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Frankfurt Downtown Post-Corona

Joint paths for Frankfurt’s downtown to emerge from the crisis all the stronger.

Topic:
Urban revitalization
District: Local district:
1
Size of area:
about 190 hectares
Project management:

Frau Andrea Schwappach
Telefon: +49 (0)69 212 40042
Telefax: +49 (0)69 212 30731


Project description

Reason for the project
In the context of its 8th project cycle for the National Urban Development Policy, the German Federal Ministry of Building (BMWSB) is supporting 17 pilot projects which, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, are testing innovative and exemplary solutions for crisis-proof city and district structures.
The City of Frankfurt was among the total of 222 applicants and qualified for the multifaceted third thematic field, namely to do practical research on “integrated urban development strategies, taking into account aspects of resilience”. The focus is to investigate through 2024 what planning and socially relevant issues arise in the context of the current pandemic and with reference to the “New Leipzig Charter” .
Using the example of downtown Frankfurt, the project will examine what questions and solutions can be found: for example to the question of the role the center will play for the future of the city and region, how the key inner-city functions of retailing, administration, services, culture, and leisure-time offerings as well as housing will change going forward, and what influence new forms of mobility, the necessary adaptation to climate change, a more equitable distribution of public space, and urban conversion in line with the common good will have on the planning methodologies used and on other disciplines.

Project area

With the model project, the focus is deliberately on downtown Frankfurt initially, within the confines of the old ramparts. The core of Frankfurt, sized about 190 hectares, is clearly defined in spatial terms by the northern bank of the River Main and the zigzagged green belt that traces the path of the medieval town fortifications. Moreover, the area includes, almost like a laboratory, all the experimental conditions necessary for such a research project: diversity, built densities, streets, alleyways, plazas and green spaces, urban, institutional, cultural, and business functions (retailing, offices, and apartments), the municipal administration, churches, welfare facilities, museums, galleries, movie theaters, and much more besides. At the same time, the city is more than the sum of all its parts and therefore beyond the legal framework of the central core city, likewise, various linkages to neighborhoods that border on it and to other districts in town will also be considered. After all, the various pilot projects supported by the National Urban Development Policy are intended to be designed such that the insights and the methods developed can also be applied in other places and projects.

Planning objectives
In confined spaces, COVID-19 has strengthened numerous trends that were already manifest prior to the crisis and are typical characteristics of many cities: The growth in online retailing and mail-order systems is putting immense pressure on retail. Home offices will possibly lead as early as the medium term to changed demand patterns in the housing and office markets. Dwindling visitor and commuter figures will possibly render retail and hospitality outlets, leisure and cultural facilities no longer economically viable. Mobility patterns are changing, and there is greater demand for the public realm. At the same time, in some parts of downtown land prices are rocketing and are higher than today’s return per square meter would have one expect.
New, innovative processes are required in order to find integrative solutions to the planning tasks that result from the above-mentioned and other challenges. Thus, not only do the spatial-functional requirements need to be solved, but the various needs and interests of the different stakeholders (in particular in the fields of retailing, hospitality, culture, administration, politics, and civil society) also need to be surveyed, and such parties must be invited to participate. In the context of the model project, different types of process ownership, project management, and participation will be devised and tested using smaller projects and agile processes.

Course of the project

In August 2020, the Making Frankfurt Initiative. decisively stimulated the application to receive funding from the federal support program. With its first campaign day , the group along with other stakeholders transformed a project involving a temporary block to traffic on the road along the north riverbank, which had launched as a traffic experiment, into an urban space experiment for the day.

Video documentation of the Making Frankfurt campaign day on the Mainkai on Aug. 22, 2020

As part of the second campaign day  on September 18, 2021, central sections of downtown Frankfurt were in a similar way turned into a diverse, creative, and surprising laboratory.

