The Next Generation Podium for Eurodelta explores the potential developments for the region of Eurodelta while creating an environment for creative ideas from the urban thinkers of the next generation. This year’s conference was made up of a three-day lunch forum on 20, 21 and 22 of March and a two-day online symposium from the 11 and 12 of May.
After the success of the first two editions, we hosted a third edition of the Next Generation Podium to continue to explore further the future developments of the Eurodelta. This edition’s program was open to students, young researchers and professionals working in the field of architecture, design, urban studies, economic geography, and spatial planning. Bringing in 120 participants from over 10 universities to collaborate and contribute to the development of the Eurodelta megaregion. In alliance with the SURE (Strategic Urban Region Eurodelta) Network, this year’s Next Generation Podium was also connected to the New York Water Week, to bring back the focus on vulnerable delta regions.
This edition followed three themes: Circular Delta, Accessible Delta, and Fluid Delta. They were discussed in depth with series of different speakers who shared their knowledge and experience from various fields. Coming from three separate nations who all advocated for a heavy emphasis on cross-border cooperation, they helped with addressing issues that are currently affecting the Eurodelta.
In addition to the online workshop and lectures, the participants were given a chance to interact and get to know more about the practice through open office days during the three days of the lunch forums. Some of the participants took the opportunity to interact with the practitioners during the open office days held at Municipality of Amsterdam (Netherlands), Municipality of Den Haag (Netherlands), Regionalverband Ruhr (Essen, Germany) and perspective.brussels (Belgium). We are grateful to our supporters who encourage young designers and planners.
From Strategy and Vision to Plan of Action
We present the culmination of three transformative years of the Next Generation Podium (NGP). Over 300 participants and 50 organizations, including cities, regions, design offices, and companies, have contributed to this remarkable exchange.
Through lunch forums, open offices, and online conferences, the gap between academia and practice is starting to bridge. The value of collaboration and the complexities of transnational planning systems were successfully conveyed to young urban architects, designers, and planners.
Over the course of the last three years, the Next Generation Podium (NGP) has gained valuable insights and experience in working across three scales of actions (city/metropolitan region, national, Eurodelta), understanding three stepped decision-making process (design, upscale, impact) providing three types of outputs (vision, strategy, action plan) . However, this journey has also revealed several research gaps in cross-border spatial planning and design. The challenges faced in the delta region continue to persist, exacerbated by the impacts of climate change and rising sea levels. These pressing issues necessitate actions that transcend political and administrative borders.
Since its inception, the NGP has aimed to bridge the gap between practice and academia. Simultaneously, the SURE Network has been dedicatedly supporting research projects. Moving forward, there is a desire to provide young urban thinkers with the opportunity to delve deeper into research questions and contribute to European research projects . Exploring European funding opportunities will be crucial in addressing the underlying challenges faced by Eurodelta while recognizing the potential of the younger generation and including them in the process is to be seen as a valuable resource.
The SURE Network, in collaboration with a robust professional consortia (continuously growing) , is actively exploring methodologies and possibilities to make this vision a reality from 2024 onwards. Discussions and partnerships are underway with universities that have been deeply involved in past editions of NGP. In addition to the initial format of one-week symposium, there is an intention to integrate this agenda within university curricula, host summer/winter schools, or facilitate exchanges between universities, utilizing the treasure of the knowledge compiled so far.
Furthermore, there could be another opportunity to explore and detail out the three years of results and effectively map and resource solutions applicable to the practical planning systems of Eurodelta. This effort could foster greater professional engagement between participating students and the professionals associated with the SURE Network.
By leveraging the knowledge gained through the NGP and collaborating with academia, professionals, and young urban thinkers, the aim is to address the research gaps, tackle the challenges in the delta region, and create a more sustainable future for Eurodelta.