Proaktive Transformation durch regionales Strategie-Entwerfen

  • Proactive transformation by regional strategic design

Wirth, Timo Matti; Lohrberg, Frank (Thesis advisor); Kurth, Detlef (Thesis advisor)

Aachen (2019)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

Dissertation, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, 2019


In the future, an increasing number of regions will be characterized by fundamental change. Large-scale trends such as climate change, resource scarcity, digitization, economic limitations and financial crises are becoming increasingly influential, thus resulting in transformations. The Ruhr area, for example, has demonstrated, following on from the decline of the mining industry, that such transformations can result in crises within regions. These include negative consequences of economic, social and ecological dimensions to which society must respond to with complex and respectively costly repair solutions. Alternatively, transformative sciences, such as geography/landscape research and regional development planning operate through rather more proactive approaches. These have potential interrelationships with new discourses regarding the approach to, and the process of design e.g. the possibilities of "Regional Design". Might a synthesis of knowledge potentially mobilize and unleash new potential? This is the starting point for this dissertation. The aim is to describe a transdisciplinary concept for action on a regional scale, which is termed as "Proactive Transformation". How can changes to the system be addressed through the co-operation of diverse stakeholders in proactive rather than reactive ways? How can a reorganization phase be initiated at an early stage in the process? The associated possibilities for designers to be involved from the beginning of the process are investigated in particular detail. The first chapter examines large-scale trends and identifies general requirements for a Proactive Transformation. The second chapter develops the basics for action through a critical review of the development of two regions in Germany. Based upon these findings, the third chapter develops a new model for strategic development ("Regional Strategic Design"). In parallel, the building blocks of this model have been tested within a real experimental situation involving stakeholders at a regional level. The fourth chapter documents this process and its results. The Rhenish Mining Area (germ.: Rheinisches Revier) in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia has served as a case study region. Strategic categories with an emphasis upon particular themes were developed (i.e. Regional Power Plant, Circular Building Economy, Agro business Region, Lakes and Open Space System), urban design and landscape architectural prototypes were conceptualized and initial steps towards implementation were made. The evaluation of the real experimental results reflects the perceived role of designers during the process. The dissertation ends with conclusions about the concept of Proactive Transformation and a consideration of the future possibilities for Regional Strategic Design.