Europan – Under the sign of the productive city

Saint Ouen is changing - Example of modern architecture

The Europan 15 celebrates its 30th birthday this year. The European competition for innovative spatial development for young architects under the age of forty wants to rethink the city and promote joint approaches to new solutions. Through a network of 250 cities and 20 countries in Europe, space and funds are released each year for innovative projects. This year’s theme: The productive city 2.

With this, Europan repeats the target of the 14th Edition in 2017 and joins the effort to do justice to urban development in its complexity and social significance. The closing date for entries is the 29th of July and will be followed by the publication of the final list of participants.

Achieving harmony between architecture, neighborhoods and the city as a whole. While at the same time conserving resources, is a challenge that architects face. Transition processes are just as important as ecological house building.

Wood as building material is fashionable again. A public building in Saint Ouen (93)

Europe and the productive City – 2

In this context the applicants should think about the synergies between the city and productive places. This may concern as well the development of part-spaces embedded in between the surfaces of living and production and includes residual areas or abandoned urban structures. Also the “Changing Metabolism” will be emphasized. The aim is to establish circulars cycles.

In the sense of a circular economy, resources are to be returned to the cycle through recycling or reprocessing. Existing material is to be used more effectively in the sense of the Sharing Economy. Car-Sharing offers and tool rental services can be cited as concrete examples.

While in the spirit of Open Innovation the development of products opens up to a broader spectrum and involves its users, at the local political level this can strengthen co-determination and cohesion in society with Open Source grassroots democratic citizen platforms such as Decidim in Barcelona.

The relationship between function and use and the city as an ecosystem are part of the social considerations. The interaction of old and new, the citizens and their environment are the focus of Europan. The productive city wants to see itself detached from the dualistic perspective and regards the city of tomorrow as a place of synergies.

Not the Europan but fully in the zeitgeist. Could some projects of the 15th edition look like this?

The productive city : Resources, mobility and equity

Common solutions: The focus is on three main topics. Resources – In the context of efficiency, consumption and pollution, the question is how to deal with them and how to distribute them. To create proximity in the urban space, to reduce distances and barrier-free places of the productive city are the set goals to enable a greater mobility. Equity confronts the problem of how spatial equality can contribute to social justice and how both can be connected. The focus is on the harmony between urban and rural areas, as well as rich and poor.

Europan 2019 joins the progressive search for sustainable space approaches for the 15th time and thinks the city of tomorrow.

Subdividing spaces – With each having its particularity

The areas to be developed are in turn divided into three different space sizes: XL, L, S

The size XL denotes the widest handling space, which can also affect spaces between cities and includes the relationship between urban and rural areas. The relationships between different cycles at the regional and local level are taken into consideration.

The size L concerns urban districts, whereby the thoughts mainly revolve around urban quarters. These are areas that naturally stand out from their surroundings. The micro-level S deals with the interventions that are quickest to implement and also only have a temporary effect.

EUROPAN 15’s participating cities

“In Central Europe, former industrial cities are popular with Europan participants.”

In France, Marseille is one of the front-runners with its dilapidated quarters. With Romainville and Champigny-sur-Marne two banlieues from the Paris area participate. While the choice of Auby a small town of 7600 inhabitants in the structural weaker north of France, which at the same time is the largest zinc producer in the country, surprises. And also the French-speaking Charlerois in Belgium joins the formerly highly industrialized cities that welcome these spatial developments.

In Germany, in addition to Selb (Upper Franconia), the towns from the Bergisches Land: Hilden, Ratingen, Solingen and Wülfrath participate together to design a “Bergische Siedlung“. Both arable land and old industrial sites will be developed. The special: All sizes of the subdivisions are represented in this project.

Update (18.02.2020, Oliver): The winners among the participants for the German locations can be viewed on the official website. In addition to the names, the boards with detailed development plans are also available there. For the Selb site, the results can be found here and for the Bergische Kooperation site here.

The cooperation “between Rhein and Wupper” emphasizes strongly the move of those cities with formerly strong textile and metal industries. Within the framework of one of their pilot projects, forward-looking neighbourhood developments are being supported. And the selected areas are located in a zone that is being considered for an expansion of public transport.

The European competition for young architects is not without reason a pioneer of new architecture. Thinking about the city of tomorrow. The productive city has thus integrated like no other concept: living and working in a healthy environment. But the choice of locations is also well thought out. By revitalising old industrial sites, real added value is created. Building today the architecture of the future: This is Europan15.

This article got actualized the 18.02.2020 by Oliver / Update
This article got atualized the 02.04.2020 by VIncent

Munich: Did the time come for an urban & creative quarter?

View from the Reitstraße in Munich.

Munich. The urban planning for the “Kreativquartier“, an urban and creative neighboorhood is progressing. People want to get hip, live creative… and you have a big housing shortage. Is there a change in sight?

Seen from high above: the area forms the letter L.
The area is situated between Dachauerstraße and Infanteriestraße / Munich

For 15 years the idea matured to build a creative district on the former area of the Luitpoldkasernen and its surroundings. This is to consist of four room subdivisions: Creative field, creative laboratory, creative park and creative platform. Seen from the air, the four partial districts form an L. The area extends over approximately 20 hectares – which corresponds to 28 football pitches.

The guiding principle: to combine living, working, culture, art and knowledge.


This Wednesday (22.05.19) another milestone was set: The development plan for the two southern ones of altogether four partial districts was pronounced. For the areas of the future Creative Park as well as the Creative Platform, the next stage is now underway.

It’s not a problem of space. The area is big enough. – It’s a problem of effective housing.

The Kreativ-Platform

While the development plan for the north-eastern creative field has already been in force since 2017 and is intended to create living space for 385 apartments, the creative platform and park with additional living space will follow.

On the ninae-hectare site, 341 apartments are being built by and for the municipal utilities of Munich (SWM) and is part of its “expansion offensive for company apartments”. Within this framework, the municipal utilities intend to build up to 2,500 apartments for their own employees by 2030.

The residential area is planned as a perimeter block development so that there will be space on the ground floor for commercial activities, but as well child care places. The existing listed buildings are to be renovated and in harmony with the new buildings of contemporary architecture.

The decision also allows for a building permit for the extension of the university, while the Faculty of Design is already located at Lothstraße 17. In addition, commercial use is in sight: With the “Munich Urban Colab”, for example, a start-up and innovation centre for Smart City Solutions is to move in and strengthen Munich as an IT location. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, this is to accommodate more than 250 start-ups and is operated by UnternehmerTUM, which is the start-up centre of the Technical University of Munich.

Still good for a visite: The artsy Halle6.

And what else?

The industrial monuments of Jutier– and Tonnenhalle, two approximately 100 meter long concrete structures from 1926, are to be completely repaired. In addition to the construction of an underground car park, the main aim is to create spaces for and the creation of art. In addition, the city council has commissioned investigations into various interventions about the street Dachauerstraße. The possibility of adding a tram station and rearranging the traffic flow should be investigated. Nonetheless, the urban planning for Munich’s Kreativquartier shall catch our attention in the future.

Article: Vincent Translation and photos: Olli