„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

PDF herunterladen



Primarschule Christoph Merian, Basel, 2019 –
Stand: Bauprojekt

Flughafen Engadine, St. Moritz, 2020 –
Stand: Bauprojekt

Mobility Hub, Zug, 2019 –
Parkhaus der Zukunft mit Handelsfläche
Stand: Ausführung

Herisau Bahnhofplatz, 2015 –
Stand: öffentliche Abstimmung

MEWA-Areal, Wädenswil, 2018 –
Transformationsprojekt vom ehemaligen Industriegebiet zur Mischbebauung mit Wohnungen
Stand: Rahmenplanung

Viererfeld, Bern, 2018 –
Stand: angehalten

Büro-Renovierung, Zug, 2020 –
Stand: Ausführung

Haus-Renovierung, Zug, 2020 –
Stand: Vorprojekt

Wilhelmsburger Ruder Club, 2020 – 2021
Stand: Vorprojekt

Genossenschaftlicher Wohnungsbau, Wetzikon, 2020 –
Stand: Vorprojekt

Haus-Renovierung, Genf, 2021 –
Stand: Vorprojekt


Salina Raurica / Salinenhofquartier, Pratteln, 2018 –
Stand: Rahmenplan

Metalli, Zug, 2017 –
Stand: Richtprojekt

Tech Cluster Zug, 2015 –
Stand: Transformationplan

Elbinselquartier Wilhelmsburg, Hamburg, 2015 –
Stand: Gestaltungsleitfaden

Bahnstadt Nürtingen, 2017 –
Stand: Gestaltungshandbuch

Entwicklungskonzept Stadtraum Bahnhof SBB Basel, 2018 –
Stand: Öffentliche Vernehmlassung

KNZ Wil West, Thurgau / St. Gallen, 2011 –
Stand: Städtebauliches Richtprojekt

Bahnhofgebiet Dietikon, 2019 –
Stand: Studienauftrag mit Empfehlung zur Weiterbearbeitung

Areal Dübendorf, 2020 –
Stand: Studie

Areal Oerlikon, 2020 –
Stand: Studie

Areal Dierikon, 2015 –
Stand: Städtebauliches Richtprojekt

Bahnhof Herisau, 2013 –
Stand: Areale Entwicklung

Innovationspark Bergedorf, 2020 –
Stand: Funktionsplanung

Seetalstrasse Meierhöfli Emmen, 2020 –
Stand: Testplanung

ZHA, Boulevard, Campus Hönggerberg, 2020 –
Stand: laufend (mit Studio Vulkan)

Bahnhof Herrliberg-Feldmeilen, 2020 –
Stand: Studienauftrag

Port City Riga, 2020 –
Stand: Städtebaulicher Entwurf

Wankdorffeldstrasse, Bern, 2020 –
Stand: Städtebaulicher Studienauftrag

St-Karli Brückenköpfe und Reussinsel, Luzern, 2020 –
Stand: Städtebauliche Studie

Campus Bochum, 2018 –
Stand: Rahmenplan

Masterplan HB / Central 2050, Zurich, 2020 –
Stand: Testplanung (mit Studio Vulkan)


cividi – civic data intelligence, 2019 –
Digitale Werkzeuge für die analoge Stadt
Stand: laufend

The Industrious City – Buchpublikation, 2017 –
(Verlag: Lars Müller Publishers)
Veröffentlicht / erhältlich auf der Website des Lars Müller Publishers sowie im Buchhandel erhältlich.

Entwicklung Arbeitsplatzgebiete, Winterthur, 2019 –
Stand: laufend

Zürcher ÖV Netzentwicklung 2040 und
Zukunftsbild 2050, 2020 –
Stand: laufend (mit IBV Hüsler)


Zürich office

Flüelastrasse 10, 8048 Zürich, Schweiz (Google Maps)
T. +41 43 243 6313 F. +41 43 243 6315

Kyoto office

Jimukinoueda bldg. 602, 21 Sakaicho, Gojo-Takakurakado, Shimogyoku, Kyoto 600-8191, Japan
T. +81 75 744 1503