Europan Germany

E14: Topic


In recent decades, a comprehensive urban renewal in the sense of a mixed-use city has taken place throughout Europe. Housing remains the predominant program in most urban development areas of the post-industrial era, judiciously complemented by office space and public amenities, by culture, stores and gastronomy, so that an authentic, lively and urban district can develop. In retrospect, it can be seen that one important aspect was systematically excluded: the productive economy.

Under the theme "Productive Cities," Europan wants to place a special emphasis on sustainable urban development through mixed-use neighborhoods, alternative energy and hybrid use concepts that meet people's need for a city of short distances and that allow for a diversity of lifestyles, cultures and uses.

The boundaries between commercial, residential and retail are becoming increasingly blurred. This is in line with the recent cabinet decision in November 2016 to expand the Building Use Ordinance to include the new building area category "Urban Areas." In addition to the social need to reconnect living and working more closely, the awareness of conserving resources and strengthening local material and value-added cycles is also helping to reintegrate places of production into the city, provided they do not impair the quality of life. This involves transforming monofunctional residential areas into productive neighborhoods as well as revitalizing urban areas that are predominantly characterized by offices and commercial uses. And last but not least, the building itself is part of the Productive City.




How can monofunctional commercial and industrial areas be transformed into lively neighborhoods integrated into the urban fabric? Today's urban landscape is characterized not only by large industrial areas with direct connections to metropolitan infrastructure networks, but also by areas of light industry within the urban soft landscape. These areas function in isolation from their surroundings and have their own monofunctional rhythm. The challenge now is to insert into these labor enclaves new economic forms that generate synergies between uses. At the same time, it is necessary to make these areas more permeable in order to generate a lively urban milieu. How can urban spaces emerge that provide shared uses for those who work here, visitors, and residents of surrounding areas?



Neu-Ulm, Zwickau

How can neighborhoods be revitalized by artisans, do-it-yourselfers and local production? Today's predominant urban model is the "mixed city," which mostly consists of housing, offices, cafés and restaurants. Productive work as a prerequisite for a vibrant neighborhood is mostly left out of the picture. Yet inner-city neighborhoods threatened by vacancies in ground-floor zones, as well as monofunctional residential neighborhoods, could benefit from productive offerings, especially given the importance of local production for creative and knowledge-based industries. What economic balance is needed to maintain or establish production as an essential factor for mix in the city?



Aschaffenburg, Munich-Taufkirchen

How can a change in mobility thinking open up transport spaces more strongly for urban life? Infrastructures in the city are indispensable for a dynamic economy. But for the most part, they act as urban voids. Freeways, parking lots or transfer hubs go beyond scale and reinforce urban fragmentation. New mobility concepts open up perspectives for their adaptation and integration into urban life. Street spaces can be reduced and enhanced in terms of design, surplus parking spaces can be reused, and mobility nodes can be transformed into productive cores to generate synergies between mobility, production, and urban life. What spatial strategies can help transform infrastructures into an integrated component of productive urban spaces?



How to reintroduce production in formerly active areas? Many former industrial sites in city centers or on their periphery are now vacant, production has been relocated or ceased, the buildings are in desolate condition, and the sites have become wastelands. What they have in common is a past as places of productive work and a more than uncertain future. Our wishful thinking is to transform these places into new dynamic urban neighborhoods. However, to prevent gentrification and monoculture that can be observed in many places, it seems sensible to reintegrate them into the city as places for productive activities, as an important part of the urban mix. What forms of work could revitalize former production sites?