Built Living Spaces of the Future: Town and Country
The 21st century is seen as the century of cities. As of 2005, a total of 3.2 billion people live in cities, which is equivalent to nearly 50% of the world population. In Germany, small and medium-sized towns and cities as well as rural areas play an important role, as about two-thirds of the population live here on 96% of the total land surface of the Federal Republic.
Bearing in mind the aforementioned focus of the Federal Foundation of Baukultur on metropolitan topics under the title “The City as Habitat”, what now interests us is what the situation in rural areas is like and what it is that makes our small and medium-sized towns what they are. We examine where people live here, and how, where they work, and how they get around. What is more, we aim to find out what people’s lives, structures, buildings, as well as urban and landscape images look like today in this rural setting, in times when places with an agrarian character that previously acted as production sites for foodstuffs, wood, and energy at the same time must provide space for living, traffic, and recreation.
The Baukultur Foundation seeks exemplary solutions that are dealing with the widespread phenomenon of rural-urban migration and the vacant spaces left behind, as well as the challenges presented by demographic change by building in an intelligent and creative manner. Plants for generating renewable energies often impact the rural character, while the visual appearance of small communities has a fragile identity in terms of Baukultur. By examining this topic more closely, the Baukultur Foundation is seeking an approach which Baukultur can take in order to cope with the most recent challenges – which exert enormous pressure to transform – without losing sight of existing structures.
Accordingly, the Baukultur Foundation analyses the framework conditions for Baukultur activities in rural areas, and looks at where Baukultur can make a positive contribution. It discusses this subject at expert meetings, and networks Baukultur initiatives in rural areas. By doing so, the Baukultur Foundation aims, with its partners, to bring together the responsible stakeholders at federal, regional, and municipal level, and to start up a dialogue. To continue this exchange, the Baukultur Foundation is developing appropriate formats that will also take place in border regions and at international level.
The project findings will flow into the Baukultur Report 2016/17, which draws attention to rural spaces as well as small and medium-sized towns. The content of the Baukultur Report is developed in close cooperation with many partners and stakeholders and will be elaborated in a thoroughly fundamental way in the Baukultur Workshops, which, in 2015, are devoted to the topics “Lively Communities”, “Infrastructure and Landscape”, and “Planning Culture and Process Quality”. Corresponding projects and initiatives from rural areas and from small and medium-sized cities will be presented here.
The research project “Baukultur konkret” is carried out by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) as part of the research programme “Experimental Housing and Urban Development” (ExWoSt), with support from the Federal Foundation of Baukultur.