Helga Fassbinder is an urban planner, political scientist, writer, professor emeritus of the University of Technology Eindhoven, The Netherlands, former chairperson of the TUE Institute of Urban Renewal and Urban Management, professor emeritus of the University of Technology Hamburg-Harburg, Germany, former Head of the TUHH Institute of Urban Planning and Development. Since 2006 she is member and vice chairperson of the Technische Advies Commissie Hoofdgroenstructuur (a committee for the protection of green zones) of the City of Amsterdam.
Fassbinder initiated new ideas in urban planning long before the mainstream. At the end of the 60’s, while still a student, she organized the fight against the demolition of Kreuzberg in Berlin and mobilized students in the Department of Architecture at the Techn.University applying her new concept of a soft urban renewal approach working together with the residents. Her publications about urban renewal led to her appointment to the first academic chair on urban renewal in Europe at the University of Technology in Eindhoven. There she worked together with students supporting actions groups in their negotiations in the fight against the demolition of their neighbourhoods.
After the fall of the Berlin wall, being invited to present ideas for the further development of Berlin, she suggested a broad public forum with representatives of the various social layers of the city, initiated and organized together with Senator Volker Hassemer the Stadtforum Berlin. Fassbinder was a member of the board of the Stadtforum from 1990-1996.
A decade ago, long before the broader recognition of the value of green roofs and green facades for the living conditions of the cities, she developed the concept of ‘Biotope City – the City as Nature’ and organized an international congress on this issue at the TUE in 2002. In 2004 she started the Foundation Biotope City, which has been editing BIOTOPE CITY JOURNAL since 2006. The Foundation stimulates greening and integration of nature in the City and supports initiatives and projects.
At present she is, among other things, engaged in the project of a neigborhood ‘Biotope City’ on the former industrial estate of CocaCola in Vienna, together with the Austrian architects Harry Glück, Rüdiger Lainer a.o., offering housing for about 4.000 residents.
Fassbinder has been a guest professor lecturing in many places throughout Europe. She continues to guest lecture. She is the author of various books and articles on planning strategies, housing architecture, urban renewal, planning participation and the city as nature.
She lives in Amsterdam and Vienna.