Fakultät Raumplanung / Lehrstuhl Rechtsgrundlagen der Raumplanung
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Prof.Dr.jur. Carl-Heinz David
Deputy Chairman of the German Deans' Conference for Architecture, Spatial Planning and Landscape Architecture *
Towards a European Deans' Conference Comprising Representatives of Planning and Architectural Departments ?
The European universities and their organisational subentities: the university departments, faculties and institutes, have to reconsider their policies and organisational formation focussing the increasing integration of Europe in terms of their professional, curricular and research activities and in respect of the changing labour markets for their graduates. The representation of the universities on European level by the existing Conference of the university rectors/ chancellors/ presidents appears too unspecific to cope with the various administrative, educational and research issues which for instance the planning departments, faculties, chairs and institutes have to face. For the planning education and the planning professions several organisations carry already out various representative functions in Europe, among them AESOP. But for some of the issues faced by the departments, faculties etc. involved in planning education and research the existing network of organisational bodies appears in some respects still too unspecific looking towards an integrated Europe .
Of course scientific and educational views are exchanged on the various European planning conferences held. But administrative, financial and structural aspects, which the heads of the departments/ faculties, in terms of German university organisation: the "Deans", worry about, are not broadly focussed on such occasions.
So departments have to cope with
the impacts coming from changing state policies and regulations, cutting
funds, cutting staff, impacts from competing other educational institutions
(e.g. in German: the so called "Fachhochschulen") or other neighbouring
scientific faculties (e.g. surveying, geography etc.). Further recently
the educational and professional integration of graduates or already experienced
professionals coming from other European countries or globally from other
countries into the educational, examination, accrediation and professional
system forms a major issue, as well as the acknowledgement of the proper
students coming back from abroad studies requiring the recognition of examination
passed abroad. The deans are in a antithetic position to try to open all
possible educational and professional opportunities to theirstudents and
graduates and to be restrictive to avoid unfair competition from less or
even unqualified competitors, both coming from national and from foreign
courses or professional trainings.
On national level educational and professional already exist in the various countries which used to discuss questions and required solutions more or less on a national scale, which becomes obviously more and more insufficient. At least in Germany the various departments/faculties (law, science, geography, surveying etc.) cooperate in specific bodies, which are designated as "Konferenzen"(conferences). Their legal status differs; in general they are no public bodies, though they represent public bodies mostly in the legal form of a private association, which are funded by their member departments. In the specific case of architecture, spatial planning and landscape architecture there exists a common body, designated as German Deans'Conference for Architecture, Spatial Planning and Landscape Architecture. Within this body a special sub-body discusses specific issues interesting in particular the spatial planning and the landscape architecture faculties. This Deans' Conference only extends to university departments/ faculties. The Fachhochschulen run a similar proper association. Various Fachhochschulen run architectural curricula; but until recently there existed no Fachhochschulen running courses in (town) planning. Therefore the discussion how to distinguish university and Fachhochschul- curricula primarily related to architectural curricula, not to planning education.
A major difference respective to other European countries appears to be, that German university ( and Fachhochschul-) graduation directly gives a first professional qualification, that means that in principle no additional examination by a professional body is needed by the graduate to take up his profession. The curricula of the German Fachhochschulen for Architecture got in the past specific acknowledgment in the respective EU directives for a 10 years period which was recently prolonged. Various European countries are keen to take over the German model to reduce education costs; other oppose for reason of keeping specific educational standards.
Some of the Spatial Planning purist might be surprised at the co-operation in Germany between planning and architectural departments at the level of the Deans' Conference and so do many architects vice versa. In fact there have been intentions in the past to cut the historically grown German Deans' Conference into two different bodies, for instance to launch a specific Deans'Conference representing the spatial planning faculties. But finally there was a wise mutual agreement to continue the co-operation.
For architecture and spatial planning studies exist in Germany two different framework curricula passed by both the German Conference of University Rectors and the German Conference of (federal states) Ministers for Cultural Affairs. These framework curricula form the guideline for the singular pecific university curricula. Further the curricula requirements for the admission of graduates to the preparatory service of future senior (public) planning officers, which a prepared by joint federal states control examination board (Oberprüfungsamt), are of major practical relevance.
The politically supported change from the present German system ending planning and architectural studies with a final graduation as a diploma engineer (Diplomingenieur) to the Anglo-American system of Bachelor and Master graduation shall require, beside other requirements, to institutionalise an accreditation system. This will in particular have the function to professionally differentiate between graduations of higher or lesser qualification, which might relate to the differences in education between from universities/ technical highschools on the one hand and Fachhochschulen (with much shorter curricula) on the other. This discussion only started and has not yet come to an final result.
There exists a major interest of planners coming from a spatial planning education to be professionally qualified by their final graduation for town (and other, as for instance regional, landscape related etc.) planning work (e.g. preparation of drafts for legally binding land use plans, etc) and so to be qualified to take part in public calls for town planning competition. The winner of such a public competition will in most cases be mandated to get the planning contract for the respective public authority for taking over the planning task. This in Germany is legally related to be formally inscripted in the planners' register, which is administrated by the (federal states) chambers of architectures.
