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73 2010


City Regeneration. Cities age too; they grow and transform, they are restructured and their landuses change. It is not always a harmonious process. Often inconsistency and dereliction precede a new burst of development that gets things going. The proposals and projects in this issue attest to the different forms that regeneration of urban spaces can take. Some are remodelled industrial sites, some require a long-term visionary concept.

City Regeneration




City Regeneration


ISBN 978-3-7667-1892-1


























Markus Appenzeller, Ruurd Gietema

CITY REGENERATION TODAY City regeneration is not about building cities that look old. A new Renaissance to overcome the “dark ages” of modernism is no sufficient answer to today’s urban challenges. Planning must be informed by nature, evolution, history and a critical evaluation of existing patterns.


the use of space for human activity rather than the manipulation of stylised convention. ...........

Principle of ModernArchitecturalReSearch (MARS) co-led by Jane Drew

Regeneration and the desire to re-generate supposedly lost treasure is not new. Each and every generation re-generated and therefore regeneration is a concept at the roots of human culture and its development. Without knowing the old – the traditions and the established knowledge – progress is impossible since it would not have any reference. The decline of the Roman Empire for example was paralleled by a huge loss of knowledge. It took about 500 years to recover. The Renaissance was a period where knowledge, technologies and esthetic principles that had been lost were rediscovered – a massive regeneration process that led to the return of classicism in art, architecture and urban design. Buildings and cities were built that were more ideal than the lost originals. In many cases the supposed reconstruction was the original since the rebuilt “original” never existed.

Great leap backward

HafenCity is the transformation of a former part of the port of Hamburg.The masterplan by KCAP and ASTOC is based on fixed principles and flexible rules.

Today we are facing similar trends. We again are building villages and cities that look as if they are dating back hundreds of years while they are brand new. But a city must not be treated as a work of art. Where architects and urbanists have done it and still do that, they are confusing visual order with a deeper, intrinsic kind of order. The order that people create around them every day when they form social spaces, creates small acts of ordering and solves small human problems. Instead these designers act as if no technological revolution has ever taken place and as if no societal changes have surfaced in the last 200 years. Well – not exactly: At a closer look all these new old towns are contemporary in providing for the changes that have taken place. They provide parking and all buildings come with all amenities thinkable; they offer typologies that today’s market apparently is looking for. What looks old is just the façade. These places are modernist developments with a historicising – read history

providing – wrapper for marketing purposes without any rooting in the here and now.We keep criticizing modernism for its finite image of man, its global sameness and the resulting mono-functional environments it created. These developments apart from their pastiche and placement under the heading of regeneration are no different. Both in their content and their appearance, they are a great leap backward.

How to overcome global sameness What was once the driving force behind regeneration, the search for the genius loci, has mutated into concepts applicable universally. The omnipresent harbour crane in every waterfront renewal often is imported from elsewhere, and is not original to the place. Local architectural styles are quoted giving an area a false history and aged appearance. This approach ignores the uninterruptable nature of history and evolution. From the small acts of ordering that continuously take place, larger urban patterns have emerged and evolved, forming clusters of re-usable information. Those are the patterns of the traditional city. They are not mere stylistic contrivances, but evolutionary adaptations to the transcendent needs of human beings – they form the genius loci. But what does this mean to regeneration? One should simply give “generation” the weight it has in the word regeneration – the creation of something genuinely new but with an understanding of the collective genius that makes a specific condition. For urbanists, the patterns that have emerged can be re-used in a useful way today under the right adaptive conditions. They should not be eschewed simply because they have been used in the past yet should not blindly and uncritically be applied. But how can we rediscover and combine with the contemporary challenges and universal progress? What happens to the genius? History can tell us a lot about how to approach this. Many historic cities have shown


tremendous ability to adapt to changing times. Their built environment was capable of dealing with the rise of the motorcar, the changes in society or the emergence of industrial production at large scale. These cities are like lofts at an urban scale. Virtually every function can find its place within the urban fabric and often even within the same building structures. Their quality does not primarily lie in historic façades or places but in the flexibility and adaptability of the (urban) structures and the richness of the patterns established. For example, the regeneration of North Amsterdam shows how history can play a role as a driver for new typologies that respond to the heritage rather than quoting the latter as an aesthetic role model for the development itself. Critical evaluation of patterns, however, is key; they cannot provide the right basis every time. The new estates proposed under a kind of New Urbanism agenda of the Tory mayor for London quote the great old London Estates but ignore the fact that the real estate market today requires much higher densities that will deliver a totally different result. Many of the concepts that are being used in regeneration today make reference to the 19th century. Between then and now, modernism devised radically new concepts and a much more risk adverse business model. Links with the past in their entirety were deemed not in line with the new image of mankind and therefore not pursued any longer. Today we rediscover pre-modernist time principles such as mix of uses, high density, compact cities, public transport, multi-purpose public realm, flexible building types, local materials, urban agriculture and open networks. They are in tune with the aim to arrive at more sustainable cities and they spark imagination and fantasy. But it must surely be integrated into the everyday evolving fabric of human life, and moreover, it must accommodate and respect that fabric in a way that is beneficial for quality of life. This is likely to be the essential professional responsibility of any architect and urbanist. Taking regeneration


