the nature of the workplace, and to enhance the capability of citizens to obtain information quickly and to communicate effectively. Arguably, it will enhance the education system, by providing more opportunities for home-based and distant learning. In terms of land use, however, the most radical effect may be to eliminate the need for large scale offices and industrial structures, thus reducing the demands for space in cities. In turn , this may facilitate the process towards more mixed development and greater social interaction.

1.14 In overall terms, the information revolution will probably have a positive effect on the future development of the city. Nevertheless, there will be a need to guard against the possible negative consequences, including social isolation and divisions between the information-rich and the information-poor, who could feel distanced from other groups in society. Municipal authorities will have a responsibility to ensure that the benefits are available to all - to make the city more legible to its citizens.


1.15 In the past ten years. sustainable development has emerged as a key issue for town planning. There is an acknowledged need to apply the principles of sustainable development as an integral part of city planning and development. Modern cities generate considerable amounts of waste and pollution leading to a general deterioration in the quality of the environment and the general standards of living. The requirement to create a more sustainable city is one of the biggest challenges facing urban planners of the 21st Century. As well as tackling declining environmental standards, there is a need to protect urban heritage, open spaces, and the networks of green areas and the cultural landscape in and around cities. The maintenance of biodiversity is critical, and applies equally in cities as to rural areas. Conservation of energy will also be an important component of tomorrow’s city planning framework. All these issues have been acknowledged at the international level, at the 1992 Earth Summit, the UN Habitat II Conference 1996, and in the aims of the European Sustainable Cities and Towns Campaign.


1.16 Economic issues have always had a profound influence on the shaping of cities. Over the past two decades, the structure of the economy of the European Union has been changing rapidly. The process has been punctuated by two deep recessions, which in turn have affected both manufacturing and service industries, both in the public and private sectors. Although European economic activity will continue to be concentrated on cities, there are a number of trends which may affect future planning. Economic development, including partnership between public, private and voluntary sectors, will have a fundamental role to play, but requires rigorous and transparent processes, and well-trained professional facilitators, including town planners.

1.17 In general, the process of economic restructuring is expected to proceed rapidly. At the macroeconomic level, there will be increasing competition between cities to attract jobs, nationally as well as internationally, as for example with the Pacific Rim countries. Undoubtedly, the revolution in telecommunications and information technology Will fuel this process. Organisational structures will also continue to change, with more part-time working, time-sharing, and short-term contracts for increasing numbers of people. Internationally, there is a tendency towards down-sizing of large enterprises, and the shedding of labour, leading to large-scale and long-term unemployment. Taken together, these trends may lead to a review of the criteria for location of jobs and economic activities in the structure of cities.

1.18 At the micro-economic level, an upsurge in local economic activity is also expected, reflected already in the growth in the numbers of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across Europe. The policy thrust towards a more sustainable city means that more local work and activity needs to be created, which in turn contributes both to increased vitality and an enhanced quality of life. The experience of the past decade has shown that town planning has a vital role to play in generating economic development and the revival of local communities. As the pace of change quickens, there will a need for constant monitoring and learning about the changes in both the global economy and local markets, so as to adapt rapidly to new conditions.


1.19 In 1996, the European Commission published a Green Paper on Transport entitled The Citizens’ Network: Fulfilling the Role of Public Passenger Transport in Europe. The report. showed that, all over Europe, car ownership and vehicle usage has been rising steeply since the 1970s and is expected to continue, possibly by 200% in the next 25 years. In turn, this may be compounded by the desires of countries in Central and Eastern Europe to catch up with "western" standards. The effects of this transport revolution are universally recognised, especially in terms of pollution, congestion, danger to health, and the use of non-renewable resources. In terms of the city form and the quality of life, road transport is extremely demanding of space. The overall effect of this has been the explosion of the city into its surrounding hinterland and the emergence of the city-region. Although mobility appears to have been enhanced, in reality the accessibility of basic facilities and services to deprived sectors of the community has been diminished. Within many cities, the streets have become dominated by vehicles, restricting the space available to pedestrians and cyclists.

