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Urban Planning Workshop in Germany: The Dortmund Project

posted Dec 11, 2009, 5:33 AM by Claus Zapffe   [ updated Dec 9, 2010, 10:10 AM ]
7 - 11 December 2009
Organizing partner: Technical University Dortmund
Funding framework: EDUAC

Urban Planning Workshop in Dortmund, Germany.
Teachers: Prof. Dr. W. Sonne, Prof. Dr. H. Stimmann, Dipl.-Ing. G. Ebbing, Michael Stojan

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Sonne organized the second EDUAC workshop in Dortmund, Germany. The workshop dealt with all scales of urban design, from big urban shemes down down to front gardens and street detailing. During the workshop the students delivered two design proposals each, which were revied by external professionals, amongst them Prof. Dr. Hans Stimmann, former Director of Urban Development at the Ministry of Building and Housing in Berlin. The workshop ended with a half-day conference on urban planning with six international speakers and about 150 participants.

The Dortmund Project used Dortmund as an example of a post-industrial city which has to be developed into a city of the service society, following the actual requests for ecologic, economic, social and aesthetic sustainability. Dortmund is a typical city of post-war reconstruction which put the emphasis on car traffic, dispersed housing areas and functionalist architecture. The result is a cityscape which is not very pedestrian friendly and which does not provide beautiful and recognisable urban spaces.
The key challenge of the short course were to develop the urban design skills of the students to migate urban fragmentation and sprawl. In the Dortmund Project the students had to identify the characteristics of a healthy public realm, perform analysis of public space and it’s weaknesses, propose remediation strategies for existing areas and discuss the challenges of real-life problem-solving and collaboration with traffic engineers, public official and developers.

The aim of the Dortmund Project was to develop ideas and images for specific selected places in the city to start a discussion on local improvements. The Dortmund project focused on the public sphere, the form of public places, which has been mostly neglected in earlier planning. The project explored four typical urban elements: the square, the street, the boulevard, the block. Each element was treated with one specific example:
1. The Square: Hansaplatz
2. The Street: Kampstraße
3. The Boulevard:
Rheinlanddamm / Westfalendamm
4. The Block: DoGeWo21 estate at Wambel

For each example the students were asked to develop ideas how to transform these non-specific areas into beautiful and specific urban places. This included an inquiry into ecological, economic, social and aethetic aspects of sustainability and resulted in impressive images which displayed these places in a possible future way.

The workshop included teaching units by Wolfgang Sonne, Georg Ebbing, Hans Stimmann, Harald Kegler, Karl-Heinz Maschmeier, Michael Stojan and Michael Mehaffy. It also included the lectures of the 3rd Dortmund Lectures on Civic Art (pictured above). There were visits together with the students to the selected places. Students had the oportunity to work at their designs at the university.

Claus Zapffe,
Dec 11, 2009, 6:04 AM