Last Thursday, May 19, an event was held to signify the official closure of the Luxembourg in Transition consultation, a unique process which invited teams of experts in urbanism and a wide range of related fields to offer visions for the carbon-free future of the entire greater region of Luxembourg. To mark the end of the consultation process, MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas presented the team’s final report at an event in Esch-sur-Alzette, and took part in a roundtable discussion along with representatives of the three other finalist teams. In addition, the day was dedicated to the first of a number of “Luxembourg in Transition Days” aimed at raising public awareness about the consultation results and, more broadly, about the need to take action towards a carbon-free future.
MVRDV, leading a team that included Drift for Transition, H+N+S, Goudappel Coffeng, Transsolar Inc., Deltares, and ITC as part of the University of Twente, was one of the four finalist teams with their proposal “Beyond Lux(e), Towards Ecotopia”. The proposal looked at Luxembourg through the lens of six highly interconnected areas that contribute to carbon emissions and, just as importantly, the links between them: food, energy, water, mobility, urban spaces, and forests.
These were assessed using the Ecotopia Monitor, a specially developed tool that converts carbon footprints and a variety of other inputs such as food production and urban density to output a single number in the form of a land area metric. For example, the analysis of Luxembourg’s current situation found that under a “business as usual” approach, Luxembourg would need a land area 13.8 times its current size to be carbon-neutral by 2050.
The proposal looked not only at ways to reduce the carbon emissions of these six key themes, but also ways that different land uses could overlap to dramatically reduce the land area necessary to support the needs of the country. Used long-term, the Ecotopia Monitor would allow its users to collaborate across different scales, themes, institutions, political parties, and regions.
The team was then able to propose four key measures that can be applied region-wide, as well as developing case studies for two specific urban areas: Steinfort, a town that is part of the urban axis between Luxembourg City and the Belgian city of Arlon, and Esch-sur-Sûre, which borders the country’s largest reservoir in the north-west of Luxembourg. These case studies offered a suggestion of both short-term, high-impact changes that can be implemented in the coming years, as well as a long-term vision for how each case could manifest as an “Ecotopia” that fully adopts the radical changes necessary in a zero-carbon society.
With the conclusion of the consultation process, the report by the MVRDV-led team – alongside those of the other three finalist teams – will be taken forward as advisory documents for the government of Luxembourg.
Learn more about MVRDV's proposal "Beyond Lux(e), Towards Ecotopia" here.