First activity in the cycle of lunch debates on the theme «A World of Cities» which the University Foundation organises, in collaboration with "la Fondation pour l’environnement urbain Pierre Laconte", for the members of the Foundation and also for a larger public (faculties, economic, social and cultural organisations, ...).
In times of scepticism on the European project we wished to give the floor to two speakers who represent the cultural approach to Europe:
Bernard COULIE (Honorary Rector of UC Louvain), specialist of paneuropean culture, in particular of the byzantine world, will speak on the European mix, of which the cities are an important example. He will sketch the Greek origins, the Roman fortifications, which have become open cities with respect to their surroundings. In the Middle Ages the cities became fortified units and later again turned to be open entities. This European model is characterized by centralisation, a continouos tissu of the city, the mixture of functions, cultural identity and biodiversity. This model contrasts with the "islamic model" with closed entities of connected streets and separate functions (kashba’s, riads).
Domenico ROSSETTI di VALDALBERO (European Commission), descendent of the famous Renaissance urbanist Biagio Rossetti (who designed Ferrare, one of the earliest modern cities), will discuss the European model of urban development, showing the position of the European city with respect to cities in the other continents. He identifies 60 cities "with European flavour". In particular Brussels is characterized by a mixture of royal, civil and religious functions. If the European city succeeds in making use of its past but remains open to the world and to the future, it will earn its place in the post-modern city structure.