New European Bauhaus Newsletter July 2021
What started as a call for ideas and inspiration a few months ago is now becoming a growing community.
We are so excited to have you with us in this journey!
The New European Bauhaus already counts over 200 official partners from all EU countries, a high-level roundtable of 18 experts including designers, innovators, activists and academics, and thousands of citizens who follow and engage with the initiative online and through local events.
During these first six months, people from all over the world have been sharing with us their views and aspirations for a better future for us and our planet.
There have been conversations at more than 100 locally organised debates and conferences across Europe focused on the places we inhabit, our diverse cultural heritage, and our relationship with nature. As co-leaders of this co-design phase, the JRC has collected more than 2 000 examples and ideas through various events and individual submissions to the project through a dedicated short story collector and a free form collector.
You can now navigate through all the contributions we have collected.
In the coming days, you will also be able to check what came in through our free form collector, including longer papers, studies, and conversation harvests.
The co-design ended on 30 June, but the conversations will not stop here.
In September, based on the outcomes of the co-design phase, we will present in a Commission Communication the concept of the New European Bauhaus as it developed in the last months.
The Communication will also provide an insight into the related policy aspects and the first elements of a support framework for delivery, including launching calls for pilot projects. Conversations and activities will resume after the summer to feed a place and purpose based community that supports local efforts and helps make the New
European Bauhaus a truly transformative process.
2021 New European Bauhaus Prizes: The finalists!
We send our warm congratulations to the finalists and our appreciation to all the contestants.
From 11 to 18 June, more than 20 000 New European Bauhaus newsletter subscribers were invited to vote for their favourite projects and ideas. During this period, about 40 000 votes were submitted across all categories by more than 6 300 individuals who took the time to go through the applications.
Following the public voting, we now have the 3 finalists per category published on the Prizes platform.
You are very welcome to go check them out and get inspired!
Shortlisted applications have been further evaluated by a jury composed of more than 135 official partners of the initiative from across Europe and a wide range of sectors. After the jury of partners, the Evaluation Committee of the European Commission will finalise the evaluation process.
We will know the 20 winners after the summer and celebrate them in an award ceremony on 16 September. More information coming soon.
The high-level round table: sounding boards & community ambassadors
They are 18 advanced thinkers and practitioners from the worlds of design, academia and community action. They meet together as a group, and with the Commission’s political leadership, to share their experience and help us reflect on the kind of future we can create for ourselves and our planet.
As part of its mission to bring inspiration to the New European Bauhaus initiative, the group contributed to the co-design phase with a concept paper.
The paper presents a series of initial visions and actions that the authors consider as a continuous work in progress which invites and embraces broader community inputs.
We caught up with three round table members – one from Ireland, one from the Czech Republic and one from Japan - to find out why they think the project is important and what it can achieve.
Orla Murphy is an Irish architect and lecturer whose work focuses on collaborative ways of designing and advocating for rural towns. She sees the New European Bauhaus as “a hopeful and positive means to harness design, in its broadest and most inclusive sense, to deliver the objectives of the European Green Deal, and to decarbonise Europe”.
Czech Petr Skvaril leads a global network of impact-driven entrepreneurs and innovators. He says that “the transition Europe will go through in relation to the European Green Deal will affect everyone and the environment we live in. It’s very important that there is a mechanism for this transformation to be driven bottom-up: by communities, leaders and innovators, small and medium businesses, and others”.
For Orla, the initiative is also an opportunity to “gather and amplify all the great work that is currently happening and to ripple it out to accelerate change, share good ideas, and ensure that the voices less frequently heard from are included”.
Shigeru Ban, a Japanese architect and professor who works in both Paris and Tokyo, reminds us that the New European Bauhaus “is not only for Europe, but for the whole world. It can be the opportunity for the paradigm shift which, I believe, is necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”.
Several members agree that the high-level round table meetings were not without their challenges, particularly as the pandemic removed the option of physical meetings.
For Shigeru, “The organisers and the members did a great job. But it is difficult to deepen the discussions online among people who have never met”.
Petr adds, “When you combine the complexity of the topic with the many different perspectives the round table has brought together, it is not an easy conversation. Initially, it can feel like a waste of very precious time. This transition needs to happen fast. But after a while, a much clearer and more holistic picture emerges. One that we all can stand behind and actively support.”
Orla was struck by the mutual respect for different points of view in the round table, and the commitment to the initiative. “Seeing it catch on throughout Europe is very exciting, particularly as a co-created process”, she says. “The invitation is for everyone to be part of the New European Bauhaus, and this is perhaps where it has the potential for real and impactful change at all scales.”
So what kind of practical results could come from taking this approach? For Shigeru, “building schools in different areas in the world with locally available materials by students and local community people” is one example of an action that could help us achieve a sustainable, inclusive future.
Community-led projects are central to Petr’s thoughts, too. “Personally I’m very excited about community energy projects. The energy sector is by far the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions and these projects can help to transform a very centralised sector from the bottom up. They can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of many communities in urban and rural settings, reduce energy and heating costs for households, and provide a great opportunity for local communities to work together”.
For Orla, it is hard to pinpoint one action, “precisely because the challenge is so complex and cuts across every sector and affects every citizen on the planet. So, my one wish would be to ensure that inclusion remains robustly at the foundation of the New European Bauhaus. That means a just transition, ongoing co-creation of the New
European Bauhaus as it develops, inclusive of all species, inclusive of those beyond the EU, inclusive of all means and modes of design, and inclusive of all sectors that need to be part of this process”.
We thank Orla, Shigeru and Petr for having shared their thoughts with us. In the coming issues, we will be hearing from other members of the group.