Video documentationen of the Making Frankfurt campaign day in downtown Frankfurt on Sept. 18, 2020

(Making Frankfurt Downtown Campaign Day, September 2021 @ Jonas Schwappach) 



(Making Frankfurt Downtown Campaign Day, September 2021 @ Moritz Bernoully)

 

Between the two campaign days, Deutsches Architekturmuseum DAM as one of the other project partners hosted three public dialog sessions dedicated to the thematic focus of “Urban Green” .
In the framework of other special activities, as well as various inner-city dialog events, temporary installations, and city conversion measures, over the coming two years an attempt will be made to explore and highlight how downtown Frankfurt can emerge all the stronger from the COVID-19 crisis and continue to function as an attractive center of the city and region.

Project progress
After analysis of the status quo and the first activities, the next step will be to establish integrated structures that specifically address (new) stakeholders and encourage them to tackle uncertainty more dynamically and on a collaborative basis, in this way responding to crises.
The idea is to achieve this by relying on an “urban change agency” that will act as the coordination and contact point, as well as to network between local authorities, private players, and members of civil society, addressing city visionaries, city strategists, city enablers, city designers, city makers, and city users, lobbyists, and scientists and bringing them all together at one table.
The idea is to create a productive-integrative meeting and collaboration venue where concrete measures can be conceptualized and realized. The “urban change agency” is intended to be a “docking port, a buffer, and a catalyst”. It will thus act simultaneously as a forum, an urban spatial lab, a creative spatial lab, a competence center, a workshop space, a coworking space, and much more besides. Here, spaces, know-how, and other support will be at hand and/or the relevant contacts provided.
Essentially, the focus is on experimentation and going down new paths, as simpler structures and short and fast decision-making processes have proven to be advantageous if not crucial in overcoming the current crisis.
In this context, the support provided as part of the National Urban Development Policy enables a start to be made and creates the scope for assessing additional activities, including those that go beyond the period during which financial support is forthcoming.

“Frankfurt Model Project for the “Post-Corona-City” nationwide support and research program,” article in Frankfurt baut, issue 16, Fall/Winter 2021
https://www.frankfurt-baut.de/frankfurter-modellprojekt-fuer-das-bundesweite-foerder-und-forschungsvorhaben-post-corona-stadt/



For further details on the project
see pdf-files below




  • Aktionstag Post-Corona-Innenstadt Frankfurt © Moritz Bernoully
  • Aktionstag Post-Corona-Innenstadt Frankfurt © Kirsten Bucher
  • Aktionstag Post-Corona-Innenstadt Frankfurt © Kirsten Bucher
  • Aktionstag Post-Corona-Innenstadt Frankfurt © Kirsten Bucher
  • Aktionstag Post-Corona-Innenstadt Frankfurt © Kirsten Bucher
  • Aktionstag Post-Corona-Innenstadt Frankfurt © Kirsten Bucher
  • Aktionstag Post-Corona-Innenstadt Frankfurt © Kirsten Bucher
  • Aktionstag Post-Corona-Innenstadt Frankfurt © Kirsten Bucher
  • Aktionstag Post-Corona-Innenstadt Frankfurt © Kirsten Bucher
  • Aktionstag Post-Corona-Innenstadt Frankfurt © Kirsten Bucher
  • Post Corona Innenstadt Frankfurt © Kirsten Bucher
  • Aktionstag Post-Corona-Innenstadt Frankfurt © Moritz Bernoully
  • Aktionstag Post-Corona-Innenstadt Frankfurt © Holger MENZEL
  • Aktionstag Post-Corona-Innenstadt Frankfurt © Moritz Bernoully
  • Aktionstag Post-Corona-Innenstadt Frankfurt © Moritz Bernoully
  • Aktionstag Post-Corona-Innenstadt Frankfurt © Moritz Bernoully
  • Aktionstag Post-Corona-Innenstadt Frankfurt © Moritz Bernoully
  • Aktionstag Post-Corona-Innenstadt Frankfur © Moritz Bernoully
  • Aktionstag Post-Corona-Innenstadt Frankfur © Moritz Bernoully
  • Aktionstag Post-Corona-Innenstadt Frankfur © Moritz Bernoully
  • Aktionstag Post-Corona-Innenstadt Frankfur © Moritz Bernoully