Eriksen Skajaa

April 7, 2017

After several years of organized resistance to demolition of the 28,000 square meter residential area of Esso Haüser in the St. Pauli area of Hamburg, tenants were thrown out in December 2013. At this point, the resistance shifted and a group of activists from the neighborhood began to work to ensure that the former tenants would have the opportunity to move into a new building in the same place.

Planbude, directly translated to the Planning shack, was created as an interdisciplinary planning office on the plot with planners, architects, artists and ordinary people from the neighborhood. It was later engaged by the City of Hamburg to facilitate a thorough and comprehensive participation process. With this in mind, they developed a number of innovative tools and methods including scale models of area and space, photo documentation, soundtrack, doorstep interview, drawing tasks, text reading, local school seminars, questionnaires and a number of social events. The neighborhood expressed its wishes in as much as 2300 contributions.

The collaborative process was summarized in a document called «st. Pauli charter »which stated that the area should consist of forty percent social housing, twenty percent experimental housing and forty percent ordinary rental housing. Furthermore, goals of diversity, public spaces without buying press, facilities for basketball, skating, climbing and for children were offered. There will not be developed chain stores, but small premises for smaller businesses. In addition, local cultural institutions, including a concert venue, a lunch place and a hotel should be rebuilt.

These guidelines were the starting point for an architecture competition developed by Planbude, the municipality and the landowners. Initially, a jury composed of professionals, landowners, the neighborhood, the municipality and politicians chose the winners of the competition for the planning of the area. In 2016, the winners of the competition became involved in drawing the buildings, in collaboration with Planbude, based on the guidelines from the participation process.

Planbude has become an internationally acknowledged model for how a credible participation process can lead to good urban development. We wish in this event to look into what we can learn from this process and to invite for a conversation on participation in planning in Oslo and Norway.

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