Chances and risks of major projects

8th Heidelberg Construction Forum (21.–22.09.2011)

Construction culture of the 21st century is dialogue culture, at least it should be, i.e. open, transparent and at eye level. Thus, the question is: How can common interests be created from contrasts during complex planning processes? How can different ideas be communicated in one common “language” and be brought together?

The participants at the 8th Heidelberg Construction Forum discussed these questions regarding the chances and risks of major projects on 21.–22.09.2011. “Large projects! Smart is beautiful – urban reconstruction, conversion, master plans” was the headline of the event, during which about 250 decision makers from different fields of construction met at the Portland Forum in Leimen. Ten high-calibre experts dealt with the topic from different points of view, setting participants thinking, presenting new trends and town building concepts and visions.

“Today there is almost no project without opposition in the population”, said ­Andreas Kern, member of the board, in his inaugural address. “In this context it makes good sense to investigate critically the topic of “major projects”. Mistakes are made everywhere, and a certain frankness as well as a lot of courage is needed to admit this and to look for possibilities for change.”

Alexander Wetzig, mayor of the Ulm building department, agreed to this. In his lecture: “Planning and urban development as a discursive process”, Wetzig advocated the theory: Instead of communicating planning, planning itself has to be understood and organised as a process of communication.

After the congress all participants agreed: The situation, in which a large project is formed, will define what it is. It always depends on the point of view from which it is seen. And, finally, it depends on the hope and the aim to achieve high quality and, thus, to create general satisfaction. This we call construction culture.


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