The final product of the planning phase was the document Konzept 86 (Figure 8.4). This document identified the main goals of development. These entail the realization of (a) a transport interchange (better transport integration between public transport at an international, regional and local level) and (b) a service centre (expansion of the business district centre in the direction of the station). Complementary measures (such as speed limits, and minimum housing percentages) should protect the surrounding neighbourhoods from traffic and development pressure.
The transport objectives (node) include:
• Public transport:
an attractive transport chain (SBB, DB, SNCF, suburban trains, tram, bus and taxi); improving the modal split;
Table 8.1 Basel EuroVille: summary of the main phases
Phase 1: concept planning (1970s); partnership City of Basel, County of Basel, Swiss Railways, PTT, 1983-1986
1983 The council approves funding for planning; cooperative plan definition
June 1986 Konzept 86 published
Phase 2: detailed planning, 1987-1991; feasibility and impact studies September 1991 Projekt '91 published
1987-1992 City council votes on planning funding, zoning station area, bridge construction
1987-1992 Population votes (referendum) on planning funding; construction of Miinchensteiner bridge, construction of Centraalbahn parking
Phase 3: operational planning, 1992-1995; internal discussions in the partnership 1995 City and county councils vote on financing infrastructure
Phase 4: implementation, 1994-2005
Beginning of 1994 Start construction of Bahnhof Ost (first market element)
March 1996 EuroVille participates in the MIPIM in Cannes; official start
October 1996 Results of the competition for the station bridge are made public
2000 Expected opening of Bahnhof Ost tram links between the suburbs and the centre through the station; increased station capacity (ICE, TGV, Bahn 2000, S-Bahn); reconstruction of the postal station;
better connections between the central city and the station. • Private transport:
improvement of pedestrian access;
improvement of motorcycle and bicycle access and parking;
park and ride facilities;
accessibility of the south side;
relief of Gundelingen from through traffic.
The service centre objectives (place) include:
• Urban development/form:
renewal of the station square and the south station;
activation of the station as a working and living district;
promotion of the development of the CBD in the direction of the station;
better integration of the suburbs;
relief of the residential neighbourhoods from tertiary conversion pressure; spatial orientation of the demand for space;
a contribution to the ecological balance (4500 workplaces next to the station).
more efficient exploitation of the areas around the station; renewal of the postal station;
construction of Bahnhof Ost with PTT, Telecom and private services.
A total of about 300 000 m2 is envisaged. The main elements are: Bahnhof Ost, with 180 000 m2 of mainly office space; Bahnhof Süd, with 80 000 m2 of mixed uses (housing, offices, shops); and Elsässer Tor, with 18 000 m2 of services.
To facilitate implementation the plan was subdivided into subprojects. The most important of these are the following (public investment is mentioned when present; the numbers refer to Figure 8.5):
• new, re-localized, signalling post and locomotive depot (51, 52);
• Bahnhof Ost—postal station, PTT and telecom offices, private services (24);
• reconstruction of the Münchensteiner bridge to provide more space for bicycles and cars, three tram tracks, and headroom for trains running beneath (21);
• diversion of two tram lines through the station—implementation 1998-2001, cost SFr 58.2 million, 50% Basel city, 50% Basel county (22);
• underground parking for 400 cars and reorganization of access in the station square (12);
• tertiary development in the SNCF area—rezoned in 1987, architectural competition in 1990, construction not started as of summer 1997 (44);
• remodelling of the station square—architectural competition in 1994, project approved in 1997, completion in 2001, cost SFr 40.3 million, of which SFr 35.1 million Basel city, SFr 5.2 million Basel county (11);
• station north-south link and related infrastructure works—implementation between 1997 and 2000, cost of link SFr 42.4 million, of which 33% Basel city, 67% SBB (41, 42,
• renewal of the station's south entrance and development of the surrounding areas— implementation 1997 onwards, 80 000 m2 of non-transport uses, at least a quarter housing, 700 spaces underground parking (31, 32);
• bicycle paths and parking—construction 1998-2000, cost SFr 9.3 million, 100% Basel city;
• road access south side—implementation 1997-1999, cost SFr 37 million, of which 43% Basel city, 57% SBB;
• accompanying measures to include 30 km/h maximum speed zones—implementation 19961997, cost SFr 1 million, 100% Basel city—and a wohnanteilplan (minimum amounts of housing) in Gundelingen.