seriously requires efforts that go beyond the “light and easy” approaches of many contemporary developments. Urbanism is about earnestly regarding the need to advance and learn and to incorporate more of the bottom-up approaches championed by Jane Jacobs, Christopher Alexander and others. Cities, then, can begin to re-engage with nature and to create their own, healthy life-affirming environments. It is expected that even the star architects today will distance themselves from all starchitect work and align with origins in the humble, local and climatically responsive work that was started already in the 1960s by Jane Drew and the MARS group; perhaps combined with technological optimism in the sense that if technology is used wisely, it can bring economic comfort and abundant leisure to everyone.

Advocating real and embedded complexity The work of architects and urbanists must be informed by nature, evolution and history. Their engagement must serve our well-being and perhaps even our survival. They play a crucial role in an integrated approach where public sector, the development world, stakeholders, architects and urbanists work together to develop integrated concepts that are steps towards learning from and reversing their own and others’ mistakes. Above all the architect-urbanist should refuse to let the complexity of architecture and urbanism be reduced to a mere question of artistic style and novelty of imagination. There are numerous examples that give hope for the future, places where the one or the other has been done successfully – from Bilbao’s Port Redevelopments to Hamburg’s HafenCity. They are contextual but at the same time are new models for regeneration that deliver high-quality environments; within a very short time they have become active while proposing answers to contemporary challenges – real places with rich patterns and an eye on the future.

Perm Strategic Masterplan, Russia

PERM STRATEGIC MASTERPLAN, PERM, RUSSIA Client: Perm City Administration Masterplan team: KCAP Architects&Planners, Rotterdam (urban planner and lead designer); HOSPER, Haarlem (landscape architecture and urban planning); Systematica, Milan (traffic consultants); Pöyry,Vantaa (traffic and engineering consultants); Tavernor Consultancy, London (heritage and townscape consultants); Fakton, Rotterdam (urban economics consultants); Allies and Morrison, London (architects and urban planners during 2008) Project management: CPB (City Project Bureau), Perm Area: 800 square kilometers; planning: 2008 – present

Perm is a city of slightly under one million inhabitants at the foothills of the European side of the Ural Mountains. A weapons industry site, Perm for many years was a closed city; only those with permission could travel freely. This isolation led to the execution of socialist planning ideals at a certain level of purity. Today this is combined with an old town centre dating back to czarist times and with the post communist mushrooming of market economy projects, Perm in many ways is the prototype for many Eastern European cities. Like most of these cities,

Perm suffers from sprawl, inadequate transport and street networks, an abundance of public space that cannot be maintained by the city, dilapidated building stock and a lack of defined streets, squares and parks. Without a plan, the city will continue to lose economic ground and population – a vicious downward spiral with a spatial, but also psychological, component. How can the destiny of a city be changed? And what needs to change to change a city? The Perm Strategic Masterplan tackles this from several angles proposing strategies for each topic

The Perm Strategic Masterplan by KCAP limits the expansion of the Russian city in a defined zone.The area is yet spacious enough to accommodate development for the next 50 years. The land outside the city and on the northern side of the Kama River will largely remain open and unbuilt landscape.

individually so that a maximum of synergies can be created that lead to a city that can become competitive again. Perm is suffering from the “blessings” of the market economy. Projects, built everywhere outside the city, lead to sprawl, huge traffic problems, and strains upon public budgets, which have to provide infrastructure. The first measure is to limit city expansion resulting in a zone that is defined yet spacious enough to accommodate development for the next 50 years. The area outside the city and on the northern side of the Kama River will remain landscape. A more intense regeneration of brownfield sites will result while keeping the city’s size and the cost for public infrastructure in check. Until now, the quality of Perm’s public realm has been low. The regeneration of streets, parks and green valleys connected with the waterfront is key to improving the perceived quality of the city; those will create a solid outdoor space framework that can be extended step-by-step. Another measure is the introduction of block rules with the ultimate goal of establishing a city made of blocks. This will allow for significant densification of the urban fabric, a reduction of public space and the emergence of protected private space in courtyards that can offer new qualities for residents. Finally reorganizing the street network and the public transport system will reveal new opportunities for the public realm and, at the same time, resolve the most pressing transport bottlenecks. In many cases reduced street profiles will provide space for improvements such as the introduction of a cycle network. The Perm Strategic Masterplan was the ideological basis for the development of the Regulatory Urban Development Plan for the City of Perm and together with the latter defines the vision and regeneration of the Russian city. This will be implemented over the course of several decades.