1.20 Current trends are not sustainable and threaten the culture and environment of Europe’s historic cities. Planning must respond positively to these pressures - to enhance accessibility, whilst at the same time creating a better quality environment. At the strategic level, the implementation of the TransEuropean Transport Networks (TETNs) will create better access to cities, generating economic activity and allowing exchanges between cities and regions. At the local level, town planning has an important role to ensure that land use and transport planning are fully integrated. There needs to be more investment in new forms of transport infrastructure, especially in public transport, and facilities for walking and cycling. Citizens need to have a far higher level of inter-modal choice and accessibility..

Choice and Diversity

1.21 In an increasingly global society, the citizens of the 21st Century will expect more choice and diversity in the range of living accommodation and the products, services, and facilities which cities have to offer. As always, the strongest sectors of society will be able to exercise the most choice; more and more, they will be able to choose their adopted city or town according to their own criteria, leading the local economy and therefore influencing the nature of employment available to citizens. In the context of planning the economic structure of the city and supporting business activity, the advantages of mixed-use areas have to be considered very seriously, against the more traditional approach of concentrating commercial and residential uses in designated zones. It is appropriate to note that, in land use terms, that mixed-use areas, already found in older cities may provide diversity, coupled with increased social and economic activity. In turn this enhances the overall quality of life. Nevertheless, there will still be a need for polluting and potentially dangerous activities to be segregated and controlled by regulations.

Safety and Health

1.22 Although there has been a general improvement in international relations, there remain areas of civil conflict and local unrest in some European cities. It is to be hoped that these issues will be solved by political means as soon as possible. At the more local level, there is an increasing fear of crime in cities across Europe, which to some extent is linked to the quality of living conditions, social structures, and health. These are issues which can be tackled by town planning, in partnership with other professions, in order to create better quality housing, better accessibility to jobs, facilities and services, and improvements to the environment as a whole.

Synthesis : Urban Form and the Sustainable City

1.23 All these elements come together in spatial aspects of planning, the consideration of urban form, and the discussion about what may be the ideal shape for the city of the future. A number of locational and managerial issues are influential in determining urban form. On the one hand, there is the issue of centrality, where facilities and services are concentrated around a central core. On the other hand, there is the issue of dispersal, where new development has spread out from the original core city to parts of the surrounding hinterland. These spatial issues will need to be resolved in the new generation of city development plans.

1.24 Expansion of the central city frequently does not take account of the problems created at edges of the city and in the urban fringe. In the dispersed or exploding city, the problems of urban sprawl are spread more widely at the sub-regional level. Urban form is intrinsically linked to the character of the city and its "genius loci". Sub-regional planning is required to ensure a hierarchy of city development, to ensure that there is a clear functional relationship between the centre of the city, its suburbs, the peripheral areas, and linked cities and towns in the city region. In many areas, there may be positive advantages in recognising and developing the concept of city clusters. A community of cities could be created, with each having a clear identity and purpose, linked by good quality mass transit systems.

1.25 The concept of the city as a series of villages or linked communities complements the European Commission’s vision for the sustainable city embodying a widespread concern for the environment. A comprehensive overview of the problems was provided by the publication Europe’s Environment: The Dobris Assessment (European Environment Agency 1994), which completed an analysis of 51 European cites. Five key problems were identified - air quality, noise, traffic, housing quality, and the access to, and extent of, green areas and open spaces. Although these factors vary between cities, there is much that municipal authorities can do generally to contribute to sustainable development by enhancing local conditions and fostering solutions which contribute less energy and resources, whilst also tackling the problems of waste and air and water quality.

1.26 The development of a general understanding of these phenomena by the populace and the evolution of more open democratic processes will require better communications and more citizen participation in the decision-making processes. Over the past 20-30 years, planners have been at the forefront of developing techniques for public participation. In many countries, these techniques have become an integral part of the planning process. In future, such principles should be applied more widely. there is need to continue the change of emphasis of planning from a prescriptive approach to a process based on the needs expressed by the users of the city. The notion of a more citizen-centred approach to planning, expressing basic human needs for living in the city, is at the heart of this Charter.



