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Back to the blogHanna Noller talks about the transformation of the city

Portrait of Thomas Lipp
Thomas Lipp


Lab talk: Hanna Noller about transforming the city

Who owns the city? The Stadtlücken e.V. is a non-profit association dedicated to raising awareness for public space and urban experience in Stuttgart. It works to promote a network for the joint development of a livable and creative city. It’s Co-founder Hanna Noller visited us and talked about the gaps, bureaucracy and her experiences about shaping a program.

For Hanna Noller, the project Stadtlücken e.V. began during her architectural studies. The core question was: “Why does the city look like it does?” By mapping gaps – building gaps, time gaps, social gaps, legal gaps, knowledge gaps – Hanna and her colleagues developed a first tool to become aware of the actual options for a more livable city. How can we unlock the potential of this public space?

Mapping the gaps

The discussion resulted in a collection of places, ideas and initiatives in the form of a blog as well as a monthly discussion round on the question “Who owns the city?”.

Where is this Österreichischer Platz?

The largest identified gap is the Österreicher Platz, located below the intersection of Paulinen and Hauptstädter Straße.

The square is not a real square – just some parking lots under a bridge. To open up the unknown and unused space for uses oriented towards the common good, the Stadtlücken e.V. initially agreed on a two-week interim use with the city.

The team used this opportunity for a variety of installations and plenty of space for discourse. The well-attended events and the growing attention in the press ensured a strong network effect. Thus, the short interim use was finally able to develop into a two-year experiment. During this time, a varied program, supported by many participants, unfolded – always intending to be public in the best sense of the word, i.e. accessible, inclusive and non-commercial.

How can resources be shared?

The members of Stadtlücken e.V. are inspired by the political scientist and Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom (1933-2012). Ostrom dealt with the question of how people organize themselves to work on complex problems together. In her book “Governing the Commons”, Ostrom deals with the problem of collective action when natural resources are scarce.

The Stadtlücken e.V. has transferred these questions to the topic of urban space. How can we jointly use and design the few gaps in the city? The eight design principles from “Die Verfassung der Allmende” (1999, published in German) also played an essential role in the development of a concept for public space.

What happens to the square?

The example of the Österreichischer Platz shows that Stuttgart needs spaces or “gaps” – for culture, subculture and creativity in public space. In this case, Stadtlücken e.V. has succeeded in transforming an almost dead parking lot into a lively public space with a diverse range of offers.

Draft for the redesign of the Österreichischer Platz

The initiative will continue to be supported until October 2019, after which it will be renegotiated.

Shaping a city worth living is a continuous process.

Thank you very much, dear Hanna, for your inspiring lecture! We are looking forward to the future and your future projects.

Vita Hanna Noller

Hanna Noller is a trained carpenter and business economist. She studied architecture in Hamburg, Istanbul and the Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart. She teaches, designs and researches at the University of Stuttgart at the Urban Development Institute Reallabor for sustainable mobility culture. Furthermore, she is a founding member of Stadtlücken e.V. and a candidate of the Stadtisten.

Stadtlücken e.V.

Natalie Brehmer, Sascha Bauer, Ania Corcilius, Mark Julien Hahn, Lena Engelfried, Sebastian Klawiter, Carolin Lahode, Martin Mannweiler, Hanna Noller, Dominik Schultheiß, Christine von Raven, Jens-Holger Streck, Valerie Rehle, Jonas Wansing, Elisabeth Schaumann, Marco Zörn, Dagmar Staiger, Felicitas Straka, Sarah Ann Sutter, Felicitas Straka, Sarah Ann Sutter

Other projects of the Stadtlücken e.V.