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Plenary Lecture

From Industrial to Postindustrial Landscapes –
Brownfield Reuse in Shrinking Cities

Professor Thomas Panagopoulos
Centro de Investigacao sobre Espaco e Organizacoes (CIEO)
Faculdade de Ciencias e Tecnologia
Universidade do Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139, Faro


Abstract: In last decades, the phenomenon of shrinking cities has many examples in most developed countries. According to Wiechmann (2008) 54% of the European cities lost population in the period from 1996 to 2001. The phenomenon of urban shrinkage is based on several processes of transformation. The number and aggregate size of brownfield sites in the cities of Europe is increasing. In many developed countries, which in past decades have experienced the impact of shrinkage processes, the essential causes have been suburbanization, deindustrialization, demographic shrinkage, and post-fordist transformations. Lisbon is in the 10 cities with the highest relative loss of more than 1.75% annually. Old industrialized cities (typical examples are Glasgow, St. Etienne, or Gelsenkirchen) has led to shrinking, in some ways similar to those in American metropolises like Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland. This is particularly the case of Eastern Europe, where the combination of post-socialist and post-fordist transformation processes led to exceptionally severe shrinkage phenomena. Certainly, urban shrinkage as such is not a new phenomenon and according to Beauregard (2003) is inseparable from the history of the city. Numerous studies have analysed its manifestations and causes and the development and decline of cities has been viewed as a natural process whereby urban change results from a life cycle that ends in inevitable decline Van den Berg, L. et al. (1982), that may pass from can be seen to go through four successive development stages: urbanisation, suburbanisation, de-urbanisation and re-urbanisation.
Derelict and contaminated industrial sites are unrealized resources for initiating urban regeneration and ecological restoration. These sites are often in advantageous locations near city centers, situated along waterways, supported by existing infrastructure, and adjacent to residential communities. These Landscapes are environmentally impaired assets that need to be returned to productive use, and reintegrated into the surrounding community. The shrinking city syndrome is leaving planners and city officials with, among other things, the challenge of preserving and reusing buildings with architectural and cultural interest. To exemplify the importance of those spaces in the urban landscape, this presentation will analyze two industrial landscape reclamation projects realized in Portugal during the last decade (Parque Tejo-Trancao-Expo 98 and Braga Stadium-Euro 2004) and compare them with other examples from around the world. The significance of those projects to achieve a sustainable urban landscape is discussed. This presentation will show that the industrial landscape should be viewed as a resource and its recovery as an opportunity to develop new multi-functional landscapes.

Brief Biography of the Speaker:
Profesor Thomas Panagopoulos received the B.Sc. in Forestry from Aristotle University, the M.Sc. in Renewable Natural Resources from the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute, the Ph.D. from Faculty of Geosciences Aristotle University. The area of his PhD is landscape reclamation. He has published more than 120 papers in Journals and Conferences.
Thomas Panagopoulos is a faculty member in the Landscape Architecture department at the Faculty of Cience and Technology at the University of Algarve, Portugal where he has been Department Head and Landscape Architecture Degree Director, and presently coordinating research works on natural, rural and industrial landscape management and reclamation. He is Invited Academic Lecturer in various Universities and Research Organizations like: Michigan Sate University USA, Huelva University Spain, Aristotle University Greece.
He is Fellow of the International Union of Forest Research Organization (IUFRO), of the Global Network for Environmental Science and Technology (GlobalNEST), the WSEAS (The World Scientific and Engineering Academy and Society), the European Network for Research on Desertification (DesertNet) and the American Society of Mining and Reclamation (ASMR).
In 2007 he founded a new research unit in the University of Algarve: Centro de Investigacao sobre Espaco e Organizacoes (CIEO) with 19 PhD members. He is member of the Executive Committee of the CIEO and leader of the “Spatial Organization and Sustainability” which was recently evaluated as very good from international panel.


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