2.1 Practical experience, and the research work, of the past sixty years seems to prove that cities develop neither in a random fashion, nor according to well-determined models. Instead, their development follows, or needs to be guided by, rigorous town planning principles. These principles may be constant through time or may follow particular trends, and should be properly understood before introducing new ones or developing new infrastructure or landscape features, or simply carrying out actions which otherwise would be superficial. It is suggested that the principles can be grouped into two broad categories, as follows :-

1) General Principles, which have been developed in the past, and which are fairly universal.

2) New Desirable Principles Proposed for the 21 st. century.

These are discussed in turn in the ensuing paragraphs. The list is by no means exhaustive, but is presented by the ECTP to promote discussion.

General Principles for City Planning

2.2 All policies and actions require much time before it is possible to measure their effects, and mistakes often take decades to put right. Planning is a continuous process. In the past 25 years, it has tended to be more open, with widespread consultation on plans and development schemes. If town planning is to be effective, however, there will be a need to make the dialogue more participatory. Planners will need to foster citizen organisations and the local business community to ensure a positive response. It is now accepted practice that city plans must be monitored and reviewed regularly. Information is vital. Increasingly, targets and performance indicators will be key elements of the planners tool box, especially for informing the processes of participation and decision-making.

2.3 Spatial elements, including the setting and location of the city, as well as the social structure and the principal resources of an area, should always be taken into account in planning the city. Other factors include the relief, the climate, and the existing and former land use structure. Land use includes many elements parcels of land, buildings, trees and woodlands, watercourses, the transport network, open spaces, paths, cultural and historical features, as well as administrative boundaries. It is particularly important to relate the city or town to its surrounding region - this may include the definition of landscape or recreational zones which transcend the administrative boundaries between town and country.

2.4 These factors are particularly important in determining urban form, and the future shape of the city and its surrounding area. Centrality has not become an out-moded concept because of the growth of mobility and new technologies. For centuries, city life has been organised via the relationship between certain central places and the territory around them. There is no reason for that process to come to a sudden end, the more so because de-stabilisation of some traditional centres by the migration of commercial and economic activities to peripheral areas has led to the revival of city centres. Many factors point to the future of the city as a polycentric, rather than mono-centric community. The emergence of these series of new centres requires attention by town planning, with the emphasis on the creation of high quality new environments. In this context, mixed development - places where citizens can live and work - should be promoted wherever possible, instead of strict zoning policies. Town planners, together with Governments, should re-evaluate and reconsider the appropriateness of zoning policies in plans.

2.5 Cities need to be planned on the basis of their overall scale and function, having regard to environmental criteria and the principles of sustainable development. There is a need for a strategic or global appraisal of all the forces in play- environmental, social, and economic - instead of treating them as separate entities. This global approach, often embodying a Strategic Environmental Appraisal (SEA), is one of the guiding principles of sustainable development. There are no technical obstacles to using this approach, only the lack of resources to collect the relevant information. Modern means of data processing make it possible to manage the complexity.

2.6 Undoubtedly, cities will continue to be the motors of economic development, affecting the prosperity of surrounding rural areas. The cycles of development patterns should be subject to thorough scrutiny, based on observations and prognosis over long periods of time. In particular, hasty actions or decisions, whether of political or economic origin, are of questionable benefit. . In the same way, impatience to carry out actions or in-depth projects without the necessary technical justification, or with poor appreciation of the local circumstances, or the capacity of the local community to take part, often leads to inaction or mistakes. These errors inevitably impede progress and leave projects in an unfinished state. Town planning should therefore include a rigorous audit of the social, environmental, and economic issues facing a community, together with forecasts of future trends which may affect these factors.

2.7 In this context, city planning is concerned primarily with serving the public interest, which should not be under-estimated, and is frequently misunderstood. In addition, planning is often involved with the resolution of conflicting interests, and mediation between different factions and groups. Sometimes, planners need to decide which interests are legitimate and which are irrelevant or illegal. Conflicts may or may not be apparent but their latent presence and the need for resolution is a constant concern that inevitably affects city planning. The future social, cultural, and aesthetic shaping of cities will arise from a plethora of social and cultural values representing all the inhabitants. Bringing together the various actors on the urban stage, each with their own priorities for conflict resolution, will continue to be an essential requisite for planning. Issues of equity, social and environmental responsiveness must continue to be the platform on which planing mediation will take place.

