Urban Arcadia – the Border Area as a Special Zone
Second Phase, Short- and Longlisted Entries
FAKT – Office for Architecture, Kern Tessarz Tratz Architekten PartGmbB
Team: Oksana Chebina
Landscape planning: Lohrengel Landschaft
Sub-area 1 – Zeuthen Environs, Eichwalde
sub-area 2 – Schmöckwitzer Werder
sub-area 3 – Berlin-Brandenburg Transition area
Urban Arcadia – Berlin 2020/2070
Special Zone: The Border as a Place of Cooperation
Berlin is a special city, and this applies to the areas within and beyond the settlement areas. In particular after the increasing densification of the inner areas of Berlin, the outer city and suburban areas should become a focal point for urban planning efforts. Because Berlin is growing rapidly here as well and doing so almost unnoticed. Only those who view and understand the border area between Berlin and Brandenburg as an independent space will discover its enormous and hidden potential and recognise opportunities for its qualified and innovative growth.
Brandenburg and Berlin, Districts and Boroughs, Atelier Berlin-Brandenburg
The main protagonists are now on the border, and so the planning focus shifts from the the city centre to the outskirts. For the first time, the outskirts of Berlin and communities near Berlin, as well as Brandenburg districts, are the focus of settlement planning. Thus far, it has been the growth of land in Berlin and the growing influence of building regulations that have characterised such efforts; but current projects, such as the airport or the Berlin-Brandenburg Joint Regional Planning Department, are demonstrating a coordinated development that is being studied by both sides. This positive tendency should be further developed, as the great challenge of enlivening Berlin’s outskirts can only succeed if all ‘border residents’ are included in the process on a municipal level, where the symbiosis of urban and rural qualities is cultivated together.
2030: Up to 99 Mini IBAs (International Building Exhibitions)
Out of the (up to) 99 mini IBAs emerge 99 visionary and local ‘rulebooks’, which illustrate the legislative potential with which private neighbourhoods and natural islands can develop. Instead of repressive restrictions, concessions are made to a densifying city, a process which is controlled qualitatively by promoting diversity and visual qualities. The Berlin border area is to be deliberately ‘discovered’ and developed as a place of longing. The first step to this end is the exploration and understanding of the existing and the found. This applies to both to both pleasing natural elements and seemingly unattractive areas, such as estates of single-family homes. Nevertheless, up-to-date subjects must be purposefully formulated and implemented so the positive qualities of the outskirts are strengthened and supplemented: public spaces, sharing (also in terms of bundling), mobility, and landscape as well as micro-nature. With the help of the existing urban-planning rules, creative additions can be made based on local phenomena, thus creating exciting and characterful neighbourhoods, city districts, and green islands. The cooperation between these entities constitutes an urban model for the future.
Qualities: (A) Promoting, (B) Creating, (C) Retaining
Module A: Retrofitting Suburbia
Neighbourhoods along the axes of the star-shaped settlement structure are strengthened and revitalised. The focus of module A is on strategies for pre-existing residential areas, such as single-family housing developments along existing infrastructure axes, in particular areas near railways and other forms of public transport. A significant consolidation is proposed here to increase usage as well as to create diversity and new connections. The large number of interested parties and owners here already render classic planning strategies ineffective. Thus, the implementation of special construction rulebooks is proposed as a supplement. These are to be developed on a regional level, are preferably not restrictive, and allow an endorsed and controlled ‘extra’.
