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With ideas of equality, plurality and progress constituting part of its very foundations, the European city is today facing new challenges arising from its exponential growth and increasing social and cultural complexity. Some of society’s main problems are radically expressed in the city’s public spaces. Segregation, rampant construction, homogenisation and privatisation of urban space are some of the phenomena that are putting into jeopardy the ideal of the open, plural and democratic community that has always been so distinctive of the European city. 

The European Prize for Urban Public Space is a biennial competition that aims to recognise and encourage the creation, recovery and improvement of public space in the understanding that the state of public space is a clear indicator of the civic and collective health of our cities.



Josep Llinàs


Ole Bouman

Juulia Kauste

Sarah Mineko Ichioka

Francis Rambert

Peter Cachola Schmal 

Dietmar Steiner



Preureditve nabrežij in mostovi na Ljubljanici

Ljubljana [Slovenia] 2011

Photo Jani Peternelj

Photo Jernej Valenčič

Photo Atelje VOZLIČ

Renovation of the banks of the River Ljubljanica in the section flowing through the old city centre, a collective effort that concentrates resources in a range of specific interventions.

TOTAL COST: 20,100,000 €
SURFACE: 65,000 m2

Boris Podrecca, ATELIER arhitekti (Jurij Kobe, Špela Kokalj, Maja Kovačič, Urša Podlipnik, Ljuba DallaValle, Jakov Brdar, Nataša Blažko, Tanja (Bojc) Paulin, Tomaž Habič), BB ARHITEKTI, ATELJE VOZLIČ (Vesna Vozlič Košir, Matej Vozlič), DANS arhitekti (Miha Dešman, Katarina Pirkmajer Dešman, Eva Fišer Berlot), TRIJE arhitekti (Andrej Mercina, Ksenija Intihar, Nina Juratovec, Nika Svetina), MEDPROSTOR (Jerneja Fischer Knap, Rok Žnidaršič, Samo Mlakar), URBI (Saša Dalla Valle, Tea Fink)

The City Council of Ljubljana, Turizem Ljubljana, Javno podjetje Energetika, d.o.o., Kranjska investicijska družba, d.o.o.

This work, a joint Prize winner, is the result of collective effort on a large scale, but by means of different specific interventions. It has given relevance to the capacity of the river to structure the city. It has demonstrated how to integrate a river system with urban patterns, giving a sense both of continuity and uniqueness of spaces. This large work is remarkable for its coherence since it covers the entire riverbank space and includes the interventions of several local architects who have sought to continue Josep Plecnik’s legendary project of bridges and riverbank buildings.

Arranjament dels cims del Turó de la Rovira

Barcelona [Spain] 2011

Photo Lourdes Jansana

Photo Lourdes Jansana

Landscaping and improved accessibility to a lookout where the remains of an anti-aircraft gun emplacement combine with those of a shanty village that was later constructed there.

TOTAL COST: 968,332 €
SURFACE: 9,611 m2

JDVDP ARQUITECTES, AAUP. Jordi Romero i associats SLP

Agència de Promoció del Carmel i Entorns S.A.

The Turó de Rovira project in the Carmelo neighborhood has been awarded an Ex aequo Prize because of its delicate and elegant treatment of a space that has a recent history and hitherto marginal position in the city of Barcelona. Apart from the 360 degrees views afforded from a lookout which is now more accessible, the space has also been recovered for collective memory. It evokes the Civil War while also adding value to the remains of a self-constructed housing settlement without conveying any sense of over-emphasis. Hence, marginal space has been discretely included within the consciousness of the city as a whole. 

Special Mention

Exhibition Road

London [United Kingdom] 2011

Photo Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

A main road in one of London’s cultural districts has been repaved and rid of architectural barriers, while vehicular traffic has been regulated by means of a “shared surface” system that achieves a balance of consensus between traffic and pedestrians.

TOTAL COST: 25,000,000 €
SURFACE: 26,000 m2

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Dixon Jones Ltd

This work located in one of London’s main cultural districts has managed to achieve a balance of consensus between traffic and pedestrians, instead of segregating these two very real uses of urban space. This is a premier example of such a deliberately designed calm «shared space», or «shared surface», on a major city road in a large metropolis.

Mémorial de l’abolition de l’esclavage

Nantes [France] 2011

Photo Philippe Ruault

A wharf on the Loire River where slave ships once docked has been renovated with a new riverside walk that replaces a car park, while a memorial space commemorates the slave trade.

TOTAL COST: 7,500,000 €
SURFACE: 8,500 m2

Wodiczko+Bonder, Architecture, Art & Design

Nantes Metropole, Ville de Nantes

This work recovers a space of old infrastructure linked with a harsh history, that of the French slave trade. It is now public space at two levels. The lower part, the compressed form of which recalls the cramped conditions in the ships’ holds has been transformed into a memorial space, while the upper level is a riverside walk where once there was a car park.

Annorstädes / Elsewhere / Ailleurs

Malmö [Sweden] 2010

Photo Tania Ruiz

A permanent installation projects moving images on to the platforms of an underground railway station, thus making the waiting period more enjoyable for passengers.

TOTAL COST: 950,000 €
SURFACE: 4,500 m2

Tania Ruiz

Trafikverket, Statens konstråd, Informationsteknik Malmö

This work was commissioned and constructed concurrently with the Malmö City Tunnel that hosts it and expressly designed for its functions. It has given a new dimension to the railway platform space by barring all advertising and replacing it on both sides for a length of 180 metres with an installation of slow-moving images that give poetic sense to the fact of waiting.


Special category

Acampada en la Puerta del Sol

Madrid [Spain] 2011

A large-scale demonstration by citizens demanding improvements in the democratic system by means of a temporary occupation of one of Madrid’s most representative squares.

SURFACE: 10,000 m2

This entry has been assigned a «special category» because it was the subject of the most prolonged and most principled discussion among an evenly divided Jury. Among the issues raised was that of public space as physical container and as an arena for social and civic expression. This intervention also gave rise to debate about basic issues of understanding the parameters of architecture. Since half the Jury was very much in favour of this project being included so as to highlight its relevance in today’s world, the «Special Category» was unanimously agreed upon to reflect this opinion.


More information:

2012 European Prize for Urban Public Space Results

European Prize for Urban Public Space


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