The pitfalls and opportunities of urban planning – Dr Michael Denkel in interview


Speaking to SWR2, Dr Michael Denkel, authorized signatory and partner at AS+P, explains why mixed-use is the better option for a new city district and which long-term urban concepts are sustainable for a society that is changing ever more rapidly.

Planning future scenarios here and now: If you consider that it sometimes takes years or even decades before master plans are realized, it is easy to appreciate why urban planners have to exercise caution with their concepts and apply a sense of proportion when defining frameworks. For these not only need to be stable over the long term, but also need to permit considerable scope so as to counter unforeseen trends after their realization. After all, as Dr Denkel points out in the interview, “forecasts about the future that are taken into account at the planning stage sometimes turn out to be inaccurate, as today’s society is in a state of permanent flux. This might mean that city districts are completed now that were planned at a time when smartphones were not around.” It follows that the ideas that emerged in connection with digitization and form the basis of smart cities today were unable to be considered. Dr Denkel explains how long-term concepts can nonetheless be realized for future-oriented cities, taking the example of Badya City in Cairo, Egypt to illustrate his case:

The entire city was planned as a place for work, residential and leisure purposes so as to avoid certain areas being totally deserted at certain times of the day. Moreover, mixed-use also permits short distances and good mobility as well as an efficient infrastructure. In practice this means people can go about their daily errands on foot or by bike, which also saves important resources such as energy and makes for a more vibrant urban environment.

Radio interview from February 13, 2019 in SWR2 Sunday culture feature

Moderation: Jörg Biesler, presenter of the culture program “Scala”

Duration of interview: about 12 minutes

Listen to the interview (in German)