More journey than goal: 50 years of Process design
Second Phase, Short- and Longlisted Entries
Bosshard & Luchsinger Architekten AG
Team: Adrian Judt, Diego Martinez, Sebastian Pichler, Paul Pichler, Clara Linsmeier, Sebastian Sattlegger
Landscape planning: Knoll Consult
Other specialist plannings: ARGUS Stadt und Verkehr Partnerschaft mbB, Prof. Dr. Ingrid Breckner (sociology), FORMAT (urban design)
Sub-area 1 – ‘Urban Habitat’: Lichtenberg / Friedrichsfelde
Sub-area 2 – ‘the Densification of Suburbia’: Mahlsdorf, Birkenstein, Hoppegarten
Sub-area 3 – ‘Fifteen-minute Cluster Region’: Trebnitz, Jahnsfelde, Worin
More Journey than Goal: 50 Years of Process Design
When we talk about a vision for the Berlin-Brandenburg region 50 years from now, as planners we must ask ourselves what we know and so can make predictions, and what unknown developments we wish to help shape. The Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region and the Brandenburg landscape can be divided into three physical zones. The first is Berlin proper, which is densely built and structured by independent mixed-use neighbourhoods. The second zone encompasses the urban landscape, which expanded during the twentieth century. It encompasses a kaleidoscope of urban planning guidelines, individual housing preferences, and economic developments. This area has stretched into the surrounding landscape and is concentrated along the transport routes. It is typified by its direct proximity to Berlin and it constitutes the metropolitan area around the core city. In the landscape of the Margraviate of Brandenburg region, the third zone, there are villages and small towns that have come together to form larger rural communities. The region is marked by its dichotomy of isolated villages in the landscape and the administrative and functional interdependencies of the municipalities and districts. Looking back over the past 100 years, we can state with confidence that large green spaces and bodies of water are stable elements of the area’s physical character. Infrastructures and transport radials or corridors also guide urban expansion. Both the metropolitan and rural areas are exemplified by different functional networks and administrative structures. Three factors are crucial to the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region’s development as an important metropolitan region in the future. The unpaved areas and natural areas must be protected and qualified, and their value for food production, recreation, energy generation, and climate protection recognised.
The areas around public transport stations and the linear urban areas along the main arteries are to be strengthened functionally and physically. They constitute the basis for a sustainable and functional mixed-use and walkable city. Across the shared state border of Berlin-Brandenburg, burdens must be distributed equally, and resources must be activated in a coordinated manner. A trans-national land policy, sustainable value creation, and the involvement of members of civil society can facilitate sustainable development.
Households are the basic unit of a vital metropolitan region. Instead of speculating about the future population of the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region, the household as a variable entity is at the centre of our considerations. In the past, men were typically the sole providers in the classic nuclear family and thus determined the family’s place of residence. In the future, however, decisions regarding one’s place of residence will be based on democratic structures in heterogeneous household constellations (single, patchwork, LGBT, communal groupings, golden agers). The tendencies toward weighing up the benefits of proximity to the workplace, educational institutions, leisure facilities, and expressions of individual status are already apparent. Only a holistic view of the needs of workers, caregivers, and those needing care will provide the basis for an inclusive urban development that takes gender and generational perspectives equally into account.
Thus, the urban region has to meet many different needs and should allow for a wide range of planning and mobility options. For this purpose, a tactical process design for cooperative and inter-institutional planning should be developed, one that reflects the needs of those who use and live in the city, rather than simply the needs and wishes of major planning bodies and developers.
Accessibility of Life Circles, Frameworks, and Processes
To enable all residents to deal with their daily chores within a 15-minute radius from their homes and to reach their places of work within an hour, the prevailing logic of the functional separation between living, work, travel, and leisure must be further developed. The public transport structures in Berlin are already overloaded (S-Bahn circular railway); a future challenge, therefore, would be to reduce the number of cross-commuters and provide equivalent working and living conditions throughout the settlement areas of the metropolitan region. The network of the main roads and public transport stations forms a framework for further processes of urban development. Using the existing and updated control mechanisms, as well as implementing restructuring, consolidating, and activating measures, the current demands can be served, and additional areas can be developed. In this way, the metropolitan region can also react to changing framework conditions in the next 50 years, thereby avoiding any unnecessary sealings and major planning errors.
Basic Concept for the Settlement Area
The metropolis of the future is characterised by a robust spatial framework in which unknown functional-spatial causal relationships can emerge. Building on the existing developments, the stations of the public railway transport routes and the main radials of Berlin-Brandenburg establish a stable structure that unites and interconnects the settlement structure. This concept is based on the avoidance of journeys (through the city, of short distances) and the shift away from the personal car to other modes of transport. In the future, this will have to be consolidated by additional routes and other mobility carriers.
Hubs and Railway Station Districts
Hubs and railway station districts have great potential for development. The centrality inherent in the stops and stations should be activated to the benefit of the entire city. In the context of a walkable city (or ‘a city of short distances’), it is important to regard the stops as more than just mobility stations. They are also central hubs and can serve a wide variety of uses related to, for example, local cultural and educational institutions, and public institutions. The hubs should provide a decentralised contact point. In addition, the underused areas in the immediate vicinity of the transport stations should be densified into small and lively urban districts. In the context of the sequence of the main radials, the aim is to transform the arterial roads into urban spaces by interweaving the street space and adjacent functions by ensuring the quality of the public spaces and the spatial and functional densification of the housing. Thus, it is necessary to reduce transit or through traffic and to reorganise public space in an attractive way to accommodate different needs. In addition, local identities are to be strengthened and the monotony of a spatial sequence replaced with something more exciting.
Second, it is necessary to activate and control developments because different spatial-cultural structures require different approaches to stimulation, requiring structure-related planning concepts across administrative boundaries. In the core zone of the densely populated city, it is important to counteract the tendencies of speculation and rising rental prices and to let the residents of any given neighbourhood actively participate in its development. Additionally, the provision of green and open spaces must be given higher priority in the context of climate change. The European city of the twentieth century is characterised by mobility corridors and functional clusters. Programmatic consolidations must activate the potential of civic engagement in single-family homes and preserve the qualities of suburbia. Can the functionality of the commercial clusters can be further optimised in the course of digitalisation? Can they become new identity-creating structures in the metropolitan area? In rural areas, the respective localities can maintain their character and the quality of life can be increased through careful stimulation, expanded cooperation, and new mobility possibilities. By strengthening the village identity and everyday uses, the distance between old and new residents can be closed over time. The returnees in particular have great potential here.
Third, the synergies and cycles of landscapes must be considered. In order to avoid further urban sprawl, green spaces and agricultural structures must be strengthened against the tendencies of the building industry by valorising the landscape areas. Locally specific, programmatic, and institutional focal points (‘magnets’) form synergies between research, agriculture, and the economy. Magnets in the hybrid landscapes must also be strengthened. A network of economic cycles, functional interdependencies, and production landscapes form a hybrid landscape, which is characterised by a multitude of (often conflicting) priorities that are activated and used in an interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary manner. Through better networking, knowledge transfer, the application of new digital technologies, and climate-oriented management, the added value of non-human actors is increased. These multiple uses enable the landscapes to react, for example, to climatic or economic changes and to develop a resilient character. With regard to rural spaces, we believe that increasing the productivity of the landscape takes place in interaction with the spatial dramaturgy and the identity-defining local characteristics. The transition between contrasting modified landscapes offers great potential for new concepts and securing the landscape qualities of the entire region. The economic upgrading of the landscape goes hand in hand with its aesthetic improvement and an increased ecological functionality of the natural areas of Brandenburg.