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The New Charter of Athens 2003

The New Charter of Athens: A Charter for European Cities in the 21-st Century , was first published in 1998 and is regularly reviewed and redeveloped. Latest updates were performed during the summit of The European Council of Town Planners´ Vision for Cities in the 21-st century in Lisbon, at 20-th November 2003.

The European Council of Town Planners (ECTP) is confident that in the 21-st century Europe will advance decisively toward the goal of integration. Within this developing framework, the ECTP presents a common and widely shared vision of European cities. This vision of networking cities will:

• retain their cultural richness and diversity, resulting from their long history, linking the past through the present to the future,

• become connected in a multitude of meaningful and functional networks,

• remain creatively competitive whilst striving for complementarity and co-operation,

• contribute decisively to the well-being of their inhabitants and users,

• integrate the man-made and the natural elements of the enviroment.

Main scope of the Vision is set up on the Connected City – as a system harmoniously integrating the social, economic and enviromental connectivity. Social connectivity includes social balance, inolvment of the citizens, multi-cultural richness, connections between generations, social identity, movement and mobility as well as the facilities and services. Economic connectivity, perceived as an answer to dynamically changing internal and external conditions is represented by balance between globalisation and regionalisation, competitive advantages of the cities, polycentric urban networks and economic diversity. The nature, landscape, open spaces and generally healthy cities are key elements of enviromental connectivity. One of the key element of the renaissance of the connected cities is urban design.

The framework of implementation of this vision is also a part of the New Charter of Athens. It includes:

• a brief summary of the main issues and challenges that affect cities at the beginning of the third millenium (social and political changes, economic and technological changes, enviromental changes, urban changes).

• the commitments required by spatial planners in realising the vision (planner is supposed to be able to act as a scientist, designer, political advisor and mediator, as well as a manager).

This 2003 version of the New Charter of Athens is addressed primarily to professional planners working throughout Europe and those concerned with the planning process – to give direction to their actions, for greater coherence in building a meaningful network of cities in Europe connected through time, at all levels and in all sectors.

Spatial planning is vital for the delivery of sustianable development. In particular, it concerns the prudent management of space, a critical natural resource, limited in supply, but with growing demands upon it. It also requires trans-disciplinary teamwork involving different skills at various scales in long-lasting processes. The particular attribute of the planning profession is its ability to take a range of issues into acount and to translate them into spatial terms. The ECTP is aware of both the variety and the universality of the planning profession in Europe as it takes into acount the rich diversity of its cities and regions.