Slow it Down

a urban design framework for gradual riverside redevelopment


Reacting to the property-market focus of redevelopment along river edges, this project conceived a deliberately slow-paced approach, intended to provide the time it takes to activate surrounding communicates to determine future uses and spatial typologies.

The case study for this ‘gradual riverside redevelopment’ is a post-industrial area located immediately east of central Berlin, just before the Spree flows into constructed channel that guides it through the city. Rail lines and roads isolate the area from residential neighbourhoods to the north and east.

A bottom-up planning cooperative becomes the development agency, with actor groups from surrounding long-established neighbourhoods, and from a more recently redeveloped waterfront area, to define needs and aspirations for the site.

A broad-brush spatial framework accommodates the uses  …comprising an active river edge that keeps the particular unkempt aesthetic character of the area; a chain of public spaces that includes old barges moored along river edge; a street network that creates a fine-grained urban tissue. The inherent scale of this urban fabric deliberately contrasts with the mountainous scale of the dominant former power plant and its chimney.