Friedrichstadt, what is your potential? Friedrichstadt – competition future city oft the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF)


The project Friedrichstadt: what is your potential? is part of the future-city programme of the German Ministry for Education and Science and concerned with the future of the town of Friedrichstadt in Northern Frisia. With only 2.500 inhabitants it can still be counted as a town due to its built structure and its high tourism volume. Planned as harbour and world city, the built utopia of the 17th Century and “Holland town” to this day figures as location of choice for its inhabitants and visitors. Just like many other communities and towns in rural areas, Friedrichstadt is confronted with socio-economic challenges that are intensified not least by the seasonal fluctuation of its short-term residents. Urban development policies of the past decades and federal programmes such as home ownership bonuses and tax reductions for commuters have left their traces in Friedrichstadt. Two communities with detached single-family houses have been developed adjacent to the historic perimeter core. With empty shop fronts and unused, partly derelict buildings, both settlement forms today point the decisive need for a new approach in planning. The successfully submitted bid to the future-city competition and the ongoing process include a communication strategy to enable as many inhabitants as possible to participate in the development, to make visible and negotiable innovative resources and to actively design possible futures. Urban Design at HCU accompanies the ongoing bid process for the third round and the second phase of the programme.

A concern with the city’s future involves the present in its having-becomeness. Cities, their future, present and past are produced and made – but who produces and makes them? Based on the notion that the urban is being produced through manifold actions and activities of various actors in their everyday life, we ask: what makes Friedrichstadt what it is? What and who makes Friedrichstadt and where, how and when is it being produced? Three compact teaching units (a summer school, an autumn school and a spring school) serve to approach the research field on the interrelated scales city / block, block / building and building / room. Friedrichstadt, what are you doing? asks about the city’s potentials, while Friedrichstadt, how do you dwell? is concerned with living and working in one building. Lastly, Friedrichstadt, how do you accommodate? is concerned with the typologies of temporary housing both in private (guest) rooms as well as in the common-public spaces.
In order to lay open the complexity of the city we use various methods, such as videography, archival and textual research, conversations, interviews, observation, drawing and photography. Especially videography allows the density of observation, conversation and representation and hence receives particular attention.
The result is a catalogue that assembles the material from the three schools and the accompanying research and attempts to present the breadth of cases in housing biographies based on the different uses, various house sizes and diverse users. Assorted cases are probed into in depth to unfold the diverse themes inherent in the cases. The collected material on the three scales city, building and room across the time axes past and present serve as foundation for the analysis of potential futures through possible scenarios. The collected material equally documents the first two phases and the preparation for the third phase of the competition Friedrichstadt future city and will also feed into the Hamburg Open Online University (HOOU) Project: Learning with urban typologies – videography as collaborative methodology in interdisciplinary urban research.



Project duration: September 2017 – Juli 2018