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First Karstadt, next Peek & Cloppenburg? Vacancy endangers our city centers

Hamburg architectural firm calls for forward-looking and bold use of large vacant buildings

shopping mallHamburg/Cologne (pts009/24.03.2023/08:50) – Vacancy endangers our city centers, the clear cut to Corona shows the dramatic situation. Prominent and large commercial spaces in central downtown locations are also vacant. Karstadt is closing dozens of stores and what will happen to Peek & Cloppenburg KG Düsseldorf (P&C) is written in the stars. “When large and centrally located buildings sit empty, it’s often deadly for downtowns. A creative, courageous and forward-looking utilization concept must therefore be developed immediately with urban planners and architects in order to prevent further migration. The example of Neue Mitte Cologne shows that new architecture can also be sustainable, if gray energy continues to be used to a large extent and the historic station concourse and the Hohenzollern Bridge remain, but are to be used creatively and in the sense of a modern identity architecture also further by people”, says the Hamburg architect Justus Asselmeyer, who wants to show new ways towards a more human and sustainable architecture.

Architecture must think big, but act sustainably and in a deeply human way

The demands Asselmeyer and his team are making on the major challenges of vacant storefronts in city centers are evidence of a new generation of architects who no longer just want to tear down everything old, but want to retain evolved structures and even strengthen them in terms of urban planning. “On the one hand, to preserve the department store buildings, most of which are huge and anchored in the cityscape, and on the other hand, to make the enormous spaces available to further generations of city dwellers as working, living and leisure space. My demands are therefore quite clearly formulated.”

7 demands for the far-sighted management of our inner cities

– Let’s think big

– Let’s improve the urban space for the next generations

– Let’s make smart and sustainable use of existing buildings, land and gray energy

– Let’s learn from great positive examples, also in small cities (New York, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and just Cologne)

– Let’s get a new understanding of what urban city space can be (quality of stay, easy working, leisure oases, car-free zones, streets become green spaces, etc.).

– Let us not shy away from risks, but let us see the great opportunities

– Let’s create modern urban but more human cities


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More info on the architecture firm and the concept of identity architecture at:


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