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BERLIN / 2017-2018
Cooperative development of a urban Masterplan

Team: Tobias Kusian, Katerina Mareckova, Klaus Overmeyer, Amadeus Theimer, Melanie Humann, Janin Walter

Role: project lead with Melanie Humann for URBAN CATALYST

Client: District Office Friedrichshain Kreuzberg of Berlin

The site of the former Reichsbahn repair works - RAW for short - is one of the last major development areas within Berlin's S-Bahn ring. The approximately seven-hectare site is located in the south of the so-called "Simon-Dach-Kiez" in Berlin-Friedrichshain, not far from Berlin Ostbahnhof and the Kreuzberg Spree. The site is predominantly characterized by a building stock from the industrialization era and currently unused brownfield sites. The site has been the focus of urban development policy debates in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg for years. Following the end of its use as a railroad repair workshop, a lively interim use scene was able to establish itself here at the end of the 1990s. However, the open space for creatives quickly became an Eldorado for tourists looking for the "real" Berlin away from the tourist hotspots on the RAW site. The area is now so heavily used by the streams of tourists and night-time activities that all those involved would like to see the area developed programmatically and structurally into a lively district during the day as well. The RAW dialog process was designed by Urban Catalyst in such a way that the different and sometimes very conflicting interests, possibilities and wishes of all stakeholders involved could be identified, disclosed and compared. With the help of various forms of dialog, above all the public dialog workshops and the urban planning expert discussions, a consensus was reached between all participants that can be used as the basis for a future development strategy.


Participatory idea study on the design of public space in the context of the IBA Thuringia

Team: Christine Bock, Jan Dubsky, Melanie Humann, Janin Walter

Role: project lead for URBAN CATALYST

Client: IBA Thuringia

"Intermediate space to arrive" combines current dynamics and burning issues of urban development. It deals with the integration of refugees, the activation of brownfield sites, participation, new work and the common good, neighborhoods and the question of how a place can gradually develop from the densification of projects. In contrast to conventional urban development planning, the focus here is not on a plan drawn up by experts, but on the development of a long-term idea for the location based on practical use. 

The aim of the idea study was to record the qualities and deficiencies of the neighborhood together with the residents through intensive engagement with the subspaces and to gain and test a feeling for future possible uses, as well as to sound out the functional classification of the intermediate space in the regional and urban context. This is because future development requires flexible usage options that can change over time. 

Therefore, the process of testing and transforming will be more important than a rigid plan. The main focus of the idea study is the process of appropriation, the definition of the subspaces and the use as well as the organization of the operation in the respective phases. It is the central product into which the various results flow: the documentation of the workshop results, the functional classification in the regional and urban context, visions, ideas and potentials, focal points for action and a roadmap for the further planning process. 

Together with around fifty new arrivals and residents from Beulwitz and Saalfeld, the existing qualities and conflicts of the "Beulwitzer Straße" residential area were identified and a look was taken at the future uses of the area. The Urban Catalyst team acted as instigator, initiator and experimenter. As a participating observer, UC also gained an overview of the characteristics of the sub-areas, which user groups appropriate the location and what dynamics exist between them.


COLOGNE / 2016


Role: project lead for URBAN CATALYST

Client: City council cologne

In the general perception, Chorweiler exemplifies the gap between the ideal and the reality of the large housing estates from the 1960s and 1970s and thus also the classic problems of such neighborhoods as so-called "social hot spots. In this area of tension between social hotspots and livable, affordable neighborhoods, public space assumes an important function. Squares are central places where the urban community meets, exchanges ideas, shops, and presents itself. As part of a citizen participation process, concepts for redesigning the public space around the center of Chorweiler were formulated together with the Chorweiler population and initiatives from the district. Together with the office Umschichten from Stuttgart we developed the "Platzstation" - a mobile and multifunctional participation platform. For the duration of a week, the Platzstation became a focal point for residents' ideas for the future. With building activities, concerts, cooking events, safaris and idea walls, wishes were collected and alternative uses tested directly on site.

The results of the square station gave rise to the concept of fixed and flexible development spaces for which different strategies apply in each case. In addition to a permanent redesign of the three squares, there were zones that were temporarily designed and reprogrammed in a participatory manner.

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