Three Peripheries in Transition: Kumasi, Bordeaux + Vienna

Architecture + Urban Design

Spring 2013

Richard Plunz, coordinator, Victor Body-Lawson, Barbara Chénot Camus, Michael Conard, Petra Kempf, Geeta Mehta, Kate Orff + Johannes Pointl, critics

The subject of this Studio was a comparative urban dialogue between Vienna, Austria, Bordeaux, France and Kumasi in Ghana. Like dynamic cities everywhere, they share concerns about the form of their continuing expansion and the consequent mandate for compact growth. This particular dialogue is of interest given the diversity of character and context of each city. The peripheries of both Vienna and Bordeaux entail older “rings” of growth that face a new era of rationalization and compaction. On the other hand, the dialogue with Kumasi was instructive for engaging the dialectic between “Global North” and “Global South.” Kumasi provided an important consideration of alternative urban development models inclusive of both a new “ring” of peripheral growth, and older “informal sector” central areas.

Kumasi: Center to Periphery
The studio focused on the future peripheral expansions of the city together with their effect on the existing center. In question was a planned new ring road that is destined to open a vast territory for sprawl unless proper controls are taken, a danger complicated by fragmented governmental jurisdictions and lack of centralized planning oversight. Site fragments were chosen to represent three emblematic conditions; inner periphery (Fante New Town), periphery (Asakore Mampong) and outer periphery (Juaben). The future of all are intertwined via the geography of the proposed new “ring.” Strategic planning options for the “ring” were developed in relation to localized economic priorities related to serving the under-served communities currently living at all three sites. Concepts for new infrastructure included water supply, sanitation and transportation that can be built incrementally and sustainably for the long term. Design guidelines were developed to attract investments in commercial, residential, retail and other uses, while also creating a robust public realm.

Sponsors and Collaborators: The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KSA), the Asakore Mampong Municipality, the traditional authorities including the Juaben Traditional Council, the KSA Department of Planning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and civil society and community groups. Publication of the studio work compeleted with the sponsorship of the Earth Institute Millennium Cities Initiative.

Bordeaux: The Rocade
The studio examined the 45 km “ring road” (“Rocade”) around Bordeaux that is the focus of local concerns about its future development. The ring road is essential to the future development of the regional and national networks. Currently it experiences a considerable amount of congestion. By encouraging sprawl and creating poor quality public spaces, the Rocade has been historically linked to the most Americanized regional development typology in France. Redefining the role and forms of the Rocade was the mandate for study, with three principal focus sites as case-studies. Innovative approaches were proposed to envision the Rocade for 2030. For the selected sites the mutation of urban fabric and infrastructure was examined within the framework of the different ongoing urban projects and strategic studies already in progress.

Sponsors and Collaborators in Bordeaux: Communauté Urbaine de Bordeaux (CUB), through its Urban Dynamics Department. The Urban Agency (A’Urba), Bordeaux School of Architecture (EnsapBx), Arc en Rêve (Bordeaux Center for Architecture).

Vienna Liesing District 23
The studio engaged multiple “urban germ cell” micro-sites, all located within the Liesing, District 23 which borders Lower Austria. To east is Inzersdorf, identified with a large industrial area and wholesale commerce. To the west of Inzersdorf is Erlaa, which today is best known for the large residential apartment complex (Wohnpark Alt-Erlaa) located north of the old center of the village. The adjacent Siebenhirten, to the south, is also mainly residential and is connected to the U-Bahn on the U6 line. The Liesing industrial park is also part of Siebenhirten. North of Liesing is Atzgersdorf, with a mixture of low-density housing and commercial areas along the railway line, with little access to green areas. In the northwest of the district, is the village of Mauer, with low-density housing and the largest share of the Vienna Woods. The studio was asked by the municipal government of Vienna to consider development scenarios for these areas, in coordination with Viennese developer stakeholders.

Liesing is known as a classic working class residential area and is distinguished for its diverse commerce and industries. Along with housing developments, the area also comprises several areas of agricultural uses, such as green houses and open fields that supply the city with produce. The studio work built on existing planning initiatives for District 23, within consideration of the entire new Viennese urban “ring.” It explored the question of new urban fabric infill alternatives, and the effects of the large-scale infrastructure investments currently underway.

Sponsors and Collaborators in Vienna: The City of Vienna, through its Urban Development and Planning Department with publication and exhibition of the work in Vienna in the summer 2013.

Kumasi: Al Sakha Eiman, Kevin Le, Andrew Leung + Noor Makkiya A/B
Kumasi: Scott Archer, Samarth Das, Vanessa Espaillat + Sagi Golan C/D
Bordeaux: Kyung Sun Park, Yuan Ma, Wilbur Lee + Thom Allen A/B
Bordeaux: Ara Hovsepyan, Elham Morovvati + Mahrad Shahbazi C
Bordeaux: Jia Ruixue, Kerachian Elaheh + Mao Xiaoyun D
Vienna: Ankita Chachra, Janice Tan + Ryan Jacobson A/B
Vienna: Antonio Gabriele, Robert Mojica + Amritha Mahesh C
Vienna: Lilly Djaniants, Andy Golubitsky + Sun Joo Park D