Urban Competition

with Wolfgang Aichner





Improve the region's viability as business location by creating jobs and training vacancies for young people at low capital investment, facilitate production of commodities and keep costs of living low.
Give Halle/Leipzig an uniqueness, an image which would turn the region famous and would attract people worldwide
Improve the living conditions within the cities to prevent people from leaving for the periphery by transforming urban space beautiful and streaked with green spaces and gardens, supplying urban areas which would generate deceleration instead of acceleration, ensuring living conditions to be more family-friendly and healthy and establishing an attractive urban mesh of living,-working,-commercial. ecological and recreational space
Link people emotionally to the city by appealing to their sense of responsibility towards urban "wastespaces", the acquisition of possession of leasehold property



seeks to generate the reuse and exploitation of existing abandoned and derelicted urban wastespace: it imagines the people themselves as the thriving force of interventions; urban reconfiguration and urban planning as a non-governmental activity and small scale businesses being self-governed and self-operating We do propose EAT® as a strategy which turns the shrinking city phenomenon into a controlled metamorphoses with economic, environmental, and social benefits for the region.
Economic benefits:
The proposal introduces an innovative live/work idea to the region: market gardens and fish farms are positioned in empty multistorey high rise buildings and in the derelicted buildings. It is estimated, that these gardens can provide 70% of the cities residents annual fruit and vegetable requirement*: The implementation of EAT® businesses would require only low capital investment. We imagine the development of urban market gardens of sufficient size to be economically viable as a business proposition for at least one or two persons. Economic urban agriculture is creating jobs and training vacancies for young people. The relationship of urban agriculture with low income groups is particularly positive. It advances well-being für low-income families and pensioners as they have better access to healthy food and income.   It is an industry of choice for old people as micro-industries.:
*Within Europe a plot approximately 100m² will supply all of the annual fruit and vegetable requirements of an individual [A..Vilijoen, A.Tardieu, 1998]
Ecological benefits:
Urban regeneration zones are considered foremost ecological regeneration zones. Vacant and waste spaces are transformed into an urban landscape which is edible; into productive space which at the same time is enhancing the environment for living and from an ecological point of view increases biodiversity within an urban surrounding rather than diminishing it. Waste is food, and sewage and garbage are prime inputs to food production. EAT® turns the city into an ecologically closed-loop system. While urban agriculture should not be expected to provide autonomy for fruit and vegetable requirements of the whole region, it could make a significant contribution to reducing the cities ecological footprint.
Social benefits:
Consumers would be in close contact with the producers of the food and the food source. Urban families would be reintegrated with nature. The transformation of wastespace into green space will improve the recreational and aesthetics values of the city. Gardens within empty and derelicted buildings would make living space in the adjacent houses more attractive as there would be the possibility to create garden flats on every storey.



EAT® is a cooperative of local people who devote themselves to the urban agriculture movement. This means they privately or commercially produce, proceed and promote ecologically viable agricultural products. EAT® comprises commercial and private market gardens, fish farms, food processing facilities, drug manufactures, greengroceries and restaurants. The agricultural faculty of the Martin-Luther University Halle/ Wittenberg is engaged with research projects on urban agriculture technology. The implementation of facilities in derelicted wastespaces is backed by the government with ICHAG loans. For planning and tax purposes co-operatives, "Bürgerstadt-AGs" would be able to implement urban-agricultural projects on a large scale. Housing associations/ house owners of empty buildings would be freed of the maintenance costs as they would be taken over by the EATt® cooperative. In the long term the city would provide legal basic conditions which would enable people to implement urban business in wastespaces. Yearlong unused flats and buildings could be legally dispossessed. Tax concessions would drive housing associations to sell or rent out their estates, if necessary only temporarily, to economically and ecologically viable projects, at a low price. Tax concessions which would drive people in the suburbs do have to be abolished in favour of tax policies which would encourage economically and ecologically viable investments in the urban city fabric. The city would be in charge of designing building/ areas suitable for urban agriculture and would legislatively control the redesigning of urban space.



The first stage of the project would be a wide spread promotion campaign, financed by the "Ministerium für Aufbau Ost" which would promote EAT® regionally and nationally. It would address people from Halle/ Leipzig region which would be interested in engaging in the project and set up EAT® businesses. Along with pioneer protagonists we do hope to find housing association / house owners letting us have to use of the derelicted building in order to create a prototype which would give an idea of future development.