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Yesterday on KUOW’s Weekday program, Thomas Sieverts and host, Steve Scher,

Northland Shopping Center – overgrown parking lot and neon sign. Photo by Lost Tulsa.

Northland Shopping Center – overgrown parking lot and neon sign. Photo by Lost Tulsa.

 talked about the Zwischenstadt, or intermediate city/sprawl/in-between places that exist in communities. They’re a mix or the city and country, the natural and man–made. And they are a growing trend in many places. 

“[As an architect,] I was taught to make a place functional. In the future, we must learn simply to build a place. A place as open to different functions as possible–a place whose use can change while maintaining its architectural qualities. Experience shows us that the beautiful building is the longest lasting, not the most functional.”

 –Thomas Sieverts

Zwischenstadt means sprawl: the patchwork proximity of unconnected and highly disparate elements which vary in function, scale and use. It describes the hotch-potch on the margins of the metropolitan landscape – shopping centres alongside family homes next to a motorway, for example – but it also denotes a more general structure which is “undermining” the historical norms of city life. In historical terms, the Zwischenstadt is a newcomer, an interim stage in the transition to an uncertain future.

To learn more, listen to the KUOW.org podcast:

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