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The sustainable city of the future must be inside, not outside, the world in which it lives. Inspired by the idea of a living organism, we turn to the biological cell as the basic building block for a “living” community in Backnang West. Winding lines, different cell shapes and rounded edges dissolve the boundaries between human and natural regions. A community emerges that seamlessly dissolves into the natural ecology of the Murr. The living organism is more than a metaphor for an ecologically conscientious future. As a blueprint for urban development, it also solves the most important design challenge of a developing city like Backnang: adaptability and scalability for the years to come.

Our cell-structured design approach incorporates small roads and intersections that maintain car access while allowing for safe alternative modes of transportation. Shared mobility systems and electric charging stations are conveniently located throughout the community to allow easy access to various modes of mobility, e.g. electric vehicles, scooters, bike stations or kayak launches.

Islands that align with the natural processes of the river improve the user experience, increase habitat and biodiversity, and serve as infrastructure for flood protection during seasonal changes in water levels. In addition, our proposal expands the river flood plains at each turn, accommodating eddies, intricate edges, and diverse habitats. Rainwater ponds and other naturalized features control water flow by reducing water velocity and erosion. These naturalized features will improve water quality in the river, create new habitats for plants and animals, and provide the community with an opportunity to experience the riparian landscape up close. Riverbank habitat improvements will also help control erosion, filter sediment and pollutants in storm water, and promote the health of aquatic ecosystems.

As the Master Plan progresses, it is expected that development along the Murr River will result in the need for storm water treatment prior to discharge into the river. Suggested treatment delivery methods include sediment traps, overgrown swallows, extended detention facilities, and other natural treatment impoundments. The improvements will allow development along the river with minimal degradation.

Entry and Award Here


Backnang, Germany






Second Place

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