New Desirable Principles Proposed for the 21 st Century

2.8 There are a number of new principles which could be added to those discussed above. Above all, there is an assumption that urban resources should be distributed more fairly, according to the principles of justice, local needs, and subsidiarity.

2.9 The allocation of spaces between built-up areas, protected landscapes and green zones, and recreational areas, will be extremely important. The interchange between these areas, reflecting the historical development of the city and the different character of its neighbourhoods, leads to a re-definition of the city as a collection of urban villages, which, in a way, can be linked to the concept of citizen identity. Open spaces, green spaces, and natural areas, are essential elements, and urban policies must be directed more towards providing a pleasant environment and greening the city. Whilst there should be a general commitment to the ensuring that brownfield sites are used before greenfield sites, this should not be at the expense of the network of open spaces. Green areas in the city and the urban fringe should be managed with sensitivity.


2.10 In the pursuit of the agenda suggested in this Charter, the creative role of town planning must be enhanced, so as to match the pressures on the city and on society. It must be undertaken by professionals who are appropriately trained for the task, whose actions are bound by codes of ethics formulated in the interests of wider sections of the community. Inevitably the pursuit of the urban agenda will require the training of more and better-qualified planners, and the education system should be provided with the resources to supply the necessary numbers.

2.11 The primary role of town planning is to provide a spatial framework for the future management and development of the city. The scope of town planning, however, is far wider and is unique compared to other disciplines. In many ways it operates at the very centre of the often conflicting forces working within urban society. It works most effectively by identifying issues, promoting communication between professional experts, the local community, and other factions and interests. By mediating, by influencing key decision-makers, and by putting forward alternative sets of solutions for evaluation, town planning can negotiate the adoption of a plan or programme which has been fully discussed by the community.

2.12 More generally, the founding ECTP Charter for planners in Europe (Amsterdam, November 1986), and its appendices (Strasbourg, December 1988), summarises the work of town planners as follows :-

"Whether self-employed, contracted, or salaried, independent or an employee, engaged in practice or research, in the public or the private sector, the Town Planner principally undertakes the following tasks, either wholly or in part :-

* identifying the present and future needs of the community and drawing attention to opportunities, effects, constraints, and implications of actions

* proposing policies and plans for initiating, regulating, adapting, enabling and implementing change, having regard to guidance from research

* designing spatial concepts of the policies and plans for development

* negotiating towards the realisation of their policies and plans

* continuously guiding, controlling and implementing these policies and plans in accordance with changing needs and opportunities

* evaluating and monitoring the effects and implications of actual changes as they occur

* giving a lead to research and ensuring training schemes.

2.13 In summary, the ECTP believes that planners, as a responsible profession, have a distinct and indispensable role in establishing the new urban agenda and its specific long-term objectives. The future vitality and well-being of cities depends on this blend of technical know-how, creativity, and the ability to co-ordinate activities in collaboration with other professions, politicians, and the community at large. The city of the 21st century will be created not so much by the master plan, but more by the process of negotiation, centred on the welfare of the citizen. It is a process which should be opened up to all citizens.


* In action, as in decision-making, continuous changes and regeneration, as well as the creation of urban areas, should be based on the considerable knowledge and experience which has accumulated. Based on the analysis in this paper, the European Council of Town Planners has produced a limited set of findings aimed at the public at large and by this means at politicians, planners, and all those who, by their actions, are concerned with the future of cities.

* The findings and the recommendations, which are set out in below, are of a universal nature, though recognising the great diversity and complexity of European cities and towns. They acknowledge the permanent elements affecting city planning, including time, complexity, boundaries, and the issues of centrality and spatial organisation. The importance of strategic planning and the spatial dimension cannot be understated, to provide a context for the future vision and to set the city in its sub-regional and regional context.

* The findings acknowledge the critical importance of the principles of sustainable development as an integral part of the planning process. The incorporation of these principles has been inspired by the Brundtland definition of "providing for the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to provide for theirs". This definition has been endorsed by ECTP, because ft complements the concept of citizen participation embodied in this Charter.

