By 2015, the population of Mannheim will have been reduced by approximately 8%: 25,000 inhabitants of the U.S. Army community will leave the city, leaving behind a series of urban voids that are scattered throughout the metropolitan area.
How can the 9 vacant military bases and barracks be transformed, how can new urban potential and program be defined and successfully be placed on site? How can future citizens and uses be allocated on a total area of 510 hectares?
The work methodology we propose is called “Quadratestadt+”. The term “Quadratestadt” refers to the historical center of Mannheim, which is organized and easily identifiable by its grid layout. This iconic figure results in easy orientation and positive identification of the citizens with their urban surrounding. The “+” refers to the enormous potential for the metropolitan area to create new urban attractors with different uses on the sites of the former U.S. Army bases. We envision these territories to be incorporated within a redefined urban network, being sustainable in terms of equally distributed urban uses according to demand as well as a smart balance between city and nature.
We have designed an urban toolbox to analyze and simulate a combination of program variables in the field, and a mapping methodology to identify stakeholders, present uses, urban imaginaries as well as the main obstacles and opportunities for each of the army bases and their immediate surroundings. An open source feedback loop combines bottom up and top down processes; including considerations for the needs of the primary, secondary and especially the tertiary sector that already employs 72% of Mannheim’s workforce.
Encouraging alliances, combining formal and informal tendencies in urban planning, understanding the needs and desires that can lead to the creation and appropriation of newly designed and developed urban spaces for all target groups, as well as attracting future inhabitants and businesses is key in the successful development of Mannheim and the Rhine Neckar Region.
Location: Mannheim, Germany