In the era of transition to a low-carbon economy, optimal use of the developmental resources within urban regions expresses the need to limit suburbanization and increase the energy efficiency. Solutions are sought as an alternative for the suburban housing estates embodying the image high-quality life in the American Dream style. Aspects of the urban innovation, serving the public sector as a tool for improvement of the quality in residential environment, are considered in the article. Selected examples (mainly German) are described with reference to 1) the changes in the standards of housing development, 2) large-scale renewal programs for residential areas, 3) development and dissemination of urban design (the technique). The interaction between scientific research and the implementation sphere, remaining in the hands of local governments, is important here. Synergy, at a local level, is of key importance in at least four aspects in urban development: 1) solving complex, atypical problems, 2) the public sector being a strong (independent) partner, 3) adaptation of foreign concepts, from other planning systems/cultures and morphologically different urban structures, 4) strengthening the position in relations with the EU.
The article undertakes quastion of urban design in a context of urban sprawl linking it to the German debate on suburbanisation, conducted under the slogan of Zwischenstadt – a concept created by Th. Sieverts in 1997. The Ladenburger Kolleg „Zwischenstadt” (LKZ) developed 2002-2006 the interdisciplinary research titled: „Amidst the Edge: Zwischenstadt – towards the qualification of the urbanised landscape” The spatial effects of the dispersion processes were considered to be the manifestation of the creation of a new model of the city. The traditional image of urbanism does not fit its logic. Zwischenstadt (in-beetwen-city) recognized as a phase of the urbanization process, uncoordinated by any imposed urban vision, requires a innovative urban design leitmotives. This new planning tool is necessary to obtain the parameters needed to strengthen internal socio-economic development capabilities. The concept of the efficiency of urban design covered the issue of the character of a city›s image. The morphological studies on a megalopolis structure by Frankfurt a. Main, made a creative use of the Lynch research on the image of the city. Their main goal was to understand the characteristics of the dispersion meant as an urbanized landscape and to determine its susceptibility to the process of improving spatial quality – recognition of the endogenous potentials of generating a Zwischenstadt image.
The article is an introduction to the monographic content of a volume containing articles dedicated to contemporary models of building residential districts in Europe, where the issue of an attractive, beautiful architectural form must integrate the dimension of energy efficiency. Individualism must be subject to flexible regulations so that the current understanding of the concept of spatial order brings with it commonly desirable qualities as an effective strategy against the processes of the city›s sprawl. Attached is the output of the HOPU-S URBACT II project (2007-2013), which became an inspiration for the topic.
The article discusses the possibility of using the living lab model as tool catalyzing the participatory planning in revitalization process. To create more user-centered environment helps as well for better implementation of the smart city formula. Against the background of foreign-practice examples (USA, Germany), reference was made to the Polish experience gained by the Author being leader of the cooperation between research team at the Gdańsk University of Technology (KUiPR WAPG) and the Gdańsk Foundation of Social Innovation (GFIS) – a non-government organization acting as a facilitator of local community in one of the disadvantage Gdańsk districts Orunia – Św. Wojciech. The cooperation, going beyond the existing academic convention of relations with local neighborhood activists can be described as research on revitalization, in an informal revitalization model of the living lab (R_LLO). The research comprise a number of projects carried out in 2010-2018 which has helped to develop new forms of participatory planning such as urban mentoring and community planning academy.
The article attempts a comparison of two harbor districts, in Gdansk and in Hamburg. In 2013, a multiannual program - IBA Hamburg (International Building Exhibition) - was completed. The IBA, initiated with the a concept of the Leap over the Elbe River, part of the Growing City development agenda, addressed the problem of restructuring the port-nearby zones in Harburg and Wilhelmsburg, which have been recognised as areas of high potential in metropolitan development. The concept of metrozones (intra-peripheries or intra border zones), similarly to the term in-between City (German: Zwischenstadt), describes the current problems associated with the strive for creation of an original, but efficient and compact European city. Restructuring of the harbor districts enables new development of the urbanized, but never planned as urban space, areas. Shaped in accordance with the technological capabilities and with the regulation standards and norms of the second half of the 20th century, nowadays the areas form the resultative landscape, burdened with the image of an unfriendly or even dangerous zones. In the era of high technology, metrozones are becoming valuable intra-city developmental areas, opened to alternative urban programs, avoiding the homogenising global trends. In connection with the above, the article describes the situation of the area organized around Nowy Port in Gdansk.
The Hamburg’s policy, as part of the ‘Leap over the Elbe River’ strategy, is an example of the current direction of the city’s renewal, falling beyond classical revitalization. Improvement of quality and refinement of urban structures require an unconventional approach in the problem areas, both in the phase of setting the target standards and at the stage of solution implementation. The districts located in the fork of the Elbe river, Hamburg’s left-bank post-habor areas, were given the IBA (International Building Exhibition) Hamburg status in 2006-13. The area of Wilhelmsburg has become the place of implementing an innovative urban strategy, under the slogan of a renewable city, which has prepared the Island for a modern policy of compact city model development. The conclusions from the analysis of the renewal process that had been carried out within the framework of the IBA Hamburg, described in this article, have been summarized with regard to the Polish conditions represented by the example of the revitalization process in the Nowy Port district in Gdańsk.