urban context

sde21, wuppertal, germany

Photomontage by Bärbel Offergeld, pictures by Debborah Runkel, Magdalena Spinn, cut out people Skalgubbar

this edition of the solar decathlon europe ‚goes urban‘!

This is reflected in its goals and tasks as well as in its location.

It is a competition in the heart of Wuppertal, a city with 360,000 inhabitants and 22,000 students. Located in the middle of Europe, bordering the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region with around 12 million inhabitants.

Wuppertal was a centre for the industrialisation and has been a place of innovation and great ideas since. Friedrich Engels, together with Karl Marx author of the Communist Manifesto, was born here and many international economic endeavours started in this lively valley. But the city is also a place of hard change and structural challenges, especially since the 1970s. The spirit of bottom-up transformation flows through the city and the actions of its citizens. Urban initiatives like Utopiastadt (UtopiaCity) bring utopias closer to reality and renew the innovative heritage.

Once upon a time the people of Utopiastadt occupied the old railway station „Mirker Bahnhof“. Today it shines in new splendour and will soon become the living room of the competition. At the same time, the citizens of Wuppertal have ensured that the old railway line in front of it, the „Nordbahntrasse“, has become a cycle path leading dozens of kilometres through the city. As a symbol of urban mobility, it is linked to many other routes to form a high-quality network. The open area on the other side of the Nordbahntrasse, directly opposite Mirker Bahnhof, is today also a space for utopias. One of them is the Solar Decathlon Europe ‚goes urban!‘ 

Join utopia with your vision for the city of the future!

Fig. 1: The city of Wuppertal with its surrounding

Photos:  Wolf Sondermann

Continue building mixed quarters
The densification of existing quarters reduces the new designation of settlement and traffic areas, and contributes to the improvement of the Baukultur diversity
of use and design quality. The possibilities range from vacancy, open, or fallow land activations to structural measures such as closing gaps between buildings, the addition of storeys, and supplementary buildings. In addition, well-designed public spaces and a balanced infrastructure offering have a positive effect on participation and user behaviour. They strengthen the identity of a place and the solidarity of
its inhabitants.