Morphogenesis of the Rural Space in Luxembourg – History, Analysis and Prospects
Doctoral Research by Caroline Faber
Luxembourg is growing. For decades, this small country has had the highest population growth in all of Europe. Meanwhile, rural areas are increasingly confronted with high development pressure, because contrary to the widespread phenomenon of growing cities and shrinking villages, demographic growth in Luxembourg is mainly noticeable in the countryside. In fact, luxembourgish villages are growing proportionally faster than cities for various reasons. The latter are diverse and range from affordability issues to the land question as well as the issue of housing supply, the scarce availability of which in Luxembourg's cities is due to the past preferential production of commercial space over affordable housing. Triggered by population growth, rural areas are increasingly exposed to high development pressure but often lack concrete development strategies, which ultimately leads to urban sprawl. The consequences can be observed across the whole territory: Luxembourg is the most fragmented country in Europe with explosively spreading villages, affecting the unhindered development of natural areas and destroying the landscape.
While cities have been on everyone's mind for a long time, the countryside has recently regained attention in the architectural and urban planning discourse. In fact, in terms of socio-ecological transition, the transformation of rural areas is perhaps more important and challenging than the development of our cities. Based on this assumption, this research problematises as well as historicises the transformation of the rural space in Luxembourg from the genesis of early settlements to their current state. Through a historical lens, it looks at how rural areas have been transformed into build-up environments and successively suburbanised. Current challenges such as the strong fragmentation of the built landscape, the large distance between the fundamental functions of living and working, and the dependence on cities are being analysed and questioned. Consequently, the emphasis will be put on the search for innovative architectural as well as urbanistic and regional planning approaches for rural areas regarding a sustainable and resilient development.
Doctoral Student: Caroline Faber
Thesis Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Florian Hertweck