The European city is a nucleus in a network of approximately 500 cities with an average population of 50.000-1.000.000 inhabitants and an average distance of 100 km. In-between, there is a cultural landscape which has many qualities despite its dense population. This cultural landscape is pervaded by efficient transport infrastructures. Despite some deficits, this centuries-old constellation has a high quality of life and urbanity compared to most other urban areas on earth. Above all, it is important to optimize this constellation and not just focus on individual compact cities. Today, we are commonly taught that at least 50% of the world’s population is living in cities. However, it is forgotten that half of these 50% are likely to live in urbanized landscapes. Also, the majority of the European cities’ population lives on the outskirts of the city and not in the center. The urbanized landscape, for example the entire ‘Rhine banana’, is interesting because it contains a high density of population, urban facilities, industry and logistics, as well as a large proportion of agricultural land: a ‘productive’ landscape. This landscape cannot be designed, but only steered. The steering mechanisms consist rather of ‘braking factors’ that protect against over-urbanization than of propulsive building projects.

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