Today, these areas are best known for their prefabricated warehouses made from metal sheets and for storage sites with containers and stacked Euro pallets. A mix of vacant lots, abandoned buildings, recreative activities, social entrepreneurs and plants grown wild located side by side with newly renovated office and production buildings.
Today, many companies have different demands on location than when the areas were first planned and as the industrial districts are well located, close to the city centres, close to nature, and the infrastructure is good they are an obvious choice for urban development. This is why several cities are planning to transform these areas into mixed-function urban areas.
However, the activities and a diversity of people, businesses, start-ups and new types of meeting places inhabiting the industrial districts today find it difficult to find room for elsewhere.
This is a planning dilemma. We need to establish a more nuanced look at the current condition and potentials of the industrial districts today before we start transforming them. It, consequently, is needed to consider what role this typology can have in the future urban landscape. Furthermore to explore the possible strategies for urban transformation of the industrial districts.
The project identifies several points that merit special attention:
A. The changes in the industrial districts can be interpreted as global movements manifesting themselves on the local level. This, for instance, applies to changes in the economic climate, crises, urbanisation, etc.
B. Currently, a two-way transformation is taking place in the industrial districts; a transformation involving both prosperous growth of some of the businesses and vacant buildings.
C. The industrial districts have been economic fuel for the dream of the ideal, efficient city and an important element of the expansion of the suburbs and the building up of the welfare state.
D. Two current trends, in particular, may have a future impact on the industrial districts. First, ‘The hyper-industrialised society’. It is a move from division into hierarchies and labour of the industrialisation towards industrial ecologies, where knowledge and production is woven together. It shows that including production in urban development is, once again, gaining relevance. Secondly, a wide variety of ‘hybrid platforms’ that emerge as new organisational, social and business hybrids of well-known forms.
E. At the same time, the qualities of industrial districts are difficult to read. The dissertation suggests a new vocabulary that is capable of addressing the underlying dynamics and their potential.
F. In terms of future transformations, the study points to a multifaceted approach to the changes in the industrial districts.
The project is supported by the Danish public fund Future urban renewal.
Professor Tom Nielsen
Lecturer Jens Christian Pasgaard