The format of International Building Exhibitions (IBA) for cross-border planning concepts

                                                              

The format of International Building Exhibitions (IBA) for cross-border planning concepts

Isocarp
Solution proposed by: 
ISOCARP International Society of City and Regional Planners
In a Nutshell: 
The so-called IBA stands for 'Internationale Bauausstellung' (International Building Exposition), a format originally developed in Germany a hundred years ago. Since then, the IBA has become an instrument for visionary urban development. An IBA seeks to overcome institutional and territorial boundaries within a new approach, such as for cross-border planning and cooperation processes in the case study of the IBA Basel 2020 from the trinational agglomeration area of Basel.
Where and When: 
In the trinational agglomeration area of Basel, a group of experts drew up a regional development strategy known as “Eine Zukunft zu Dritt” (Vision of a trilateral future) in 2007. The cross border collaboration was then institutionalised with the establishment of the “Trinational Eurodistrict Basel” (TEB), an organisation with political representatives and the administrative bodies of the regional authorities in the tree adjoining states. In 2009, the International Building Exhibition IBA Basel 2020 was called into being by political decision-makers from Switzerland, France and Germany.
Challenges: 
An International Building Exhibition is a non-formal instrument, enhancing horizontal and vertical cooperation through the shared work on projects. Ultimately, the non-formal format of an IBA can strengthen regional planning perspectives and help to overcome systemic barriers in planning processes. It is an opportunity to explore models for new approaches and gradually optimise projects with the aid of approval processes. Overcoming institutional and political barriers and establishing practical cooperation on specific projects with a range of different players is a major challenge for an undertaking on this regional scale. Ultimately, IBA formats like this strengthen regional planning perspectives and help to overcome systemic barriers in planning processes.
Innovation: 
When formal planning comes up against limits, what’s needed is a common desire for far-reaching cooperation in a specific living space. The IBA provides a platform for a shared intent that paves the way for the implementation of the projects. “Growing together across borders” is the guiding principle of IBA Basel 2020. However, the concept seeks to transcend historical, mental, cultural, transportation, urban development and planning barriers. IBA Basel is an opportunity to explore models for new approaches and gradually optimise projects with the aid of approval processes in a trinational, cross-border region.
Concept: 
In the specific context of enhancing regional development in a cross-border region, the following arguments can be pointed out to hold an International Building Exhibition:
 1. The format of an IBA is a flexible instrument, borne out by the experience of previous exhibitions. However, while the impetus in previous IBAs has tended to come from building and planning, the goal now is to explore a broader spectrum of application for the projects and thus to achieve results on many different levels, especially on a regional scale. It bears the chance for cross border planning concepts, working beyond territorial boundaries. 2. Programmatic methods are applied in the instrument of an IBA. In a process lasting several years, IBA projects – which are no longer restricted exclusively to construction plans
 – take shape within a designated timeframe, marking a series of milestones in the period. This means resources can be pooled in terms of scheduling and finances. 3. The approval process, which ensures the quality of the projects is usually monitored by a scientific board of trustees. Based on recommendations issued by the board of trustees at regular intervals the projects are developed step by step. The qualification process guarantees the adherence to the motto of an IBA.
Description: 
IBAs (International Building expositions) have a tradition stretching back over more than a century. The first IBA took place in Darmstadt in 1901. Since then, Germany has hosted nine such exhibitions and plans are in place for more. To begin with, the IBAs were very much a showcase for architectural achievements. Inter- nationally renowned architects were invited to develop new residential projects within a specified area. The essential character of the IBAs has changed a lot since then, shifting from being a purely architectural exhibition to promoting an integrated approach to urban development. They now use ideas and projects to trigger a process of transformation in urban and countryside environments, and across regions as a whole. The IBA Emscher Park created by the state of North Rhine- Westphalia between 1989 and 1999 to encourage revitalization in the area has played a central role in the history of the International Building Exhibitions, attracting worldwide acclaim. The program aimed to transform a region shaped and scarred by heavy industry into a vibrant environment with an ecological focus. This process involved changes in the economic structure and the pro- vision of support for ambitious start-ups in close cooperation with colleges and universities. In promoting the structural transformation of an entire region, IBA Emscher Park marked a turning point in the history of the IBAs. “Growing together across borders” is the guiding principle of IBA Basel 2020 in the trinational agglomeration area of Basel. However, the concept seeks to transcend historical, mental, cultural, transportation, urban development and planning barriers. IBA Basel 2020 is a catalyst for a new dynamic that uses viable projects to create an exemplary model of a cross-border, trinational region. IBA Basel 2020 seeks to develop a dynamic that will bring together people within the trinational region and find intelligent ways to boost the regional development.
Impacts: 
Unlike formal processes, the non-formal instrument of an IBA can react more flexibly and quickly, and with a stronger focus on projects. Formal structures for territorial development can differ widely from nation to nation, especially in their decision-making processes. They have emerged from different understandings of the concepts of state and planning. The non-formal instrument of an IBA is particularly suitable for cross-border planning concepts and cross-border cooperation on projects. Regional events like the Symposium held in 2013 on the occasion of the IBA Basel 2020 Project Exhibition support the process of knowledge exchange and building up solutions for informal planning.

Photo Gallery

photo credits: IBA Basel 2020 - Symposium in Basel, Oct 2013: „Cross-Border Planning and Cooperation - Urban and regional planning across borders
photo credits: IBA Basel 2020 - View of the trinational agglomeration area from Basel, looking toward Germany and France, 2010
photo credits: IBA Basel 2020 - Trinational Eurodistrict Basel – territorial boundaries within the trinational agglomeration area (TEB, 2007)