swiscity - visions for the urban territory
One of Switzerland's key characteristics is a high degree of political and cultural diversity within very small geographical boundaries. Switzerland's heavily fragmented political structure with 2757 autonomous communities and the principle of regular plebiscites have recently become focus of public attention in Switzerland. In the light of declining economic growth, integral thinking and streamlining of political forces are becoming increasingly important. Switzerland will ultimately have to reconsider its widespread cultivation of land. This process will have a major impact on future goals of urban and national planning.
Reviving an idea that has been existing since the sixties, 'swiscity' refers to Switzerland as a mega-city stretched between the metropolitan regions of Zurich in the centre, Geneva in the southwest, and Basle at the northern border. These metropolitan regions are tied together by public spaces in the form of forests and agricultural areas. Against a specific Swiss urbanism situated between domesticated nature and suburban cosiness that dissolves the traditional differentiation between built and unbuilt territory, 'swiscity' puts up a distinct hypothesis for a change of paradigm. 'swiscity' is proposing a change of attitude spanning a mental model rather than a master-plan. Therefore from the bottom up a descriptive logic of the single and specific is established. Empiricism instead of Theory.
Exemplary sites are selected out of a broad range of locations throughout Switzerland. All examples being characterized by an open prospect are undergoing a gradual transformation towards a vision with two alternative options: either a radical urban or an explicit natural future. These visual stories are based on specific spatial and architectural characteristics of today's situation as well as on potential future economic or social scenarios discussed in public and media. For example, 'swiscity' addresses a thesis supported by a group of geographers claiming that within a scenario of concentration large areas in the Swiss mountains, where today the Swiss Government subsidizes generously the agricultural cultivation of land, could be abandoned by man and left again to nature and wilderness.
The alternative change models from the present to a natural and to an urban future are shown on large plasma monitors creating a slow, aesthetic rhapsody of spatial development. The future is literally created based on the cross-faded past. The proposed utopia is not established as a closed vision but rather an open field of distinct possibilities and opportunities. The dialectical test arrangement ironically refers to the democratic condition of the public poll and furthermore to everyone's awareness for the ongoing change of human territory.