The New European Bauhaus (NEB) initiative started back in January 2021, expressing the EU aim and desire of creating beautiful, sustainable and inclusive places, products and ways of living. Some of the main goals NEB will work on are:
- Accelerate the green transition in several economic sectors and society at large.
- Provide citizens with access to circular and less carbon-intensive goods, which support the regeneration of nature and protect biodiversity.
- Bring the cultural and creative dimension to the European Green Deal to boost sustainable innovation, technology and economy.
- Impact the local level through tangible experiences based on the benefits of the environmental transition.
NEB’s approach is based on the combination of global and local dimension, participation and transdisciplinarity, and its core structure is based on three inseparable values:
- SUSTAINABILITY: climate goals; circularity; zero pollution; biodiversity.
- AESTHETICS: quality of experience and style, beyond functionality.
- INCLUSION: diversity; equality for all; accessibility; affordability.
The CO-DESIGN phase
The first step taken by the Commission towards organising this ambitious initiative was a six-month co-design phase, where the civil society and stakeholders were invited to contribute with ideas, visions, examples and challenges. It was crucial to involve people from different backgrounds and areas to think and work together following a participatory approach.
People, organisations, political institutions and companies organised events, conversations and workshops to set the ground of what NEB should be about. The partners contributed to multiply messages and activities, a high-level roundtable was created with 18 thinkers and practitioners and a Conference (April 2021) was held with 8.000 participants from around the world.
Into the DELIVERY of transformation
The implementation will be guided through four thematic axes, inspired by the views and experiences of thousands of EU citizens, professionals and organisations who participated on the first phase:
- Reconnecting with nature: more awareness and willingness to address climate change and reduce exposure to pollution.
- Regaining sense of belonging: building bridges between people, emphasizing the role of cultural and social assets as key factors to make place unique.
- Prioritising the places and people that need it the most: affordable and accessible solutions for all, with focus on the most vulnerable groups and individuals.
- Fostering long term, life cycle and integrated thinking in the industrial ecosystem: the need for more circularity to tackle unsustainable use of resources and waste.
NEB will focus on three key interconnected transformations:
- Of the places on the ground: homes, neighbourhoods, urban and rural areas, physical and virtual meeting spaces.
- Of the environment that enables innovation: depending on the industrial ecosystems, from construction to lifestyle and creative industries; materials to business models; digital to farming.
- Of our perspectives and way of thinking: working with those who reflect on, study and convey our values, such as artists, social scientists, educators and education institutions and youth organisations.
EU funds were announced to support pilot projects based on the last three transformational fields of work. This constitutes the first elements of a support framework to bring NEB’s ideas into reality. The calls are already published and can be found here.
Other positive news for the delivery stage includes the creation of a New European Bauhaus Lab to co-create, prototype and test tools, solutions and policy actions, and the announcement of the New European Bauhaus Festival, to take place in Brussels in spring 2022. This action aims to enhance visibility for change makers to share progress and results as well as foster the engagement of citizens.
CHARTER Alliance members involved in the New European Bauhaus
The Charter Alliance has four full members (ENCATC, ERRIN, ICOMOS, University of Gothenburg) and two associate members (Europa Nostra, EAAE) who are official partners of the New European Bauhaus. Some of them share their thoughts and experiences in relation to their involvement in this initiative:
“The NEB concept is developed for the people and by the people: there is no one-size-fits all definition of it. As partner organisation to the NEB, the European Regions Research and Innovation Network (ERRIN) supports the initiative via a dedicated task force which brings together several ERRIN Working Groups (Design & Creativity, Tourism & Cultural Heritage, Energy & Climate, Smart Cities and ICT) as well as members co-leading activities in these thematic areas. ERRIN wishes to strengthen the NEB’s place-based approach to make sure that it tackles territories broadly, and not only focus on cities and urban areas. Via the conversation hosted by the NEB task force, we showcased the importance of collaboration amongst local stakeholders as well as the crucial role of regions, including peripheric and rural areas. More information: here.”
“ENCATC is extremely honoured to be part of this important movement and will work closely with its members, universities, research institutions, professionals, and policy makers in the field of cultural management and policy to shape all together a new cultural project for Europe. ENCATC is committed to promote inside and outside its network a new vision for universities in the future, where these institutions become more interconnected, cross-sectorial, innovative, and facilitate more cooperation with partners and society and their innovation ecosystems.”
“As one of the first selected partners of the New European Bauhaus, Europa Nostra has ever since aligned all its activities to contribute to this visionary and interdisciplinary movement. The 3 key concepts of the NEB – sustainability, inclusivity and aesthetics – are embodied in Europe’s shared cultural heritage and are key to collectively (re)imagine the future of our society. We welcome the Commission Communication adopted on 15 September, which outlines an integrated policy and funding approach across key sectors to ensure the NEB’s delivery at all levels. Europa Nostra stands ready to represent the heritage ecosystem within the future New European Bauhaus Lab.”
“In its role as partner of the The New European Bauhaus, ICOMOS will advocate the need for a heritage-led transformation of our society, economy and environment. ICOMOS will contribute with fresh standard setting studies relevant for all European countries such as “Quality Principles for EU-funded interventions with potential impact on cultural heritage” and the “European Cultural Heritage Green Paper: Putting Europe’s shared heritage at the heart of the European Green Deal”, a report prepared in collaboration with Europa Nostra. ICOMOS is committed to including cultural heritage as an integral part of the #NewEuropeanBauhaus.”
Source: COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS. New European Bauhaus. Beautiful, Sustainable, Together. (15.09.21).
Pictures: European Commission.