The Art of Urban Design: A Critical Catalogue of Post-industrial Regeneration in the Work of Marcel Smets

Cristina Purcar (Ed.)

Universitatea Tehnicà din Cluj-Napoca, 2023


Encompassing three decades of recent urbanistic practice, the publication highlights the complex environments and co-creative processes at work in the renewal of the contemporary city. Rather than a métarécit of the prodigious individual career that connects the showcased projects, the exhibit occasions the opportunity of starring many individuals, organisations, and communities, grouped into professional or social constellations and power systems. These constellations are generated by two kinds of ‘gravity:’ on the one hand, the axiological weight of the city as privileged research object in increasingly more disciplinary areas and, on the other hand, the undeniable attraction force exerted on contemporary subjectivity by ruined industrial and infrastructural places. The selected projects display a threefold diversity: (a) chronological – from the early ‘90s to the present; (b) typological – railway stations (Leuven, Antwerp), port districts (Genoa), urban river fronts (Rouen, Oporto), road infrastructure (Genoa, Antwerp), and derelict industrial areas (Île de Nantes) or public facilities (Ghent, Hasselt); (c) geographical – projects from Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal.

Marcel Smets’ projects curate the post-industrial city beyond purely aesthetic and formal concerns, constantly seeking the improvement of the found urban condition. This exhibit thus ultimately addresses the desire of present-day communities to envision inhabitable futures for the ubiquitous already urbanised yet neglected territories.


ISBN: 9789730400106

222 pagina's, illustraties in kleur & z/w, 31,3 cm x 22,2 cm, paperback, Roemeens/Engels