11 February 2019

How one German city is swapping steel plants for garden plants

Dortmund (Germany) is regenerating some of its most critical former industrial spaces and understands the value of including local residents in the process. Dagmar Knappe, City of Dortmund, said, “We think involvement of citizens is important as they know best what is needed in their neighbourhood. Moreover, it leads to more acceptance and a better connectivity with their neighbourhood.”

Former unused and unrenovated industrial buildings are planned to be the new location for an artificial lake as well as living and working sites. The new ‘Emscher Nordwärts‘ green corridor will retain water, control flooding and offer the people of Dortmund some attractive green riverbanks to visit in their free time. Part of the Hansa coking plant will be converted to office space and an event hall, the complex will be developed as an open space and park, and it will be connected to the Deusenberg hill via a footbridge.

With these changes ahead, it is important to ensure that the design of the new urban space is tailored to the people who will spend their time there in the future. To this end, the city of Dortmund is a partner in the project, proGIreg: Nature for Renewal, which is planning and testing nature-based solutions in Dortmund, Zagreb (Croatia) and Turin (Italy) in a process of co-creation including citizens, scientists and private companies.

On 7 December, the development of Dortmund’s so-called ‘Urban Living Lab’ was kick-started at a local workshop with the city government, a local NGO, the Foundation for Industrial Heritage, local associations, and a local artist.

Bettina Wilk, ICLEI Europe said, “At the December workshop for the first time, all stakeholders and project partners gathered around one table, thereby kick-starting a closer collaboration between the different NBS leads and aligning perspectives. Connecting Huckarde with Dortmund in its widest sense and embedding Huckarde's industrial heritage in a future-oriented identity that is based on green infrastructure, innovation and participation is the ambition that Dortmund is now well set to embrace.”

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