From Zwischenstadt to Landstadt
In 1997, Thomas Sieverts published his seminal book "Zwischenstadt. Zwischen Ort und Welt, Raum und Zeit, Stadt und Land". According to Sieverts, intact urbanity is reduced, if at all, to historic old towns, while everything in between is neither urban nor rural, but an intermediate constellation between both poles. In the face of climate change, resource scarcity and rising social inequalities, the transformation of these in-between cities towards sustainable rural-urban constellations is becoming increasingly urgent and challenges the discipline of architecture and urbanism.
This semester, the Design Studio deals with the transborder region of the south-west of Luxembourg including the communes of Pétange (L), Aubange (B), and Longwy (F), where the socio-economic conditions as well as the political-administrative structures are even more complex than usual. This area thus spans three countries with numerous cross-border political, economic and social networks and daily flows of people, goods and resources, while each national fragment of this region has its own administrative structure and its own set of regulations.
Instead of expanding existing agglomerations, how can we transform the in-between city into what the landscape architect Leberecht Migge called a 'rural city', i.e. a place with both more intensive nature and more intentive urbanity? How can the most fundamental functions of human life such as living, working, leisure and commerce be brought together without sealing any more land? What architectural and urban typologies will have to be developed for this deepening of the territory, and what forms of ownership, development and appropriation?