Interpreting and understanding the town center and developing it in thematic spaces.
Stadt Mannheim, Fachbereich Städtebau
phase 1: 2007
phase 2: 2009
phase 3: 2009
phase 4: 2009 - today
city center: 4,46 sqkm
Urban Catalyst Studio, Berlin
MESS GbR mobile einsatztruppe stadt und stil, Kaiserslautern
ASTOC / Mess / Urban Catalyst Studio
A chessboard pattern with 144 squares marks the basic shape of planning for the town of Mannheim which the Town Center Development Concept (EKI) has been refining since 2007 with cultural offerings, retail shops, new neighbourhoods and a futuristic vision. Housing and work are the two determining poles in the town center. Using a broad public participatory method, urban catalyst studio, MESS and ASTOC identified seven areas of tension and pinpointed them in the town center. Action plans derived from them are providing stimulus, making connections and developing space. Working closely with the municipal authorities, more than a hundred specific project proposals were drawn up, for example, which among other things offer approaches for finding solutions to traffic problems, close gaps in the network of pathways and use attractions to enhance the appeal of the so-called Planken as a pedestrianised zone.
The process of drawing up the Town Center Development Concept was one of the first in 2006 to come up with a development strategy for the town center with the aid of wide-ranging public participation, and to propose numerous serious projects in collaboration with the municipal authorities. In a multi-stage, public process, the planning team included the many players in the districts alongside stakeholders. Informal round table discussions in the initial phase were followed in the ideas and conceptual phase by the Town Center Development Concept lounge with five thematic ideas tables, town safaris and workshops. A steering committee as well as political bodies supported the creation of spatial maps with recommendations for action, visions and projects. After an internal administrative inspection by the town, today we see the goals set out in the Town Center Development Concept being permanently adopted with the advertising of open space competitions or the construction of the new night school academy. For ASTOC, the project offered a major insight into broad-based public processes which now frequently form part of everyday planning life, always tailored to the particular town in its specific situation. In the interplay between the public, stakeholders and municipal authorities, the office acts as a transformer enabling all parties to take part in the discussion on the content of urban development processes.