Hello, and welcome to another edition of The Parliament.
Here’s a homework assignment for you urbanites: next time you head out into this fine spring weather to pick up a litre of milk, or sit on a park bench, take note of the planning and design choices around you. If your trip to buy milk is at night, is your journey well lit? What’s the view like from that park bench? Is the seat comfortable?
Caught up as we are in our busy lives and routines, it’s easy to let the work of urban planners and designers fade into the background. But, of course, decisions made at these levels play an enormous role in our experience of a town or city.
That’s why it’s such a delight to dedicate this edition of The Parliament to the topic of urban planning and design here in the EU.
In his op-ed, Ciarán Cuffe, who holds degrees in both architecture and urban planning, makes the case for planning cities in ways that prioritise cyclists and pedestrians.
Eleni Myrivili, Europe’s first chief heat officer, is the star of our feature interview. In Athens, she warns journalist Alex Katsomitros that, “we have cities that worked for a pre-climate change era, not the kind of weather we will be dealing with.”
I have to admit that I’d never heard of ‘gender mainstreaming’ until I read Valeriya Safranova’s feature for this magazine. I encourage you to read this fascinating piece on how urban planners are finding ways to make our built environment more suitable for all.
We also take a take a closer look at how trees impact city life. Most people appreciate some green in their neighbourhood, but as Philippa Nuttall finds out, not all urban trees pack the same positive punch.
And as a Brussels-based magazine, how could we fail to mention this city’s spectacular Art Nouveau architecture? Gabriele Rosana gives us the story behind Brussels’ year celebrating Art Nouveau.
All of this and more awaits you in this month’s The Parliament. Happy reading.