Transforming an Economic Commercial Area into a Sustainable Commercial Area

Developing sufficiency within companies

In December 2015, the City of Frankfurt launched the ‘Sustainable Commercial Area’ project, involving over 400 companies in an area of 15 hectares. This model project received funding from the Federal Ministry of the Interior and aims to transform the commercial area in Fechenheim-Nord/Seckbach into a sustainable location, according to economic, ecological and social criteria. To reach this goal, the area is being radically reorganised and companies are receiving support for their ecological transition.

Locally, the project is led by a site management office, housing the site manager and the city’s climate protection management official, who are the contact points for companies that are embarking on the transition process and seeking to play a role in its implementation.

In order to transform the site, projects are being launched in 6 main areas:

  1. Drastically decreasing CO2 emissions in the tertiary zone;
  2. Creating a site association, comprising local businesses;
  3. Providing fast internet connectivity;
  4. Rehabilitating and creating new infrastructure;
  5. Managing space and developing new constructions;
  6. Defining criteria for reproducibility.

‘Hot Spots’ have been introduced, creating a source of inspiration for sufficiency. For instance, the ‘Demonstration Projects’ hot spot creates strong synergy between stakeholders, as businesses work together to implement tightly related initiatives. An example of these synergies is the renovation of a rooftop, which was combined with setting up solar panels, which in turn power one company’s electric vehicles.

The ‘Mobility Station’ hot spot is a test-drive space for various mobility offers that has been set up at a major crossroads in the area.

The concept of sufficiency also applies to space management, with a limited number of parking spots, the expansion of the bike path network, and efforts to reduce vacant space to a minimum. The project advocates for cyclical use of materials by preserving resources and preventing waste generation.

It is also planning a complete change in mobility usage by supporting bicycle rentals, carpools, setting up charging stations for electric cars and offering alternative goods transportation methods. Environmental and social issues are prioritised with the ongoing greening of the area. Companies are highly incentivised to start producing energy through the ‘green power station’ project.

The project’s governance is shared between the city council and Frankfurt city government for the policy framework, while the project is supported and implemented by the city’s administrative departments and especially the site’s dedicated management office.

This office will play a key role in the successful outcome of the transformation project as it is familiar with local potential and remains in constant dialogue with local businesses.

Discover the dynamics of this project and the actors involved (in German)