The inner cities have been built - but more and more houses in them are standing empty. Many of them shape the familiar face of the city or are even buildings. Demolition and new construction cannot be the solution to accommodate new functions beyond retail. Often, old buildings provide the atmosphere in which new things can take hold.
For years, stores in city centers have been fighting for their existence. This trend has been accelerated by the lockdown phases during the pandemic. The consequences were and are closures of everything from large department stores to small privately run specialty retailers. Vacancies are spreading into first floor zones and eventually whole streets are threatened with neglect regardless of the character or even the heritage value of the buildings.
For too long, the equation downtown equals stationary retail and the B-plans with use restrictions have been aligned with this. Now there is a growing realization that the monotony of the same retail zones is proving resistant to the crisis. New ideas and new concepts for mixed uses and more quality of stay in the city centers are being discussed. What role can the architectural heritage play in this context as a carrier of identification, so that inner cities once again become a meeting place for people? If the inner cities are to retain their face, the existing must be used in a new way.