A public square station as a participatory future laboratory

The population of Cologne will continue to grow and the need for affordable housing will become larger, therefore Chorweiler will come to play an increasingly important role in citywide developments and in fact offers qualities that local residents value. Nevertheless, in terms of general perception Chorweiler stands as a typical example of the gulf between the ideal and the reality of the large housing estates of the 1960s and 1970s, and as such represents the classic problems of such neighbourhoods as so-called “social flashpoints”. Within this dichotomy between being a socially deprived and yet a liveable and affordable area, public space performs an important function. Squares are central places where urban society meets, converses and shops, and people show themselves.

Together with the inhabitants of Chorweiler and local initiatives, a citizen participation platform is intended to formulate concepts for the remodelling of the public space around the centre of Chorweiler.

In partnership with the Umschichten office from Stuttgart, we developed a public square station: a mobile and multi-functional participation platform. Over the course of a week in September, the station will serve as a crystallisation point for the inhabitants’ ideas for the future. Using building activities, concerts, cooking events, safaris and idea walks, thoughts are collected and alternative uses are tested on-site.

The results of the station are to be used to formulate a concept of fixed and flexible development spaces that correspond to the respective different strategies. Along with a permanent remodelling of various locations, long-term zones are intended that can be temporarily designed in participative processes and can be re-programmed. The “Utopia City” Chorweiler will make its appearance in summer 2017, involving local youth building their own city of the future.



Cologne, Chorweiler
Commissioned By City of Cologne
ProjeCt partner Umschichten, Stuttgart
ProjeCt TEAM Klaus Overmeyer, Janin Walter, Mathias Burke, Eleonore Harmel, Leon Jank, Ilkin Akpinar
TIMELINE 03/2016 - 02/2017


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