* Above all, the Charter seeks to place the citizen firmly at the centre of planning and policy-making.

* National town planning organisations may wish to add their own principles and recommendations appropriate to more local circumstances.

* It is intended that the Charter will be monitored and reviewed every four years. The findings will be discussed at conferences, to be organised in Athens.

Ten Sets of Recommendations

3.1 A City for All

In many parts of Europe, the arrival of new in-migrants to the city, initially from surrounding rural areas, but now from a much wider European and international spectrum, has sometimes disrupted existing social structures. Urban poverty, exacerbated by the effects of the two modern economic recessions, has been both a cause and an effect of declining social cohesion. To varying degrees, there are problems of racism, crime, social exclusion, and even civil conflicts. Politicians and planners should be specifically aware of the disadvantaged resource-weak groups in society, because they do not have a voice of their own. Planning policies should address the specific needs of these sectors of society.

All groups, including newcomers, should be incorporated into the social, economic, and cultural life of the city, through development planning and socio-economic measures.

The planning process should require collaboration and involvement at local levels to develop public interest in the planning of the environment and improvements in social and economic conditions.

If the needs and aspirations of all social groups are to be met in the planning and development of the city, then all groups must be brought into the processes of defining those needs and aspirations, including physical integration into communities.

3.2 True Involvement

The degree of citizen participation in urban affairs varies enormously between cities across Europe. In some countries, it is highly developed, but in others it is hindered by the format of the democratic representational system, which is often very centralised. The expression of citizens’ rights, needs, and wishes, especially in relation to issues which affect daily life and the quality of the local environment, cannot be realised solely through a system of elected representatives at the local and central level. Government in these circumstances often seems remote from the people.

The framework for city planning should be re-structured in a hierarchical fashion, so as to make it more accessible to the citizen. The subsidiarity principle should be applied rigorously in the allocation of funds as well as in public administration.

Innovative forms of participation should be applied at the lowest possible level, so as to enable the empowerment and encourage the active involvement of citizens in planning decisions.

Local social and cultural facilities should be encouraged, so as to facilitate human contact and communication.

3.3 Human Contact

The increased concentration of population in urban centres has led to a loss of human scale and the erosion of social as well as physical structures. The daily life of the citizen has become more uniform, whilst isolation, passivity, and indifference to collective aims and social initiatives has become the norm. Increase in density have been reflected in the losses of open spaces, parks, squares, and community facilities, so important as meeting places. Personal creativity and the opportunity for expression has also been suppressed by these processes.

The hierarchical structure for planning should be expressed at the physical, the social, and the administrative level. The smaller units of this structure, the building block, the neighbourhood, or "quartier", should play a key role in providing a framework for human contact and enabling public participation in the management of the urban programme. There may also be the need for simultaneous intervention or participation at the city-wide level, to provide the context for local action.

The public realm should be recreated, to be used again as the place where the sense of community, and social activity and vitality, are developed. Efforts should be made to conserve and reinforce the network of open spaces, parks, and leisure areas within cites. Redevelopment of derelict land and disused buildings should relate to the framework of public spaces, as well as the social functions tied up in abandoned installations such as former factories and military complexes.


3.4 Continuity of Character

The urban environment has traditionally played a. key educational and cultural role in the lives of its citizens. The concept of the city as the motor of civilisation has been established throughout the centuries and has been encapsulated in the physical character of all historical cities. Unfortunately, the modern effects of intense urbanisation have undermined the cultural integrity of the city, degraded its aesthetic appearance, and have damaged the continuity of the urban fabric. Town planning has a specific role in securing better quality design which respects the character of the city, but which does not stifle creativity in architecture and the organisation and management of spaces between buildings.

Planning should seek to safeguard the traditional elements and the identity of the urban environment, including buildings, historic quarters, open spaces, and green areas. These elements should be incorporated into continuous networks, based on urban design principles.