The (town) planners' register (in German: Stadtplanerliste) is sometimes designated as "forth register". The other three registers under the supervision of the chambers of architecture relate to the professionalism in the fields of general architecture, of landscape architecture and of interior design. Graduates of other studies, e.g. geographers, do not cope with the "forth list" requirements and therefore are excluded to be involved in these specific professional tasks.
Insofar spatial planners consider themselves as well protected under the legal umbrella of the EC Directive of 06.10.85 85/384/EC on mutual recognition of diplomas, certificates and other evidence or formal qualifications in architecture, including measures to facilitate the effective exercise of the right of establishment and freedom to provide services, Official Journal L 233/15, 21.08. 1985, a legal effect which some representatives of the architectural profession do not like to accept. But within the German Deans'Conference it is not contradicted between the represented architectural, spatial planning and landscape architecture faculties/ departments, that all their graduates fall under the protection provided by the European law within field of application of the above mentioned EC Guideline and are generally qualified to be listed in the respective appropriate register run by the chambers of architecture in the various federal-states (e.g. Nordrhein-Westfalen, Bayern, Hessen etc.).
This explains why just from the beginning German representatives of spatial planning departments took part in conferences which have been launched to discuss mutual interesting issues in the field of architectural education. between Italian and German representatives about three years ago. In the meantime the meeting institutionalised as the so called "Villa Vigoni" group., according to the meeting place at the Lake of Como, Italy. At the last meeting in Italy already representatives from other European countries took part and this "Vigoni Group" appears to become the nucleus of a more comprehensive European professional body in the field of architectural education in a wider sense. At the beginning of the meetings the involvement of spatial planners was difficult for the Italian representatives to understand, as in Italy the architecture and urbanism are still considered as different fields of education and profession. As a
follow up of the Villa Vigoni Conferences, there is going to be a first European wide orientated Deans' Conference in the year 2000 in Aachen, in which at least the German spatial planning and landscape architecture Departments will take part, as they consider themselves forming part of the profession circumscribed by the above mentioned EC-Guideline due to their professional involvement in areas of mutual professional interest, as in particular in urban, regional and environmental planning.
Spatial planning departments/ faculties in other European countries will have to consider what position they intend to take in so far in the future.
The borderlines between the various curricula concepts, at least in Germany, have become less strict than there were in the past when spatial planning curricula were emerging as proper university education. Interdisciplinarity is no longer a scientific quality only attributable to spatial planning (education). On the other hand spatial planning has reached a proper scientific reputation, which other curricula would like to attribute to their graduates, too. In spite of the above mentioned differently structured framework curricula for architecture and for spatial planning, there exist major overlapping in particular cases between the curricula though they are based on different frameworks; on the other the spatial planning curricula of the various universities running courses in this field differ considerably and show different scientific and curricular profiles . The German terminology, which is difficult to translate (e.g. in German: Orts-, Regional- and Landesplanung / Raumplanung) conceals more than it clarifies. A recent analysis on the professional and educational situation on the field of spatial planning in Germany in the wider sense, which is widely agreed by both architectural and planning faculties, revealed the wide range of scientific and educational profiles of the various architectural, spatial planning and landscape planning faculties/ departments involved in this field. In Germany the reference to mentioned framework curricula allows a formal classification, as the former antagonistic comprehension sometimes fails to provide an appropriate differentiation.
It would be interesting to learn whether such tendencies of convergence can be stated as well in other countries. Anyway, for strategic reasons the European departments, faculties, chairs and institute involved in spatial planning education and research have to reconsider their position within an educational and professional world which is changing rapidly and have to decide how to respond. Considering to join a European Deans´ Conference could be one step.
1. The German designation is "Europäische Rektorenkonferenz"
2. Fachgruppe Raumplanung und Landschaftsarchitektur. The author is the Speaker of this sub-body.
3. The English translation of Fachhochschule as "polytechnic" is not quite accurate.
4. This appears different from graduations basesd on 3 years courses in other European countries.
5. Kultusministerkonferenz(KMK)/ Hochschulrektorenkonferenz (HRK), Rahmenprüfungsordnung für Diplomprüfungen im Studiengang Raumplanung an Universitäten und gleichgestellten Hochschulen, 1991; id. , Rahmenprüfungsordnung für Diplomprüfungen im Studiengang Architektur an Universitäten, 1997
6. See David, Europarechtliche Aspekte der Raumplanerausbildung im Hinblick auf Berufsaufnahme und -ausübung, Umwelt- und Planungsrecht, 1998, S. 53.
7. A recent publication, prepared by members of the German Deans'Conference and the two major professional organisations (Informationskreis für Raumplanung -IfR und Vereinigung für Stadt-, Regional- und Landesplanung-SRL), tries to specify this for the area of overlapping educational and professional activities, see David, Carl-Heinz(Ed.), Ausbildung auf dem Gebiet der Stadt-, Regional- und Landesplanung/ Raumplanung in Deutschland, Dortmund, 1998, available with Dekanat Raumplanung, Univ.Dortmund, Fax.0049 231 2620 .