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From department stores to barracks and churches, urban buildings regularly fall out of use as a result of societal changes. However, the driving forces behind these urban obsolescences have thus far not been systematically investigated. As a result of the global trends of digitalization, the mobility transformation, and changes in religious behavior, there is currently significant pressure to identify new uses for a wide range of different building types. These buildings represent a key resource for the circular development of growing metropolises, for affordable housing and uses that serve the common good, for more resilient neighborhood design that is better adapted to climate change, and for the increasing number of new functions now being carried out in our cities. Last but not least, this existing building stock is also a resource for the new infrastructures necessitated by the mobility transformation and the shift to renewable energy.
Stefan Rettich is an architect and professor of urban planning at Kassel University. From 2011 to 2016, he was professor of theory and design at the University of Applied Sciences in Bremen. Prior to this, he taught at the Bauhaus Kolleg in Dessau for four years. He is a founding partner and co-owner of the architecture office KARO* architekten.
Sabine Tastel studied architecture with a focus on urban planning. She is a research associate working within the discipline of urban planning at the University of Kassel, where she is completing her doctorate on the socio-spatial importance of gas stations in the context of the mobility transformation. Prior to this, she was a research associate at KIT Karlsruhe, as well as working at various architecture firms.
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