Chair of Sustainable Urbanism

Paradigm Shift in Periurban Settlement Systems and Building Structures
The power of cultural landscapes grew from the utility-oriented reconciliation of land-use systems, traffic networks and settlement concepts with the natural principles of human existence. One-dimensional changes generally upset the equilibrium of forces and lead to processes of extensive destruction or change. The aim is to analyze and assess these aspects of interference and modification in relation to the overall system of spatial structures. If they are to achieve a spatial-architectural valorization and production, new cultural landscapes, settlement systems and building structures require holistic yet differentiated guidance systems. Questions relating to the finiteness of natural resources play a prominent role, likewise the resilience of cultural values.

Rural Contexts and Primary Production 
Rural contexts are characterized by the interaction of primary sectors with other areas – i.e. agriculture, forestry, energy management work hand-in-hand with trade, provision of services and tourism. Roland Rainer defines the rural context as follows: "We should not regard the nature of a village simply in terms of certain styles of houses, or view the village as a collection of old farmhouses that are frequently no longer inhabited by farmers, but as the notional model of a residential concept that achieves a very high quality of life with a very low consumption of energy and resources." Topics to be investigated include the production of raw materials, their application in effective circulatory systems and the ensuing consequences for architecture and settlement systems.

Conceptions of Rural/Urban Spatial Awareness
The contours of once clearly defined spaces are becoming blurred: town and country are merging or even changing place. Spatial observation is caught up in the perpetual triangle with institutionalized and codified conceptions. New conceptions reveal/depict spatial changes and trigger planning and awareness processes such as the designations 'metropolitan region' or 'quiet zones'. The processes of shifting terminology and the invention of new words are not only rooted in changing analytical practice but also in an increasingly pronounced communicative approach in planning in general. 
The terminology introduced by Studio Basel to portray Switzerland led to an intensive wave of new spatial regulations at the time. The following concepts represent starting points for scientific debates: the rural/urban fringe. Outdoors/indoors. Local/global. (Matthias Reichenbach-Klinke, Jörg Schröder, 2006)