A neighbourhood around a square that invites you to linger? As short a distance as possible in the city? Basic services around the corner?
The Lößniger Piazza is the pulsating heart of the entire neighbourhood, a meeting place for young and old. You can hear children playing around the central fountain instead of traffic noise disturbing conversations. Parents sit carefree on benches or on chairs in the restaurant and can eat without worry. Later, they relax and do their weekly shopping. Students arrive by bike via the long-awaited east-west connection across Taro Street and visit the bar. At the neighbourhood centre, you can hear young and old laughing and having fun together. Grandparents don’t have to walk long to get to the nearest bus or streetcar stop and take care of pharmacies and doctor’s appointments in peace. People at work watch the spectacle from co-working offices and look forward to their lunch break under the trees.
Once a decaying brownfield drove a wedge into Leipzig’s otherwise densely built-up urban landscape, causing two adjacent neighbourhoods to develop increasingly sharp contrasts over decades of division. A new construction project for a lively neighbourhood in the Bayerischer Bahnhof urban area intends to build a bridge and reunite Südvorstadt and the new building blocks. The Lößniger Piazza plays a central and represents a place of encounter and gathering. We have developed our vision of a possible first-floor design for this project. In the future, among other things, a chess café, a pop-up restaurant or a sports store with a climbing wall could be a popular meeting place for residents of a reunited city.
Conception of a mixed-use, participative & inclusive space
The planning of the new quarter wants a central town square. This offers great potential for public life and community in the neighbourhood. Commercial uses concentrates there as well.
We now want to fill it with life through a utilization concept! To this purpose, we start with an analysis of the requirements that should be placed on the square. The guiding principle of a mixture of uses is essential for us, as well a participatory, connected and inclusive community. Based on the planned functions, you can then, in the second part, see the transfer of the concept into space on four sketches.
We have spent an entire semester working on the Bayerischer Bahnhof area. After we focused on the analysis of the already existing structures in the area of the Lößniger Piazza in our first and second post, we will now formulate concrete use and design ideas for a neighbourhood for all.
The following synergies and focal points have emerged for us in advance:
Concept for the development of a sustainable, livable and green quarter in the south-east of Leipzig
The right to the city as the right to a renewed green urban life.
Rapid population growth is often accompanied by a decline in the quality of the urbanization process. With our concept design, we aim to provide residents a balanced and sustainable green life. We encourage innovation through community and environmentally conscious living.
Sustainablility issues are particularly important to us. A key point is the coexistence of urban living and nature. Mixed uses of space are the most important aspects of successfully shaping public life in a piazza. In addition, many everyday uses are centrally located to make everyday life easier through short distances. The goal is to bring the community together and encourage social interactions.
An analysis of the social components of the development project
In the near future, 1.600 apartments will spring up from the abandoned land at Bayerischer Bahnhof. A district park is to be created whereas a school campus, an elementary school, and a daycare center will emerge. Moreover, high-rise office buildings will fill the area in front of MDR. Ask the people in the neighbourhood about these plans: Yes, they had heard about it. But they don’t know any more details. If they could participate in designing their new neighborhood? They were not sure. The media discourse revolves around the new plans of the investors and the city – but what about the demands and the participation of the residents? And the future residents of the new quarter? After all, for whom is the planned urban space, if not for them?
In our previous article “Where are the people between Südvorstadt and Südost?” we reported of the low appropriation of space. As explanatory factors we suspected polarization and a lack of social networking in and between the adjacent neighbourhoods and of platforms for participation.To verify the theses we examined the city statistics and got in direct contact with the people who currently use the space – and we were able to confirm them.
So what does the neighbourhood expect from the project on its doorstep? And: who is the neighbourhood anyway?
Although the Bayerische Bahnhof is in a central location, not everyone is aware of its fallow land. Why is that?
Located in the east part of the Südvorstadt, the public space seems to be a little secret, forbidden and forgotten. Attractive for some, a deterrent to others. Grasses, shrubs and small trees sprout between concrete roads and gravel. Besides the paths, there are garbage heaps and broken glass. The expanse of the former railroad area radiates peace and is especially attractive for walkers, dog owners and joggers. Through its partial function as a public park, it is a social meeting place for young people. Furthermore, the graffiti-sprayed ruins and walls serve as a shelter for homeless people. And we were on site for you!
Nature is not what looks well-groomed and landscaped, but what has not been created by humans. It is a part of reality, whose details are often unnoticed because of superficial layering.
Soon, the large construction project will begin on fallow land behind the porticus of the “Bayerischer Bahnhof”. In this article we will show you how diverse a fallow landscape can be, if you take a closer look and which discoveries can be made there. Nature is difficult to describe, you have to experience and explore it.
The open spaces south of Bayerischer Bahnhof seem to be one thing above all: barely noticed. The crossing, serving as an extension of Shakespeare Straße, is well frequented by people, otherwise: all is quiet. Only the passing of the S-Bahn trains inside the new city tunnel broke the silence. Since the closure of the old Bayerischer Bahnhof and the dismantling of the tracks, no one seems to use the area. We have seen little reuse by the adjacent neighborhoods. That it is winter and we are in the middle of a pandemic may not be the only reasons. Could socio-spatially polarized neighborhoods and a lack of networks be the central factors?
In its current state, the area behind the Bayerischer Bahnhof seems just like any other wasteland.
It is a large open space packed with wild vegetation, surrounded by abandoned houses. It appears as an almost unused space. People go there to walk their dog or hang around, drinking and relaxing.
But the wasteland behind the Bayerischer Bahnhof also offers enormous design potential. Imagine: a thriving neighourhood – filled with arts and culture, a strong community bond and many different activities.
So, how is it possible to use the existing cultural structures that have been created over the years?
How does one design a neighbourhood that encourages strong interaction between people?
What activities can contribute to the creation of an active neighbourhood?
We have to answer all these questions when considering how to create a vibrant neighbourhood.