For the future, town planning should strengthen and further develop the building traditions which impart the distinctive character and identity to the individual city or a region. Architecture and the planning of buildings should include consideration of the whole city and its surroundings. Design solutions should be based upon visual, cultural, functional, and historical assessments of the area and its particular qualities. Planning should initiate this process, which should involve full and open participation with the local community. It should also include dialogue between town planners and fellow professionals, especially architects surveyors, engineers, and landscape architects, as well as with ecologists, economists, sociologists, artists, and other expert groups.

3.5 Benefiting from New Technology

The universal development of information technology has great implications for social change and the future structure of the city, including the use of its transport system. Nevertheless, personal contact will remain important, for which electronic communications are not a substitute. Rather, information technology increases the possibilities for communication and the diversity of experience. The democratic processes may also be enhanced, by providing information to those who traditionally did not have access to it. Potentially, it can enable the citizen to become involved in the management of the city, provided that there is equitable access to resources. The smaller units of the information network should play a key role in providing a framework for human contact, which is a basic component of cultural identity and social cohesion. New technology can also provide opportunities to focus on themes or issues of common interest for all citizens - whether city-wide, or the neighbourhood where they live.

Planning should encourage the optimum use of information technology, with equitable access, so as to obtain the maximum benefits for the citizen.

Planning should examine the possibilities for decentralisation of activities, taking account of new technology, envisaging the development of a polycentric, multi-faceted city, embracing full local involvement in the processes. The disaggregation of activities, both in time and place, should be encouraged.

3.6 Environmental Aspects

The principles of sustainable development should be the essence of planning for a city where the citizen is at the centre of the planning process. The increase in city dwellers and the need for equitable access to resources makes imperative the requirement for sustainable management. The processes should embrace biodiversity and the relationship between man and nature, the conservation of resources (including land) as well as social and economic attributes. The city should be regarded as an ecosystem, with inputs and outputs; management should seek to control the flow of resources through it in a sustainable manner. A number of issues therefore need to be considered as part of the city planning process. these include waste planning, energy use, transport, and biodiversity. The spatial distribution of land uses will also have a key effect on the sustainability profile of the city.

All plans should be based on the principles of sustainable development; Environmental Appraisals should be prepared as integral parts of plans, and be linked to the process of public participation.

Planning should encourage :-

* the conservation of non-renewable resources

* energy conservation and clean technology.

* reduction of pollution.

* waste avoidance, reduction, and recycling.

* flexibility of decision-making to support local communities.

* the husbanding of land as a resource and the regeneration of brownfield sites.

In the interests of citizens, the precautionary principle should be deployed in development decisions, so that non-renewable resources are not needlessly wasted.

Biodiversity must be an essential component of city planning, which should seek to maintain ecosystems by means of "green corridors" which penetrate the city. Special attention should be paid to the enhancement of urban fringe areas.

3.7 Economic Activities

Town planning traditionally has been concerned with land use and the physical form of cities, rather than with problems of an economic or social nature. This emphasis is now changing and it is timely to promote an integrated approach to urban regeneration combining physical aspects with social engineering and economic revival. Employment is a necessary component of this, but there is also a need to ensure that all citizens have equitable access to the facilities and services of the city. A positive framework is envisaged, in which partnerships between the public and private sectors are forged to achieve packages of development which are of maximum benefit to all citizens.

Employment and production partly depend on urban policies and the overall influence of a city. Town planning has a particular responsibility to ensure that the private sector and the business community are able to prosper. Cities compete economically with each other and this competition is affected by the comparison of cultural relationships, academic achievements, and the quality of life, just as much as the traditional features common to all cities and towns, such as the structure of industry, transport systems, and characteristics of local taxation and governance. Urban strategy can influence economic development, the relationships between neighbouring cities, as well as the combination of their resources. It can also create favourable conditions for the performance of real estate and local financial institutions. It can also assist in the setting up of partnerships for taking initiatives, having regard to market opportunities and public actions. There is a need for consistent funding of urban administration in Europe, in view of its critical town planning role which provides a positive framework for investment and economic activity.

In this respect, the quality of a city is in itself a resource and in turn contributes to its economic prosperity. The quality of planning and design in the historic centres and new areas of cities, as well as the cultural image presented by a city to the outside world are as important as the protection of the heritage and the natural environment.

Unemployment, poverty and social exclusion should be tackled through an integrated approach to planning, incorporating economic, social, as well as environmental aspects. Planning should encourage partnerships and initiatives to create more jobs and small businesses, and to enhance the level of skills through education and training.

Market forces should be harnessed so that the necessary level of public investment in the city is maintained, and that the private sector is able to participate feasibly in the shaping of the city, as well as in helping to cover operational costs. Funds should in all cases provide good value for money.

Planning should encourage the development of small businesses so as to provide local work for citizens and to strengthen the city's economic base.

3.8 Movement and Access

In recent times, the excessive use of the car has made it the scourge of the everyday life and functioning of most urban centres. Public transport use has declined, and the massive infrastructure works which have been constructed to facilitate the movement of vehicular traffic have caused the degradation and severance of many inner city areas and neighbourhoods. Experience has shown that through better public awareness and the use of experimental schemes, support can be generated for a new approach to movement policy involving a combination of traffic management, public transport enhancement, additional facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, coupled with environmental improvements in areas such as town centres, The aim is to provide for a more comfortable and convenient transport system, which is fully integrated with the land use strategy for the city and is accessible to all citizens.

The promotion of accessibility requires a recognition by city planners that land use and transport planning cannot be treated as separate functions. The need for people to travel should be reduced by careful attention to the location and intensity of activities and the promotion of mixed use areas, together with the development of efficient transport interchanges. The use of accessibility indices should be encouraged as a tool to assess whether objectives are being satisfied.

Dependence on private vehicular transport should be discouraged by pricing and car parking policies. There should be co-ordinated planning of catchment areas in order to improve the possibilities for public transport development, and facilities for walking and cycling. Citizens should be given more choice in satisfying their movement requirements.

Investment should be targeted towards non-polluting transport systems, so as to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, and cut back transport emissions and other pollutants.

3.9 Variety and Diversity

It is recognised that town planning cannot control everything, not should it do so. Nevertheless, in many cities, the application of strict zoning policies has created monotonous patterns of land uses, which have broken the continuity and diversity of urban life. The city plan and its evolution has been distorted because the inherent characteristics of an area have been ignored by the planning process. The variety of experience of living in the city has been diminished. Needs constantly evolve, so should the planning response, making full use of the fabric of the existing city.

In the planning of cities, the general aim should be to abandon large-scale mono-functional land use zones, except where uses need to be separated in the interests of public health or security.

The principle of mixed use should be promoted, especially in city centres, so as to introduce more variety and vitality into the urban fabric. Housing and work areas, as well as other compatible uses, should be closely related in time and space so as to reduce the need to travel, conserve energy and reduce pollution.

A broad range of affordable housing types should be available to meet the needs of all groups of citizens. Imaginative design solutions should be used to provide new types of building design, especially for the saving of energy and better insulation. Designs should also seek to maximise the economics of cost derived from new building techniques and materials, so as to provide low cost housing accessible for disadvantaged groups in the community.

Planning should ensure a satisfactory framework for citizens to exercise choice in employment, housing, transport, and leisure, in ways that enhance their continued well-being.

3.10 Health and Safety

The concentration of people and activities in cities has made the issues of health and security to be of primary importance. These are related to three factors - limited military actions, natural disasters, and the threat of damage from social conflicts, civil disturbances, or crime. Poverty and poor health are often part of a spiral of deprivation and dehumanisation facing certain key neighbourhoods in cities across Europe.

The concept of urban areas as non-combat zones should be promoted and enforced, resulting in binding international treaty agreements.

Measures for protection from natural disasters should be incorporated at all levels of city planning and administration.

Planning should promote measures to counter the root causes of social unrest and urban crime. Planning should seek to re-establish a sense of community and social well-being, so as to raise the level of personal safety and security in cities.

Planning should promote and assist the establishment of "Healthy Cities" in line with World Health Organisation standards. It can do this directly by raising the quality of housing accommodation, and the improvement of the environment. Indirectly, it can assist in the reduction of pollution levels and the conservation of scarce resources.

March 1998