Zurich Metropolitan Region
Urbanization and Urbanity in the Zurich Metropolitan Region
Teaching and Research
An integral component of the teaching and research of the Chair of Sociology are analyses and studies on urban development, public spaces, and urbanity in the Zurich metropolitan area. Widely diverging aspects of urbanization in Zurich are regularly discussed and explored in the lectureship’s elective sociology courses, integrated discipline, and master’s theses.
National Research Programme “New Urban Quality“ (NRP 65)
Urban potentials and strategies in metropolitan territories – as explored in the metropolitan area of Zurich
Project Lead: Marc Angélil, Kees Christiaanse, Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani, Christian Schmid, Günther Vogt; Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich
The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) interdisciplinary research project examines contemporary urbanization processes in the Zurich metropolitan region. Taking into consideration historical, design, and sociological aspects, the study aims at establishing a basis, and developing recommendations, for sustainable spatial development and urban design in areas characterized by strong urban growth and transformation.
The following three areas of the metropolitan region have been selected for more detailed examination:
1) Zurich’s Langstrasse and surrounding neighborhoods, a mixed-use inner city area marked by a high density of social interaction and strong gentrification;
2) Zurich North, a formerly suburban area exhibiting a high degree of global interaction due to its close proximity to the airport and its strong attraction for foreign companies;
3) Richterswil – Freienbach, an area along the cantonal border between Zurich and Schwyz, a peri-urban zone that has evolved over the years into an international financial center.
Although these three areas share certain common features, such as a high degree of internationality, they exhibit varying spatial characteristics and widely divergent urban qualities and deficits.
Modul 3: Urban Processes
The SNSF research project module Urban Processes examines the social conditions conducive to generating urban quality. It develops a comparative analysis of the relevant socio-spatial processes in the areas under study, placing emphasis on the participating actors, activities, and urban practices. Today’s greater metropolitan area encompasses very divergent patterns of urbanization and urban constellations, and the study areas exhibit great variance in this respect. In order to build a clear picture of the current situation, the module focuses on two key aspects at two different scales: At the regional scale, it examines the processes of urban governance and its impact on the formation of urban quality. And at the local scale, it investigates urban quality from the perspective of users and residents in their concrete everyday experiences. These findings are then combined to draw an accurate assessment of the urban quality of these widely contrasting urban constellations.