“150 New Businesses in 2 Years”

CASE STUDY: Neukölln, Berlin, Germany

An interview with Stefanie Raab architect and owner of Coopolis. In this case study Raab will tell you something about Neukölln, a district of West Berlin. West Berlin was during the Cold War desolated, but came attractive for residents when the government offered men the opportunity to move there if they wanted to avoid enlisting in the army. But when the wall fell the number of inhabitants didn’t grow and the neighborhood was filled with empty space. Raab lives in the northern part of Neukölln and saw the potential of the empty ground floor shops. But a challenge was to convince local entrepreneurs to invest in the poor neighborhood. By explaining it’s solutions and secrets the reader gets insight in the improvement of Neukölln through a course of time.

“In our shop vacancy projects, we are committed to new forms of cooperation between owners and space seekers to develop the site as needed for a stabile and sustainable future.”

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“Lese Cafe” in the Nogatstraße 30, Neukölln, Berlin by Stefanie Raab (2009)
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“Kaffeebar” in the Siegfriedstraße, Neukölln, Berlin by Stefanie Raab (2012)
Cover image: “Weinladen & Weinseminare” in the  Jonasstraße, Neukölln, Berlin by Stefanie Raab (2012)

“Live, Work and Play”

CASE STUDY: Het eilandje, Antwerp, Belgium

An interview with Filip Smits, program manager at the City of Antwerp Urban Planning Department. In this case study Smits will tell you something about ‘The little island’, or how the Belgiums call it: Het eilandje. Het eilandje dates back to the 16th century. It’s an island of 170-hectare and plays a role in Antwerp as one of its neighbourhoods. Smits will explain it’s course of time and their challenges, like the owners of the island: the harbour authority, which had a different vision for the area. In addition, the project area contained historical buildings in need of preservation, demanding more recent and modern adjustments. By explaining it’s solutions and secrets the reader gets insight in the improvement of Het eilandje through a course of time.

“The revival of this neighborhood is like wine, it’s getting better over the years.”

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p252b 82_03_Het Eilandje Antwerp Belgium Filip Smits - CREDIT Mathieu LePhun

Het Eilandje, Antwerp, Belgium ©Mathieu LePhun

“The 3-Hour Experience”

CASE STUDY: Distillery District, Toronto, Canada

An interview with Willie Macrae urban planner in the Community Planning Division at the City of Toronto Downtown Section. In this case study Macrae will tell you something about the Distillery District, a former Gooderham & Worths distillery near the Lake Ontario waterfrond in Toronto. He will explain it’s course of time and their challenges, like property preserving the ground floor of the historic buildings with monumental status. If they wanted a successful ground floor it meant they had to keep it active, safe, and pleasant all day and into the evening. By placing a mix of uses centred around arts and entertainment venues (theatres, restaurants, cafes, and bars) ensured day-long, night-long, and year-round use in the district. By explaining it’s solutions and secrets the reader gets insight in the improvement of the Distillery District through a course of time.

“We showed developers that you can preserve heritage buildings—and do it well!”

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p251c 81_TorontoExtra_pic Distillery District Toronto Canada - COPYRIGHT Mark Watmough via www.flickr.com

Distillery District, Toronto, Canada ©Mark Watmough via flickr.com
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Distillery District, Toronto, Canada during a Christmas event

“Train Stations as Destinations”

CASE STUDY: St. Pancras Station, London, United Kingdom

An interview with Ben Ruse, director of HS1 (High Speed 1: high speed railway). In this case study Ruse will tell you something about St. Pancras International Station, the biggest train terminus in London. He will explain it’s course of time and their challenges, like the maintenance of the large railway station. Creating a commercial district within the building was nearly impossible but they managed to turn St. Pancras is a place for lingering, relaxing, and people watching. By explaining it’s solutions and secrets the reader gets insight in the improvement of the station through a course of time.

“We wanted people to fall back in love with this station. So we asked ourselves: If we make this station attractive enough, can we make it a destination in its own right? And the answer was: Yes.”

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p210a 87_IMG_5893_HQ St Pancras Station London UK Ben Ruse

Both images: St Pancras Station, London by Ben Ruse

“Fashion Turns a Street Around”

CASE STUDY: Klarendal, Arnhem, the Netherlands

An interview with Berry Kessels, district developer Klarendal of housing corporation Volkshuisvesting Arnhem. In this case study Kessels will tell something about the Klarendal neighbourhood, it’s course of time and how they struggled with the setbacks in the neighbourhood. Nearly every shop on the main street was closed, the earea had a high-unemployment rate, there was criminal behaviour and people had low incomes. By explaining it’s solution and lessons te reader gets great insight in the improvement in the course of time in Klarendal.

“Residents contributed to the regeneration of the neighbourhood, the developing of plans and by beautifying other parts of the district.”

