Towards Territorial Transition – Decarb Luxe

Why (the relevance):
The studio “Territorial Transition” invites students with diverse disciplinary backgrounds (landscape, urbanism, architecture) to design transition on a territorial scale that faces the current ecological, economic, social and spatial challenges. It focuses on the process of achieving the goal rather than the goal as such. We will think about the transition as a project in itself on a scale beyond the scale of the city. Crises have always influenced our spatial disciplines. Currently, the challenges of climate change, e.g. through increasing severe weather events, have once again confronted us with the fragility of the built environment – and thus raised the call for a rethinking of the goals and means of designing space. In the face of immense environmental and social challenges, a paradigm shift in planning and design approaches is needed. 

Where (the territory):
Luxemburg is a country on the scale of a metropolitan region, known for its carbon addiction, with the cheapest gasoline in Europe, the largest gas station in the world, a territory characterized by suburbanization, shopping malls and tax breaks that drew purchasing power away from its larger neighboring countries. Yet recently, Luxemburg has been aiming for radical change: The country plans to be carbon-neutral by 2050. It has raised fuel prices and is offering free public transportation throughout the country. Against this backdrop, the ambitious, internationally tendered state project ‘Luxemburg in transition’ was launched in 2021.

How (the methodology):
The studio will be structured around five relevant notions of territorial transition – Territory, Platform, Transition, Scale(s) and Uncertainty, in a successive sequence. The results of the work on each notion relate to and are based on the previous notion. During the courses comparable large-scale, international reference projects of territorial transition will be presented and discussed with external experts. The studio uses a combination of individual (design) work and collaborative (research) work in small groups of 2-3 students

When (the schedule):
The studio consists of about 75% in-person meetings and 25% Zoom tutoring during remote weeks. Instruction hours are generally Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-6 p.m. (GMT-4), unless otherwise arranged with students. There are two intermediate reviews and a final review with invited guests.

What (the assignments):
By Review 1, we have explored, defined, and mapped our territory, as well as relevant coalitions of agents for transformation in response to the challenges of the territory. By review 2, we have developed a transition strategy for your territory, based on the these agents and translated it into a concrete spatial intervention. By the final review we have reflected about how to deal with the uncertainty of long-term transition processes and the overall representation of the studio output. The outcome of the group work will be a mapping of the current situation and the formulation of future development strategies for each selected transition pathway at the territorial level. The results of the individual work will be defined together with the students in terms of scale, scope and level of detail, as well as the representation techniques.