In its recently published issue 89, OASE - Journal for Architecture published an article co-authored by Philippe Vandenbroeck (shiftN) and Michiel Dehaene (UGent): Cityscapes for the Post-Carbon Age. The Small City as Localised Utopia.
The article looks critically at the promotion of the small city as key to sustainable, balanced regional development. This is an old theme in urbanism. The Garden City movement at the end of the 19th century already gave strong expression to the redeeming image of the small, compact city embedded in a pristine hinterland. With each iteration this image drifts further into the direction of a timeless urban planning formula. In this text two recent trends in thinking about the ecologically sustainable city are discussed: Transition Towns and the Territorialist School. At first glance they seem to conform to this toothless post-historical consensus. Upon closer examination, however, they contain the germ of a radicalisation of the debate on sustainable urban development, beyond the post-historical déjà vu.
Philippe Vandenbroeck and Michiel Dehaene, 2013, ‘Cityscpes for the Post-Carbon Age. The Small City as Localised Utopia’, OASE, 89, 80-95.