Emscher Landschaftspark, Germany

Characteristics of large scale urban design

The Emscher Landshaftspark (Landscape Park) was originally conceived as a part of a 10year regeneration programme led by the International Building Exhibition Emscher Park (IBA). The programme addressed the decline of the Ruhr Region in North-Rhine Westphalia, the industrial heartland of north west Germany, stretching across 20 local authorities and including several major urban centres.

The area was characterised by social deprivation, huge outward migration and economic problems caused by the closure of most of the mines and steel factories. Its environment was extremely poor because of decades of heavy industrial pollution.

The regeneration programme’s coordination group made a bold decision to focus on a handful of strategic themes to reverse the decline and change the internal and external perceptions of the area. As well as social initiatives

  • education, training and new types of jobs – they included the following:
  • ‘Industrial monuments’: retention and creative reuse of key industrial heritage
  • ‘The new Emscher’: regeneration of the river system
  • ‘Working in the park’: provision of new types of employment spaces
  • ‘Living in the park’: provision of new types of housing.

The most ambitious idea was to unite all the themes under the umbrella of a regional park. This entailed tremendous efforts to improve the environmental quality of the existing green areas and to clean up and integrate former contaminated industrial sites into a green network. Naming the regional park after the river Emscher, which was for decades the main industrial drain of the area and its most polluted element, was a clear sign of the project’s ambition and the project leadership’s confidence and resolve.

The team carried out a huge amount of consultation with local authorities in the area to overcome an initial lack of interest in addressing the decline through coordinated delivery of local projects within the agreed strategic themes. Through a process of developing the joint strategy this view gradually changed as people realised that they had to work together to attract investment and people to live and work in the area.

The result of the team’s design work with local partners was a non-statutory, flexible spatial strategy to guide the work at local level. Each local authority eventually took on and translated the strategic directions into local policies and projects.

After the conclusion of the initial regeneration programme led by IBA, further revisions of the strategy and the coordination of projects were led by Projekt Ruhr GmbH and Regionalverband Ruhr (RVR). There have been over 400 projects delivered across the sub-region since 1989.

Read more about the Emscher Landshaftspark.

Masterplan for Emscher Landschaftspark 2010.

Masterplan for Emscher Landschaftspark 2010.
© Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany
 

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region.

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region.
© Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany
 

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region.

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region.
© Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany
 

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region.

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region.
© Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany
 

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region.

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region.
© Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany
 

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region.

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region.
© Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany