Everyone should have an opinion of the new Bärenplatz
Buchs Municipal Council launches a process of participation: how do residents imagine their village square?
In 2017, in a referendum vote, Buchs residents refused to sell a large portion of Bärenplatz – the wasteland in front of the community hall – to an investor. He wanted to create a multi-storey main building in the south of the area, along the street. However, resistance against this formed.
However: after the apparent refusal, the only thing that was clear was what the bookers didn’t want. Opinions differ on what to do with the box instead.
But now something is going on. The council learned from the mistake of surprising voters with a project. This time betting to participate. 30,000 francs were allocated to the complex operation, accompanied by Joel Zimmerli (Zimraum Corporation). Participation is open to all guests who wish to develop ideas for sustainable use and design of the space in the future. “We must have a solution that can accommodate the majority,” Amann Urs Afolter asserts. “Because there is a large majority of consensus that the square should not remain as it is today. The local council hopes that the residents will actively participate – we are really open to many new ideas.”
The fully paved location is not up for discussion
The first of several workshops will take place on Saturday 4th September (10am-2pm). “Exemplary application and materials available for each team,” a statement from the municipality said. Teams (you can form your own team or you can just find each other in the first workshop) have until October 15 to work and present their ideas. In a second workshop on November 6th, they can present the idea to the audience.
However, workshop participants do not have complete freedom. There are general conditions set by society. An example of a legal nature: the municipality indicated whether it was possible, for example, to construct a wide staircase leading to Suhre, as has already been requested on various occasions. “Because of the area of water that has to be kept clear of buildings, this is not possible,” Afolter says. A natural approach would be possible without geometric structures. Another requirement of the municipality is the greening of the square – in the sense of climate-adapted urban development, a completely paved square is not up for discussion. Then there is the question of how much a redesign might cost on the one hand, and subsequent maintenance on the other. The council does not want to commit itself to any number. “It has to be proportional,” Afolter says. If you can also generate income through a space, the community portfolio of design is more flexible than a space that cannot be rented. (No)
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