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Urban renewal projects

Playgrounds at Karmeliter School and Weissfrauen School

The redesign of the playgrounds at Karmeliter School and Weissfrauen School was of particular importance with regard to the living conditions of the children and youngsters in “Bahnhofsviertel”. Given the discontinuation of a playground on nearby Wiesenhüttenplatz, the makeover was intended not only to meet the needs of the two schools better in the future, but also to enable them to be used by the public. The planning procedure for the redesign went ahead in close collaboration with the two schools and local initiatives. During lessons the children at Weissfrauen School came up with ideas for their playground, while the pupils at Karmeliter School produced models in an ideas workshop. This planning process enabled the pupils to be directly involved in the development of the concept. Based on these concepts and the results of the participation of the pupils, and indeed the parents and teachers as well, viable plans were drawn up. The conversion work was completed in spring 2009 and the playgrounds then re-opened to the pupils and children in “Bahnhofsviertel”. The playground is also open at weekends and in the school holidays, when it supervised by Internationale Kinderhaus des Evangelischen Vereins für Jugendsozialarbeit in Frankfurt e.V.

School yard at Karmeliter- und Weissfrauenschule, © Stadtplanungsamt Stadt Frankfurt am Main

District traffic plan

An important aspect of the urban development concept adopted by the City Council is to focus on the public space, roads, and plazas in “Bahnhofsviertel”. In this context numerous wishes and suggestions were formulated. Any meaningful approach to issues relating to road design always presupposes that the various traffic aspects are taken into account, and thus external traffic planners first compiled a district traffic plan.
One of the main recommendations in the plan is that pedestrians and cyclists be given greater consideration on all roads. Widening sidewalks in particular can play a considerable role in increasing the attractiveness of living environments. The plan also makes numerous proposals which would require changes to the current road system.
On account of the complex interaction in the local traffic structure, as well as in some cases in that in the city as a whole, initially plans for individual measures are being planned and executed. These include in particular the remodeling of  Karlsplatz and Taunusstraße, which is being conducted by the Department of Road Works and Development.


Makeover of Karlsplatz, Karlstrasse, Niddastrasse

The public space in “Bahnhofsviertel” is shaped by a street grid dating from the turn of the 20th century, with continuous perimeter blocks and several plaza-like widened at the intersections of roads. There are only a few open spaces. For want of sufficient open space the quality of the public domain acquires particular importance. Following the modernization of François Mitterand Platz and Wiesenhüttenplatz, Karlsplatz is now to be the third plaza in the district to be upgraded through remodeling.
The remodeling of Karlsplatz is intended to make it make more attractive and, by including road space, create additional usable space. The number of lanes on Karlstrasse, for example, will be reduced to the benefit of the plaza, while between Karlstrasse and Niddastrasse, and between Niddastrasse and Moselstrasse road narrowing and speed humps are envisaged.
The existing outdoor hospitality facilities are to be retained and possibly expanded, and the transformer building integrated in the remodeling of the plaza.
Now that in-depth planning has been completed construction is set to commence in beginning 2019.


Space around and tower of Weissfrauen parish church

Weissfrauen parish church in “Bahnhofsviertel” was built in the 1950s on the piece of open land on the corner of Gutleutstrasse and Weserstrasse. Standing detached on the plaza, together with its belfry on the sidewalk, it is an unmistakable symbol in “Bahnhofsviertel”. Nowadays, however, the open space around the church, which is unusual for the district, is scarcely recognizable. Thick fencing separates the church square from the road and cuts through the open space in front of the church. Even in the courtyard behind the church, fences and walls separate various areas from one another.
This is set to change, such that the corner and the free space around the church are opened up again. The WESER5 social welfare center in particular, which provides assistance to people in particularly hardship, such as a daytime meeting point, street social work, a social advice center, emergency overnight stays, transitional accommodation, has long been striving to be an open corner rather than a problem corner.
Taking up both trains of thought, the Regional Protestant Association and the Municipal Planning Office, in joint discussions with neighbors from the basis artists’ center, the Merkez mosque, and the Hotel Nizza, developed a concept for dismantling social and built barriers and opening up the corner to life again.
By the simple instrument of taking down the metal fencing, walls and closed gates, building a uniform surface, and creative highlighting of specific sections of the areas, a high-quality open public space that meets the different requirements of its various users will emerge. Opening the gates during the day creates additional open space for those who frequent it, and visitors to the district.

In addition to the redesign of the open space, an artistic intervention by Andrea Büttner on the church bell tower draws attraction to the venue, debating the public and cultural character of the present-day Weisssfrauen parish church. The tower will keep its function as a belfry, while at the same time serving as an art space, a place where art meets social reality. Here, in the church premises, the various welfare services WESER5 offers is coupled with an artistic, spiritual, and socio-cultural addressing of current social phenomena. Construction is was set to commence in the second half of 2013.
The first stage of work on remodeling the plaza, the plans for which were compiled by a consortium comprising Sichau und Walter Architekten and Ute Wittich Gartenarchitektur and were based on the interests of the church and local residents, was completed in December 2012. The second stage, the area in front of the church, was completed in 2014. The urban planning firm Sehlhoff GmbH oversaw the planning of the second stage.

The remodeling of the open landscape and the artistic redesign of the tower is jointly financed by the European Union (from the European Regional Development Fund) and the State of Hessen (in conjunction with the Urban Renewal in Hessen program).


Basis creative center

At 10 Elbestrasse the basis e.V. runs a studio building and exhibition rooms as a creative center. Young artists pay a reasonable rent for studio space and in the exhibition rooms socially relevant, international contemporary art is presented in a local and international context. The association’s initiative promotes and strengthens the networking between cultural players and artists. Since the association was first established, 10 Elbestrasse has become a focal point for artistic activities of local and national importance. Funding from the Urban Renewal Program have enabled additional rooms to be made fit for use for the association’s activities and exhibition spaces to be expanded. Furthermore the modernization of the entrance area and improvements to the sanitation facilities take the public’s increasing interest in the association’s artistic activities into account. This way the association plays a role in advancing “Bahnhofsviertel” and improving its image. Based on the positive experience the association has gained from its activity on Elbestrasse, a second project saw the building at 12-14 Gutleutstrasse being converted into studios. In this larger building simple means enabled spacious rooms to be created with diverse opportunities for artistic output and exhibitions.

Kaiserstrasse market

The weekly market on Kaiserstrasse plays a valuable role in revitalizing “Bahnhofsviertel” and making it attractive. For more than ten years now it has been tempting visitors and workers to spend time in the public domain.
The original market was held two days a week on the section east of Moselstrasse, but this was changed to make access to the premises in the area easier. Now, every weekday, in addition to the terminus end of Kaiserstrasse, the stretch between Moselstrasse and Elbestras is used for the market.
As part of the Urban Renewal in Hessen program, the provisional electricity supply for the new market place has been replaced by underground electrical distributors. These ensure the market’s technical operations and take the special design of Kaiserstrasse into account.