Construction of the first market element, Bahnhof Ost, began in January 1994. Completion is expected around 2000. The building under construction (Figure 8.6) has a basement containing an underground postal station with customs offices and parking facilities, surmounted by six five-floor office buildings. Two of these will be occupied by administrative offices of the national postal and telecommunications companies. The remaining four (for a total of 24 700 m2) are being marketed to private firms. Flexibility is maximal. The six superstructures were brought under an independent organization so that they could be constructed at different times, as funding becomes available. The land is leased for 99 years from the SBB and the PTT by the PTT (60%) and IBO (40%). IBO is a partnership of SBB, PTT and a consortium of architects/developers plus a bank. The architects/developers own the majority of shares, and have taken the technical and financial leadership of the operation.
All in all, investment involved in projects under construction or in preparation amounts (1994 data) to SFr 650 million. Public and para-public investment amounts to about SFr 200 million (SFr 87 million Basel city, SFr 34.3 million Basel county, SFr 47.8 million SBB, and SFr 20.5 million the federal state).
EuroVille is a complex venture. This is primarily because of the extension of the project's perimeter, but it is also complex because of the networks connecting in the station; the number of actors involved, often with contradictory objectives; the level of political and technical interdependence between several sub-elements and decision processes; and the political uncertainty connected to the long time span of the initiative.
Examples of these political-technical interdependences are numerous. For instance, according to a survey made in 1991 (CEAT, 1993), they include the following:
• Once approved by the council, the realization of the parking lot of the station depends on the availability of private investment.
• The realization of the tram lines (city government) is dependent on approval of the Münchensteiner bridge project (city council) and on the realization according to plan of the motorway link (city government, federal government).
• The realization of the postal station (PTT) depends on the construction, out of the perimeter, of a new locomotive depot (SBB) and the removal of the freight facilities (SBB).
• The realization of the tertiary centre south of the station (SBB) depends on the departure of the post (PTT), on the realization of the pedestrian passage (SBB), and on the southern bypass (city council).
In view of this complexity, the adopted organizational structure entails:
• a project direction, with the task of coordinating the actions of the different institutional partners;
• a technical team with six members (two from Basel city, two from Basel county, one from the SBB, and one from the PTT) to act as interface between the four organizations and the elaboration of the plan;
• a high-level delegation of the institutional partners, which meets every six months to discuss and endorse the progress made;
• consultants on specific issues;
• accompanying teams (for example, with the task of informing the population).
This structure significantly changed its identity in moving from the first to the second phase. In the first—political—phase (1983-1986), the project was directed by city officials. Priority was given to openness of the decision-making process and involvement of all the interested parties. The population was regularly informed, and organizations and individuals were formally invited to react. At the same time, a participatory planning process was started in the neighbourhood of Gundelingen, on the south side of the tracks. That process led to a set of planning guidelines (richtplanung), which were approved by the city government in 1986. Interaction between the two planning processes was high.
The second—technical—phase (1987-1991) and subsequent phases were of a completely different nature. The development perimeter was divided into four sub-areas, inside which subprojects were identified and developed autonomously. Technical and financial issues dominated the discussion, and only those parties who were directly responsible were involved in the process. Whenever a subproject was ready, implementation could in principle start. There was no need to wait for the picture to be complete. This strategy was justified by several actors as the only one by which such a complex programme could be implemented in the fragmented organizational context of Basel. One consequence is that the public has been progressively excluded from the planning process. Information got scarcer, while opportunities to interact disappeared. The local groups of Gundelingen have been especially critical of this change. Others have pointed out that a global view may have been lost, and with it the meaning of (and thus public support for) the individual elements. For instance, unexpected opposition was encountered with regard to the reconstruction of the Munchensteiner bridge. That opposition almost closed down the project. Debates ensued, concentrating on the increase in car lanes. That focus emerged because other aspects of the infrastructure had fallen out of public view (such as the realization of bicycle paths, the opening of a third tram line, the allowance for construction of additional tracks, and the passage of double-decker S-Bahn trains underneath).
The marketing strategy of Basel EuroVille, integrated in the city marketing of Basel, has been summed up in a unique selling proposition. The assets of the City Centre Basel EuroVille are:
• tri-nationality (multicultural community, internationally oriented business);
• transport position (transport interchange in the middle of Europe);
• urban economy (excellence in the chemicals, banking, insurance, commerce, and distribution sectors);
• personnel (good educational level);
• political acceptance (both the city executive and the city council support EuroVille);
• security (political stability, property security, low crime levels);
• quality of life (intact environment, space for leisure time, high-quality housing, lively cultural scene).
The institutional partners are optimistic about the market response. They see their investment as strategic and long-term. They are not looking for immediate profits, and they are confident in the future performance of the area. The site does not face competition within the urban region. As the argument goes, other big projects in the city (such as renewal of the trade fair) are more complementary than competitive. Vacancy rates in peripheral locations are much higher than in central locations. This is a sign that the attractiveness of the city centre is still great. It would also suggest that public transport accessibility is increasingly seen by investors as an asset rather than a constraint. The additional strength of EuroVille, conclude the partners, is that it offers premises of a size and quality that are absent from the existing property supply of the city centre.
The current marketing campaign of the first private element, Bahnhof Ost (marketing started at the end of 1995, building will be ready in 2000), stresses the 'total' and internationally oriented accessibility of the location and its proximity to the traditional city centre as its strongest points. The city of Basel is advertised as a major international communication node, the seat of multinational (chemicals) companies, banking, insurance, transport and world trade. At the junction of three nations, it 'provides, in a complex way, an obvious impetus for international trading and patterns of thought'. The availability of high-quality, flexible, expandable space within this locational context is seen as the unique asset of the building complex of Bahnhof Ost:
The layout of spaces as well as the design of the rooms facilitate a broad range of uses, from single office and group rooms to cubicle offices within one large room, and conference spaces between the size of a small conference room and the size of an entire learning centre.
(Bahnhof Ost Basel brochure)
However, the target group appears to remain quite generic. Indeed, any use ranging from education to research, health care, insurance, financing, accounting, law, high-tech, marketing, administration and 'headquarters of international firms and organizations' is seen as possible.
Table 8.2 Basel EuroVille: main structural data
Area ownership Total floor space Offices
Mixed: housing + (work)shops + offices
Mostly Swiss railways About 300 000 m2 198 000 m2 80 000 m2
About 1600 places planned
SFr 650 million (projects under construction or in preparation in 1994; 22% is public investment)
Indicative prices are SFr 300/m2/year; prices in comparable peripheral office locations are SFr 180-200/m2/year. A particular characteristic of the building is the strong integration of art and architecture, with the involvement of artists of international renown (such as Donald Judd, Vito Acconci, and Maria Nordman). Environmental aspects have also enjoyed special attention (natural lighting, climate control devices, and energysaving measures, for example). Exceptional provisions have been adopted to protect the offices from noise and vibrations (such as separate foundations and sound screens). According to the developers, all these extra efforts are justified by the need to improve upon the image of the railway station, which they see as 'the main problem of this location'.
The main structural data of the EuroVille development are presented in Table 8.2.
EuroVille is an initiative with distinct approaches to the node and place dimensions of the station area. There are two objectives: the creation of a transport interchange, and the creation of a service centre. The first objective is being pursued through a package of infrastructure investment, and the second through a collection of autonomous subprojects. The particularly high internal articulation of the plan is both its specific strength and its weakness. Single projects, tasks and responsibilities are defined more clearly than elsewhere, but an overarching, integrated vision of the node-place and of its role in the agglomeration is largely missing. In more detail, four observations can be made.
A first observation is that the initiative has a solid foundation in an overall improvement of the transport node. Rail services calling at Basel HBF will be improved within the framework of Bahn 2000, the extensive, country-wide investment programme of the Swiss railways. The station is peripheral in the national railway system, but is an international node of growing importance: ICE services to and from Germany (and in the future the Netherlands) already stop in the station, while TGV connections to and from France are planned. The development of an RER/S-Bahn network including the German and French parts of the agglomeration is also envisaged. The EuroVille initiative has capitalized on these programmes, and has amplified
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