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Café Restaurant GOED, Klarendal Arnhem by Berry Kessels



“Making Room for People”

CASE STUDY: Valencia Street, San Francisco, United States of America

An interview with Kris Opbroek, project manager of the Great Streets Program. In this case study she will tell something about the Valencia Street, it’s course of time and the conflicts between it’s cyclists, autos, and pedestrians. By explaining the problem, it’s solution and secrets te reader gets great insight in the situation in San Francisco’s street.

“ You have to take some chances, or things will stay the same forever.”

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p132b 84_SF_valencia_image_HQ Valencia Street San Francisco USA - CREDIT Steve Rhodesp132a 84_SF_ Valencia Street San Francisco USA - CREDIT Steve Rhodes

All images: Valencia Street, San Francisco USA©Steve Rhodes

“Culture Brings New Life to Porto Alegre”

An article from our book by Paulo Horn Regal, architect, urbanist and professor at the PUCRS in Porto Alegre, Brazil. He explains that Porto Alegre (4o Distrito, or the 4th District) is characterized by impressive art-deco architecture. The area was developed as one of the first industrial areas of the city, where living and working used to co-exist. Industrial uses peaked in the mid-1900s, however since then industries moved out to other areas, resulting in the vacancy of many buildings. After this period, residential use stagnated and the area lost much of its original character.

“Entrepreneurs and engaged residents in one neighbourhood of 4o Distrito, Floresta, have started something new. Emanating from sheer will and the vision to promote high-quality urban life, Vila Flores, Urbsnova, and other initiatives began.”

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p265b 72-5_Villa Flores15 Porto Alegre Brazil photo Paulo Horn Regal

Villa Flores15, Porto Alegre Brazil by Paulo Horn Regal
Cover image: Villa Flores12, Porto Alegre Brazil by Paulo Horn Regal



“Street Trade at Warwick Junction”

An article written by Richard Dobson and Tasmi Quazi, architect and consultant in Durban. They explain that the Warwick Junction is the main railway station and urban gateway of Durban, one of the biggest moteropolitan areas in South Africa.Located at the border of the city centre, during apartheid it was the sole entry to the city centre for the black population: a deliberate concentration of traffic flows from rural and semi-urban Durban into the ‘white city’. Roads, walkways and pedestrian bridges criss-cross the area, which is only 10 minutes form the city centre. Over 460,000 commuters pass through the transport node every day, making use of the main railway station, the five bus terminals and nineteen taxi stands. Additionally, the area attracts large numbers of street traders: between 6000 and 8000 street traders engage in a variety of activities ranging from traditional medicine, clothing, food, music, fresh produce, arts and crafts. These activities are present in 9 distinct markets and various peripheral locations within the public space.

“Due to years of apartheid planning that aimed to separate different ethnic groups, the Warwick Junction area was poorly designed. The ever-increasing number of traders caused congestion and crime was rife. When South Africa elected its first democratic government in 1994, transformation became the priority at all government levels.”

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Bovine Head Market at the Warwick Junction

p247b 83-5_HerbMarket Warwick Junction Durban South-Africa Richard Dobson and Tasmi Quazi

Herb Market at the Warwick Junction

“The Rebirth of Litchi Bay”

An article written by Lai Shouhua, chief planner at GZPI, and Jose Chong, architect and urban planner at UN-Habitat. Shouhua and Chong tell the reader about Litchi Bay, located in the watery suburbs of the traditional Guangzhou city in China. It is an example of a successful urban renewal intervention, connecting existing public spaces and historical buildings along the river and emphasizing design at eye level. By activating surrounding economic development, Litchi Bay became a vibrant public space for leisure and a primary tourist attraction.

“Both native residents who lived in Litchi Bay since a long time, as well as tourists and merchants are allured by the impact and potential of this program. Litchi Bay attracts millions of tourists, showing the achievement of the urban renewal program and preservation, water environment management and improvement of public space in Guangzhou city.”

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p242c 81-5 South Gate Litchi Bay, Guangzou, China, Lai Shouhua and Jose Chong

South gate of Litchi Park after reconstruction

“Hofbogen; a Vision for the In-Between Plinth”

An article written by Henk Ovink, Senoir Advisator of the Hurricane Sandy National Spatial Planning for the Nederlands Ministry and co-editor of Design and Politics. The plinths in the city are the swinging doors between wet and dry, warm and cold, inside and outside. The plinth tells the story of the building as you enter it, or even before you go in, as its billboard, an advertisement of the inside. And at the same time the plinth reflects the city (sometimes literally) the power of the urban space, the place. The plinth is a border and at the same time, the membrane of the city; the swap space to look at, touch, and pass through.

“There are two scales for the Hofbogen line to fulfil this promise of urban reformer. On the scale of the city, it can re-connect the city centre with the surrounding landscape, by using the former rail track as a biking or hiking path. By rebuilding the mistakenly demolished bridge leading to it, the Hofbogen can become the connector to all layers and levels of the city.”

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Both images: Hofbogen Rotterdam ©Maarten Laupman