Module B: Urban Hubs
Between the city and the surrounding area, at the intersection of high-performance infrastructures, housing and productivity: New settlement areas should increasingly take advantage of local conditions and be developed according to local aspects. Both spatial and typological inventions are appropriate if they combine a sensible housing density with the rich natural areas and formulate a new city type. How can new settlement areas can be developed according to pre-existing spatial conditions and local particulars? It is less a question of tabula rasa in the area around the city and more about urban development that expands on what already exists and thoughtfully condenses urbanity and nature in unison. In Berlin’s tradition of a polycentric city and today’s examples of crystallisation points beyond the city centre (Adlershof, Tesla, BER, TXL Urban Tech Republic, etc.), dense sub-centres are developed at strategically practical locations. Well-connected to railway and road networks, and in interplay with attractive landscape situations that are preserved and perceptible both spatially and typologically, these small centres benefit from inventions that combine a sensible housing density with the rich natural spaces to formulate a new, contemporary type of urban agglomeration. A robust, flexible urban development model can be ensured through the implementation of site-specific parameters and guidelines, which are collaboratively developed in workshops, rather than by detailed development plans.
Module C: Landscape Parks
Large natural areas, controlled growth, preservation of nature in and around the city, landscape and leisure: Preservation-worthy natural spaces are designated and rendered perceptible through individual qualitative measures or are activated as productive natural landscapes.
An expansion of our legal understanding of the term ‘outside space’ allows for the preservation of ‘pure’ nature with experimental additions. Existing natural spaces are to be protected. In addition, individual qualitative measures should be considered: these would make such spaces local recreation areas and activate them as productive natural landscapes. Green spaces close to the city serve increasingly as productive natural spaces, open spaces, and recreational areas. At the same time, they are enormously important for the city’s climate, air circulation, and the preservation of/an increase in biodiversity. The newly created regional landscape parks supplement the green belt with important conservation zones and opportunities for experimental green spaces and local recreation areas for the future.
Urban Arcadia: Mobility
New connections as ring segments for a networked and polycentric outer city. The basic requirement for successful new neighbourhoods is a mix of typologies and of uses. In addition, reliable transport links to surrounding districts and areas, especially through public transport, is a decisive factor. As well as expanding existing arteries in the surrounding area, we are proposing a new railway link that would connect to existing railway lines and establish connections to other transport forms. In 2020, it is possible to offer new orbital connections on the outskirts of the city and between the existing ring lines (S-Bahn circular railway and Berliner Ring). Instead of a complete ring, there should be five key ring segments, for instance to and from the fast tram and ferry (Spree and Havel).
Urban Arcadia: Participation
Round Table 2.0/A website and app for coordinating and marking locations and plans. New players, new city! Nine Berlin districts and nine Brandenburg districts on the common state border represent a fresh start and a new understanding of urban growth. Instead of grouping (planning) competence centrally, the state border becomes a cooperation area that welcomes experimental housing concepts and creative city models and closely aligns these with the wishes and needs of the area’s residents. The smaller IBAs, summarised in one comprehensive exhibition, promote the necessary scrutiny of urban planners and architects via discussions with residents, focusing on important issues around this intermediate urban space. Emerging projects can examine current developments and generic suburban areas across Berlin’s borders and promote ideas and visions for new and exciting spaces and city blocks.
2070 – Urban Arcadia Berlin
Berlin has the unique opportunity to develop its border area by creating a compact band of natural spaces, new housing, and improving areas of single-family homes. Over the last century, Berlin has experienced vast growth and strange phases of little or even negative growth. This both created and left a variety of special features that are still present on the city’s outskirts and which we are now to preserve and develop. Yet, in today’s urban discourse these areas are often ignored. We suggest reversing this trend and focusing our attention on this border area.
Residents on both sides of the border between Berlin and Brandenburg will become the new players who help determine the future of the metropolitan region. Berlin’s border area is to be deliberately ‘discovered’ and developed as a place of longing. The first step to this end is the exploration and understanding of the existing and the found. Furthermore, current issues and ideas must be purposefully formulated and implemented to strengthen and supplement, step by step, the outskirts’ qualities. The border area of Berlin is to be celebrated as a sequence of exciting identities and discovered as a space with great potential. The multitude of contributions and test areas will pose common questions. How does the Berlin metropolitan region wish and how is it able to grow here? Which qualities should be protected and strengthened? Should the outskirts function differently from the inner city, and, if so, which urban form is appropriate? And how will we live in new neighbourhoods that consist of both city and nature?