Cycling Visionaries Awards – Project Details


“Sprawling Strategies”

Thesis: The identity and image of a city are influenced significantly by their urban spaces.
Task: The development of a sustainable design of an urban open space in the city of Kiel, Germany.

For this project the wasteland Bicycle Route 10, was chosen to be the location of development for a new urban space within the city of Kiel. Bicycle Route 10 is located along an abandoned railway between the Christian-Albrechts-University, and the Hassocks district. The city of Kiel had intended to build a four meter wide concrete bicycle freeway. For my Masters thesis, I proposed an alternative bike route that would offer alternative uses, while also preserving the existing qualities of the terrain.

Bicycle Route 10’s phases of growth are circumscribed through metaphoric images of Kiel’s flora and fauna. It was likened to a dandelion plant, having a root system, but also a web of satellites or seeds for sowing.

Phase 1 (current condition): Maintain the railway’s former terrain by protecting its existing flora and fauna, keeping a natural green space within the heart of the city.

Phase 2 (multiplication): Use found objects in the area to build a revitalized park area. Appropriating existing objects such as the railway system provides an untouched feeling; the area is not destroyed but given potential.

Phase 3 (mutation): Incorporate other structural elements into the bike path area, such as new foot path to further develop opportunities for interest and use.

The concept behind “Sprawling Strategies” is to build a sustainable environment around the railway construction, therefore improving the urban qualities of the concerned area. Bike Route 10 boarders the railway terrain, passing by buildings and bridges, fences and walls, it embraces the existing constructions, as well as the terrain’s slopes and dirt tracks. The intension of this routing is to create a sort of ‘second level’ in the City. The terrain is special in its diversity of views, and exploration possibilities for users. The inclusion of the railway line also highlights interesting historical facts as it was formerly a freight transport roadway.

The rail tracks would serve well as environmentally friendly substructures for new bicycle and pedestrian paths to be built upon. Reusing and incorporating these existing materials would also add a sense of nostalgia, remembrance, or interest into the site’s past. The designed cyclist and pedestrian paths would be color coded and provide plenty of space for users.

The sustainable, interconnecting route design emphasizes a logical approach to land development. Rather than tearing everything down and starting from scratch, this design considers and appreciates the existing qualities of the landscape and its history. Moreover, the bike path offers more than sporting activities. The area is open any number of uses, from picnicking, to socializing, or simply enjoying a space of nature. Bicycle Route 10 offers a diversity of landscape, users can go up and down, across, fast and slow, etc. while enjoying a surrounding natural area.

Bicycle Route 10 offers its visitors the following:

• An enhanced biking experience: the “velodrome” a cross track, a bike catwalk with bumps.

• Amenities: autonomous islands allow users to generate bicycle power for operating an electric grill, charging a cell phone, or connecting music for a party.

• Relax and retreat: viewing platforms, shelters, seating and tree houses.

• Access: various departure and entry ways located along the paths from new and old constructions.

• Maintenance and utilities: adjacent buildings such as unused factories provided space to develop creative workshops and a bike shop, a parking deck has been integrated into the development and there is an exciting bicycle exercise area for children.

• In view: functional / business bicycles operate and provide services to the land users.

In conclusion, it should be noted that it is crucial to maintain an urban free zone through innovative concepts such as the “strategy of proliferation” for the general public and enhance the content in order to develop sustainable cities by making an active contribution to climate protection.

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Gesine Gennrich

Suhl, Germany

Category: Urban Planning and Urban Design

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