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  • The Fate of a Housing Estate No. 2

    Careful Reflections in the 21st Century
    Neu Olvenstedt Housing Estate, Magdeburg, Germany 1980–1989

    Text: Melinda Benkő

    Magdeburg, Neu Olvenstedt városfejlesztési terve

    Magdeburg, Neu Olvenstedt

    Neu („New”) Olvenstedt housing estate was built on the north-western outskirts of Magdeburg in the late 1980s as an experimental project which broke away from the Modernist development typical of prefab housing estates: its East German and Soviet designers ambitioned to apply the principles of post-Modernist urban planning which was born right then. Six various housing companies and associations came to possess the housing estate after the reunion of Germany in 1990. Focussed on technical issues (such as insulations, the upgrading of the heating system, etc.), the first stage of rehabilitation had been completed in the 1990s, and the project itself was awarded the German prize for urban development in 1997. Its physical environment, the buildings and their areas left undeveloped underwent high-standard facelifts, whilst social problems grew more and more serious. In 2007 a new design procedure was launched in Neu Olvenstedt including new participative workshops. Designers then involved the owners – housing companies and societies –, the operators, dwellers (tenants), non-professionals and managers of local institutions. This scheme basically restructures the area concerned and subdivides the former housing estate into units of the existing city fabric based on ownership and present-day faculties. Finally, comprehensive modernizations also started to create high-standard a modern housing and residential environment.