When an urban site is up for development, local authorities, property owners, investors and architects generally have a clear model in view. There is a site-owner or investor that commissions a development plan from a planner, or a local authority that has a plan drafted, and finally they look for investors. What is planned is and end product that defines architectural density and stipulates prospective uses and design specifications. Standard planning tools and models, embedded in a formal process, are thereby intended to guarantee the successive transformation of the project idea into a built structure. For the owner and investor as well as for the local authority, control over this process is crucial, in order that design proposals, eventual returns, the value of the site and, not least, tax receipt generated eventually by the new district´s consumers might be calculated as reliably possible. Interests in keeping the period between planning and implementation as brief as possible is accordingly high. (…) Current planning systems were created to deal with phases of growth and prove inadequate in the face of shriking processes or stagnation. That urban development is today undergoing a dramatic transformation and cannot always be conducted as linear implementation of urban planner´s masterplans is illustrated by numerous planning proposals that were never, or only partially implemented. If the periods between planning and implementation becomes incalculable – because the local property market is at a low, local residents oppose plans, a site proves to be contaminated, or historical buildings are listed for preservation- planning threatens to cave in like a house of cards.
(…) Yet how can urban planning deal with such spaces, when their momentum mostly flies in the face of control and reliable prognoses? Or are temporary uses remain nothing more than gap-fillers, until market demand permits a return to regulated planning? Are alternative models for urban development that integrate stopgaps and temporary solutions any way conceivable?
(…) Self-regulating development models have been on the agenda for quite some time in other fields. Software developers have been using open-source methods for decades already. (…) Step by step we should move towards an open time frame – instead of defining an end product detail, pro-active urban planning integrated a site´s current potential in the development process: architectural resources, interested users and public interest.
URBAN CATALYST: PHILLIPP MISSELWITZ, PHILLIPP OSWALT, KLAUS OVERMEYER // URBAN PIONEERS, TEMPORARY USE AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT IN BERLIN, Jovis Verlag gmbH, 2007.