This March, a group of fifteen students from U. Penn’s Department of City and Regional Planning will travel to Madrid, Spain to participate in a week-long workshop where they will collaborate with European academics, professionals and civic leaders to conceptualize an emergent Lisbon-Milan axis called the “European Diagonal”.
The workshop is being sponsored by Fundación Metrópoli, an international NGO dedicated to creating and sharing knowledge towards building a sustainable future and the Fundación Astroc, a real estate development company committed to the improvement and development of cities. The goals of this megaregion workshop are threefold: identify the urban form in Madrid, conceptualize the European Diagonal, and posit the Diagonal as a ‘hinge’ between Northern Europe and Northern Africa.
The students will explore the megaregion concept within the European context and consider how the “European Diagonal” is being configured and integrated through infrastructure and transport systems, economic, mobility and environment strategies, to become a complementary space to the “European Pentagon.” During the first days of the trip, two-person reconnaissance teams are paired with one of the cities in the Diagonal where they will gather qualitative and quantitative information, reconvene with the team in Madrid and place the Madrid within the context of the European Diagonal. European and American faculty will lecture students and guest facilitators on regional planning, polycentric development and megaregions. The workshop will culminate with a presentation based on the aggregated findings of the trip. The students will continue to refine the concept of the European Diagonal throughout the spring semester with final presentations available in May 2007.