The introduction of block rules allows for significant densification of the urban fabric. Green valleys connect to the waterfront.The regeneration of streets, parks and squares improves the public realm and the perceived quality of the city.



Bay of Pasaia Masterplan, San Sebastian, Spain

The bay has an astonishing setting. Seven villages surround the bay, each with its own community, history and traditions. Living very close to the noisy harbour activities, people are concerned about their health; the smell from the scrap yards can be overwhelming. Relocating the industry would vastly improve the quality of life for the villagers. Travel by foot or bicycle from village to village presents another issue. Although the communities are within close proximity, traffic is heavy and there is little space for cyclists or pedestrians. The harbour was more accessible at


one time, but since 2000 the waterfront has been completely blocked off by fences. The bay has a long history of shipbuilding; many military and trading vessels where built there. Now the companies are relocating and the shipyard mainly repairs ships of the harbour. Unemployment has risen. Is it possible to think of a strategy to revive the Bay of Pasaia – to successfully rejuvenate its harbour and industrial areas and transform them into city districts with lively public spaces, attractive homes and new economic activity?

The redevelopment of approximately 80 hectares of dockside area is an undertaking that will have a far-reaching impact on the entire region. It is envisioned that the project will celebrate the variety of local character, whilst preserving the typical appearance of a port and a bay. Adopting the motto that “each bay has its own wind� the urban plan defines an archipelago of waterfront developments. The local communities must be given the space to grow, to maintain their identities and exercise diversity. The vision adopts the concept of the Basque Eurocity as a new reference. This model consists of multiple urban centres and destinations that are well connected. Inhabitants of this network city travel easily to different places, depending on their needs. They can live in village A, go to school or work in city B and recreate in town C. In a similar way, the communities around the bay can retain their character, each with their local centre and facilities. They are like different districts or neighbourhoods. The masterplan focuses on how each of these districts can become more specific and how they can complement each other. Additionally this empowers the bay to attract new inhabitants and businesses, which will also benefit the existing communities. To guide this growth in a most sustainable way, the plan matches the new development with the strong identity of the existing communities. The diversity around the bay, which we see as a quality, is strengthened by making places with different characters. The programmatic mix of business, leisure and housing reflects this diversity. The development will also provide new public facilities like health, education, culture and community services. Landmark buildings will contain special programs and will be attractions on a regional scale as well as local place makers. The new development improves the connections to the waterfront for the existing communities by extending the network of public space,

Seven villages surround the Bay of Pasaia in San Sebastian, Spain. Harbour activities and related industries dominate the communities. The different diagrams show key components of the bay (from top): characters of the different areas, communities, public transport, roads, water and landscape.


The urban plan by KCAP defines an archipelago of waterfront developments whilst keeping the identity and diversity of local communities. A network of new public spaces provides better access to the waterfront. A continuous public promenade connects the villages

San Pedro Fishing village

around the bay. Squares and

Pasai Donibane Maritime village

parks along the existing quays incorporate historic harbour relics.

Lezo Village Waterfront

Trintxerpe Waterpark

Herrera Park Balcony


Antcho Metropolitan Waterfront

Kapuchinos Research and Innovation

BAY OF PASAIA, SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN Client: Provincial Council of Guipuzcoa Masterplanner: KCAP Architects&Planners, Rotterdam Collaborators: LKS (engineering, sociology and urban economics); Hoz Fontan (local architect); ECOFYS (sustainability) Competition: 2009 Planning: 2009 – present Area: 80 hectares

which stimulates walking and cycling as sustainable modes of transport. A continuous public promenade around the bay will provide water access and a pleasant connection for pedestrians and cyclists between all the communities. New public space along the existing quays will incorporate historic harbour relics like the cranes. Public transportation is also encouraged. Access to the existing stations and train service are

improved. The new urban development is concentrated near these stations. A new station has been introduced to improve access to Lezo and the Kapuchino’s peninsula. The busy national road N-1 will be downsized to a local road while regional traffic will be rerouted to the A-8 Highway. Thus, the N-1 road will become a green, urban boulevard with generous space for foot travel and bikes. Across the water, an additional

ferry line connects all villages. The ferry stops are strategically located for easy community access and connection to the train station. As activity gradually moves out, a key ambition is to make the water more accessible for the public with waterfront parks, water sports, stairways to the water and floating boardwalks. Once an element that separated the communities, the bay will become a central public destination.


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2010 Regeneration  

INTERNATIONAL REVIEW O F LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE A N D URBAN DESIGN 2010 T H E City regeneration is not about building cities that look old.A...

2010 Regeneration  

INTERNATIONAL REVIEW O F LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE A N D URBAN DESIGN 2010 T H E City regeneration is not about building cities that look old.A...

Profile for mlaplus