MVRDV has been selected as one of six finalists for the Luxembourg in Transition competition. Accepting the task to create a strategic plan for the entire functional region, including Luxembourg and parts of Belgium, Germany, and France, the proposal takes into account factors ranging from policy and land use to infrastructure and urban design. The proposal presents the groundwork necessary to facilitate Luxembourg’s transition toward a zero-carbon society by 2050 and beyond, enabling wide-scale and inspiring societal and ecological resilience.
Spanning five geographic regions and bordered by four different countries, the Greater Region of Luxembourg is resource-rich and highly productive. Due to mounting complexities highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Luxembourg faces clear challenges including reliance on imports of food and workers, an aging population, heavy commuting by car, a sub-optimal public mobility network, and an unsustainable agricultural industry that is required to support a lifestyle dependent on animal-based food products. The Luxembourg in Transition competition sought to address these and other issues with a comprehensive and holistic resilience plan for the whole region.
Because such society-wide challenges are highly interconnected, MVRDV’s proposal “Beyond Lux(e), Towards Ecotopia” (created in collaboration with partners Drift for Transition, H+N+S, Goudappel Coffeng, Transsolar Inc., Deltares, University of Twente, and ITC Faculty) addresses five key themes and, just as importantly, the links between them: food, energy, water, mobility, and waste. The plan aims to address each theme in a nine-step process that starts with identifying targets and ultimately concludes with concrete proposals to tackle each challenge.
Within the process are stages to identify overlaps between themes and iterate upon each recommendation based on the impact of other recommendations. How, for example, would a proposal targeting the country’s energy use affect its position with regard to food production? How would that change a proposal targeting food production, and how would that change in turn affect the position regarding water use – and so on? These complex iterative processes help to define an overall plan that is fully interconnected and balances the outcome of each theme to create resilience.
A clear and simple example of this principle in action can be seen in a case study focused on food security and climate change resilience. One goal of the proposal is to decrease monoculture and increase forest cover to combat climate change. Another is to reduce Luxembourg’s reliance on food imports. To ensure that the requirement for agricultural land does not conflict with the reforestation goals, the team proposed to use digital tools to identify the sites with adequate conditions for reforestation, while reserving prime areas for polyculture farming – thus adapting the reforestation proposal in response to the outcome of the food security study.
Beyond Lux(e), Towards Ecotopia lays out a clear, actionable plan with measurable outcomes, as well as an inspiring vision for a resilient Luxembourg 2050. Creating synergies between services and systems that complement each other, and generating balance across its regions, the proposal shows that the Luxembourg Greater Region has the stamina and ambition to take on these challenges and catalyse wide-scale transition to inspire other countries to do the same.
See more of Beyond Lux(e), Towards Ecotopia here.