In the beginning was the (critical) word… concentrating on the commercial zones of city fringes all over Europe, outside historic city centers, “vast and trackless deserts” without forethought or plan, nicknamed the “manure heap of the nation,” as Peter Lorenz fondly put it in an interview many years ago. All our painstakingly devised principles of planning a city, guidelines we have composed over the decades are invalid here, have been tossed overboard. They do not even stir a guilty conscience in us, their waste of resources and of building land, their soil sealing, their lack of greenery, city spaces and urbanity as well as multiplied traffic congestion make them a pure chaos without system that is allowed to proliferate like a cancer, spreading its desolation pitilessly. We prefer to shut our eyes to it all if we have to go there or even drive past. The criticism of experts regarding what is called the “functional city” and the paradigm of a “mixed city” is long familiar to everyone, talked about in countless books, outlines, charters, pleas, confessions. In many towns, political and bureaucratic reality simply ignores these professional opinions. Whether consciously or unconsciously, against their better judgment, they cling anachronistically to the obsolete Charter of Athens of 1933, which once recommended to functionally separate the categories of zoning. Debate of this proposition gets buried, or is stuck in a rut. Thirty years ago at least efforts were made towards differentiated ‘zoning’ according to emission categories. Innsbruck, a rapidly growing city in a broad valley surrounded by mountains, is quickly using up its last reserves of building land, consequentially suffers from an ever-accelerating rise in apartment prices. The commercial zone known as ‚Mühlau-Arzl’ manifests the most painful dearth of city life which can be experienced. Lorenzateliers reaches at the opportunity to take a stance in city planning efforts, focuses on the enormous potential of changing zoning rules while at the same time raising population
density of this district. It would transform this part of town to a mixed, productive district of high (inner-city) population density boasting up to 9,000 additional apartments, of which a large proportion would be highly affordable, as well as a doubling of commercial space compatible with a residential zone – all through careful planning. We already know that the future is destined to be far lower in emissions. The ‘metamorphosis’ would take place on the south-facing, sunny side of the valley, an already developed area between two residential zones. Thus, expenditures for city infrastructure do not exist. A mixed vertical utilization creates apartments backtoback with commercial properties, flat roof spaces turn to  gardens, wasteful parking spaces disappear inside the structures. The offering of living and working in common quarters reduces traffic drastically, makes trips around town superfluous, generally reduces energy consumption, creating a kind of ‘soft’ mobility. Invidious soil-sealing disappears. Most of all, attractive and open city space is created in the form of a decentralized, urban sub-center of the town with its very own identity. Visions require willingness to face and solve certain
questions. That can succeed when dissatisfaction with present conditions reaches the level of intolerability. Every attempt to design our future needs to examine, question, what we have done before now. The legal framework needs to be adjusted to serve the solutions we find, not vice-versa. First and foremost, it is high time to begin a constructive discussion
about this part of town and this solution, for Innsbruck does not really have much choice. The new ‘mixed commercial zone’ with high inner-city quality of living is the representative of the ‘new city’ – putting a justified end to creeping expansion which deprives us of more and more agricultural land. Instead, a metamorphosis of commercial zones which until now have been poorly utilized, tantamount to no less than a rape of our cities.
CLIENT initiative / interest group
LOCATION Innsbruck, Austria
EXECUTION 2020-2050
PROJECT DATA Study with urban planning concept, statement regarding ÖROKO 2.0