“Standortmosaik Zürich” or The Ecology of Access

Jane Jacobs once famously wrote that cities are as natural as “colonies of prairie dogs or beds of oysters”. Cities thus are just the latest of evolution’s transformation of the environment by natural organisms – us. And our most urgent need is access.

In cities we find jobs, meet people, enjoy culture, get in contact with ideas or purchase the things we need for daily life. Cities are catalysts for human interactions the sum of which we variously call economy, culture or public life. Cities are defined by an ecology of access.

We experience the degree of accessibility, the sense of mobility and ease with which we satisfy our needs, as quality of life. Borrowing a term from plant sociology we speak of a “Standortmosaik”, the diverse mix of places formed by locational factors resulting in spatial diversity, mix of social milieus or synergy between different value chains which economists refer to as “quality of location”.

Accessibility in cities is a function of proximity, functional diversity and infrastructure. Contemporary cities are formed by increasingly powerful infrastructures. City and countryside are merging into the urban landscape of the metropolitan region. Such a region is defined by function and the division of work of its constituent, coopetitive parts. As a whole it competes in the global market of locations.

Transcending administrative boundaries and individual agendas, metropolitan regions are difficult to plan. The “image of the region” which we developed for the “Metropolitankonferenz Zürich” aims to communicate the features of this region to a diverse group of stakeholders and give its planning a strategic base.

We describe the image as the combination of structure, gestalt and form: The structure of the region is defined by the terrain, by zoning and most importantly infrastructure. Structure is controlled by the spatial and infrastructure planning of the cantons. Its gestalt is based on the identities of the different villages, quarters or neighborhoods, and their potential for change. This potential we defined by reserves of building land and transport capacity, and by the elasticity of a local identity when changing. Form is in the domain of the architects or landscape architects and includes public spaces, parks, streets or landmark buildings.

The metropolitan region thus is seen as an archipelago of form in a sea of gestalt organized by the currents of structure.

Schaefer, Markus: “’Standortmosaik Zürich’ or The Ecology of Access” in: Anthos 2/2011, June 2011

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Projects

Architecture

Station square and station roof in Herisau, Switzerland
Current phase: construction documents

Benninger Areal, housing and retail development
Current phase: preliminary design

Interior design for an apartment in Park Tower, Zug
Recently completed

Mobility Hub / parking facility with retail component, Zug
Current phase: preliminary design

Parking garage with shop in Zug, Switzerland
Current phase: preliminary design

Riedmatt Ebikon / housing, retail, ateliers
Current phase: framework plan

Qube Ebikon / housing, retail, offices
Current phase: framework plan

House Chile, innovative single family home in forrest setting
Current phase: building permit documents

Buchs Areal Fegeren, building for precision-industry
Current phase: study

House Kyoto, community living, Japan
Current phase: study

Lachen SZ Alpenblickstrasse / high-rise housing
Current phase: study

Urban Design

Bahnstadt Nürtingen, Nürtingen
Current state: masterplan and function plan

Neugasse Zürich, urban design concept with public participation
Current state: presentation of urban design concept

Dessauer Strasse, Wolfsburg
Current state: competition waiting for further commission

Herisau site development, Herisau
Current state: process support and test planning

Technologiecluster Zug Masterplan, Zug
Current state: urban framework plan and design concept

Masterplan Dierikon, Switzerland
Current state: masterplan waiting for further commission

HafenCity Elbbrückenquartier, Hamburg
Current state: masterplan and framework plan

Wilhelmsburg Elbinselquartier, Hamburg
Current state: masterplan, function plan and typology studies

National Innovation Park Switzerland, Hub Zurich
Current state: Study on mobility-infrastructure

Leica Areal
Current state: study completed, next phase in planning

Innovation- and production park Patton Barracks, Heidelberg
Current state: urban framework plan

Wil West, Kanton Thurgau
Current state: urban framework plan

Visp Sägematte, Valais
Current state: study

Urban framework plan for the city of Zug
Current state: recently completed

Urban System Research

SmartUse / Space, Growth and BigData
Current state: ongoing

Winterthur 2040
Current state: ongoing

Harvard University Graduate School of Design / The Industrious City
Current state: in preparation

Development strategy for 3 communities in the Kanton St. Gallen, Switzerland

Contact

Zürich office

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office@hosoyaschaefer.com

Kyoto office

Jimukinoueda bldg. 602 21 Sakaimachi Gojo-Takakurakado Shimogyoku Kyoto Japan
T. +81 (0)75 744 1503
office@hosoyaschaefer.com