ETH Zurich – Institute for Urban Design
HIL H44.1 – Stefano-Franscini-Platz 5 – 8093 Zurich



Urban Potentials and Strategies in Metropolitan Territories

Swiss National Research Project 65: New Urban Qualities SNF - NFP 65


Publication: Kretz, S.; Kueng, L. (2016, Hg.): Urbane Qualitäten. Ein Handbuch am Beispiel der Metropolitanregion Zürich. Edition Hochparterre, Zürich. link to publication


This project puts forth an interest in the development of contemporary cities from the combined standpoint of methodology and content. In order to better understand contemporary city regions as well as to recognize and evaluate current urban phenomena, a set of tools will be developed that both facilitates the exploration, detection and evaluation of urban qualities as well as enables comparisons to be drawn between diverse types of urbanity. Phenomena and developments particular to the metropolitan region of Zurich at present will provide the basis for putting urban quality up for discussion. The criteria necessary for detecting and evaluating urban quality will be generated in case studies on selected areas of region from the varying thematic angles of URBAN SPACE, URBAN PROCESSES and URBAN RESOURCES. The project will pursue the following three parallel courses of action:


 1. A methodological framework for exploring urban quality will be established. URBAN PROFILES will be constructed from a catalogue of hard and soft urbanization factors, thereby furnishing a set of instruments that enables urban qualities and potentials to be represented and evaluated in their contexts and from an interdisciplinary perspective. The Urban Profile will serve as a link between analysis and design that joins analytical, technical and functional aspects with cultural and aesthetic criteria.


2. PROBES on current and compelling urban phenomena exhibited in three segments of the metropolitan area of Zurich will be performed by three separate research teams assigned to one of the following thematic modules: Urban Space, Urban Processes and Urban Resources. The Probes will enable the Urban Profile instruments to be both calibrated in practical case studies as well as tested at various scales in analysis and design. The coordination of the three thematic modules as well as the integration of the diverse research findings will be carried out via an interdisciplinary URBAN DESIGN PLATFORM.


3. Recommendations for practical application will be derived from the content findings and assembled instruments. Strategic Instruments are to be developed that facilitate the detection, activation and further development of urban potentials. In turn, strategies and measures for inducing urban transformations and regeneration processes will be derived. Implementation activities will run in parallel with the course of research, and in regular exchange with selected project partners as well as relevant actors from the political, private and civil sectors.


This transdisciplinary project is a joint work authored by the following Chairs within ETH Zürich: Chair of Architecture and Urban Design (Prof. Dr. Marc Angélil), Chair of Architecture and Urban Design (Prof. Kees Christiaanse), Chair for the History of Urban Design (Prof. Dr. Ing. Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani), Chair of Sociology (Prof. Dr. Christian Schmid), Chair of Landscape Architecture (Prof. Günther Vogt)


link to publication


Contact Simon Kretz