GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE & RETROFITTING NEIGHBOURHOODS

Presentation at the 1st European Green Urban Infrastructure Conference, Vienna, Nov. 2015

ABSTRACT:

Challenge and Chance of sustainable Integration
for the new green resilient and livable city

Due to the present immigrants situation new living space is needed immediately as well as in the medium and fairly long-term for the new citizens at first and afterwards for the family members, following to Europe.
The whole European Union is challenged to shoulder the new situation.
The federal government will support the states and municipalities massively with new funds. One part will be housing co-operatives.

According to Doug Saunders, author of the ‘’Arrival City ‘’, migrants’ companies and the metamorphosis of new workers and entrepreneurs can only develop in a fairly dense population in city centers or peripheral to city centers
When following this assumption, new opportunities are opened for us to develop new integrated large Green Building solutions. 

The energy revolution can not be achieved by building up new housing complexes.
Energy inefficient residential settlement buildings such as those of the 1960s and 70s can be used for new integration housing systems.

Building expansion and the enclosure to green power plants with connection of the building itself to new garden and farming constructions in the gaps of the settlements in between the different levels(Skygreen and Under Green)...
 
The Presentation is supposed to tackle these realities, which should remain the basic theme, suburban Green City envelopes. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Retrofitting neighborhood housing from the 1950s and 1960s using Green Infrastructure to improve the conditions of converting these structures into green, livable and loveable cities. 

Up to the Middle Age nature was assumed to be hostile (mostly because of ignorance) and people living in towns protected themselves by building surrounding walls.
Citizens nowadays are not afraid of nature anymore or at least they are not afraid of nature when nature comes in its natural habitat. Quite contrary to the old days nature and surrounding ourselves with green plants gives us a feeling of recovery and is used by citizens around the globe to relax and free their minds. But when it comes to integration of nature into our natural habitat –let us say our apartments and living areas- the link of nature to relaxation or recovery is pretty small in most cases. Even more people are afraid of giving access to so called ,,parasites’’ like insects or mouses/rats.

On the other hand people fear the costs of maintenance and especially the cities fear costs of administration, invention process or even worse making any kinds of faults by realizing not so approved new Green Solutions.

But now opportunity of change is given. Given by a trigger moment no one could have imagined – the mass of refugees coming to Europe. Everyone wants to integrate the new citizens best as possible so that the governments don’t have to fear social exclusion as well as financial strain.

Let me take your mind to the year of 2020 and give a possible retrospective.
First of all, 2015 was a quite messy year because of the underestimated mass of incoming refugees.

But the need of new living areas gave space for new systems of housing.

Everyone had a hard time and there was no real progress at first.
No one knew where to put all the refugees and how the build up housing space as fast as possible. And no one wanted them to live in ,,Ghettos’’ outside the city. They needed a new home far from their native countries and they wanted to integrate, work and feel like everyone else did. 

But someone looked upon existing research no one dared before. 
According to Doug Saunders, author of the ‘’Arrival City ‘’, migrants’ companies and the metamorphosis of new workers and entrepreneurs can only develop in a fairly dense population in city centers or peripheral to the city centers.

We lived in a time of rethinking and re-education concerning naturel resources.
Combining these two arguments, they gave opportunity to develop new housing systems for a mass of people integrating large Green Building Solutions. 

 

Challenge and Chance of sustainable Integration
for the green resilient and livable city

So due to the present immigrants situation new living space was needed immediately as well as in the medium and fairly long-term for the new citizens at first and afterwards for the left family members, following to Europe. There was not enough time find space and then build up new living areas.

The whole European Union was challenged to shoulder the new situation.
The federal government did support the states and municipalities massively with new funds. One part was the area and building stock of housing co-operatives and the churches as well as urban conversion areas.
The temptation to renew building codes was overcome in favor of highly innovative and energy-efficient and biodiverse organic power buildings.

Retrofitting the housing stock

One option of retrofitting was adding 3 to 4 m zone balconies greened with planted buckets fed by rainwater harvesting to the old buildings of the 1950/60s.
By larger extension of the balcony, small conservatories took place and the living area was reflected to the needs of contemporary living room up to 20 % zone.
The facade had to be more open with integration of Veranda-Windows for the needed light space. The ground levels were used for shops, kindergardes and other facilities of daily needs.
 

Using the between space in housing areas
The other option was to intensify the usually existing green areas between the buildings.

These small units brought together green scaffolds in or around existing building stock. Allowing small vertical and horizontal gardens and patios as meeting and recreation cells for integration of the different population groups.
Urban farming was developed and practiced fist in small than in a middle scale. 

The energy revolution was achieved by building up new housing complexes.
Energy inefficient residential settlement buildings such as those of the 1950s, 60s and 70s could have been used for new integration housing systems.

Building expansion and the enclosure to green power plants with connection of the building itself to new garden and farming constructions in the gaps of the settlements in between the different levels was later realized in a bigger scale. Skygreen and Underground  Green will be the subject of another future presentation )...
 
The realization of the new visionary “Green City” implements was a synergizing process initialized by reactivation of public urban spaces. The alteration of streets and plazas served several groups of persons and institutions. All stakeholders had the possibility to participate in the planning and redevelopment of urban spaces and the linked conceptual process. The overall goal of strengthening individually created urban space lead to a better identification of inhabitants with their surroundings. 


Enhancing the Urban Climate by Green Envelopes 
Ongoing changes of environmental, economic and cultural conditions need new approaches to functional and ecological urban development and design. Potentials are given; we just have to take advantage of them. 

How can we solve the problems of growing cities?
The process of planning and design has to be linked to an overall ecological basis.
Available areas mostly cannot or insufficient be enlarged. Besides urban agglomeration the only way to gain additional space is to flow into the height or the underground.
Biological systems and plant-derived architecture can change urban structures and make them more suitable to live in.