Sustainable urban landscape in the Ruhr metropolitan Region


urban landscape in the Ruhr metropolitan region

The Ruhr metropolitan region today has been shaped by
structural change following the decline of the mining and heavy industry that
were long symbolic of the area. This transition has brought about new
infrastructure challenges (logistics, transport, water and energy management)
and demands new strategies but at the same time offers new opportunities for
sustainable development of the region. The joint project KuLaRuhr aims to
ensure sustainable resource management of land, water and energy and in this
way improves the attractiveness and quality of life in this urban region.

The project brings together three major fields of
research, energy and water management and land use, and is divided into three
overlapping clusters: Sections of these clusters will be dealt with by
individual project partners according to their respective expertise and

Cluster I combines large-scale urban and landscape
planning with a focus on optimising the energy efficiency of existing and new
residential and industrial buildings, while Cluster II looks at the technical,
organisational, ecological and legal aspects of sustainable management of water
and energy resources in case studies. Cluster III evaluates the technical,
ecological, economic, legal and sociological aspects of the project as a whole.

The four sub-projects within Cluster I are primarily
concerned with development of the ‘Emscher Landschaftspark’ (ELP), whose green
spaces represent the most important green infrastructure in the Ruhr area.
Here, for example, new perspectives for economically sustainable integration of
two representative forms of large-scale land use, agriculture and forestry, in
the urban cultural landscape of the Ruhr metropolitan area will be developed
and evaluated. At the same time, organisation and management of the ELP will be
supported by improving communication between participating public and private
stakeholders. By developing a regional biomass strategy, management and
maintenance of communal and private green spaces, agriculture, forestry and
waste management can also be dealt with much more efficiently. The overall aim
is to establish economically sustainable structures that will ensure ongoing
maintenance and development of open spaces within the urban cultural landscape.
The possibility of including particularly space-intensive infrastructure
systems such as roads, railways, canals and power networks in that landscape
will also be assessed in the context of maintaining and managing the
surrounding areas. A further goal of Cluster I is to connect the planned energy
efficiency optimisation of existing residential areas with the energy and climate-related
potential of as yet undeveloped areas. New concepts will also be developed to
strengthen the functional and creative link between existing and emerging
industrial areas and the ELP, for example by temporarily using presently
nonmarketable areas for biomass production. By developing and optimising
traffic and infrastructure networks between communities, strengthening existing
and building new, high-quality industrial and commercial centres, this project
contributes directly to the urban development of the 53 cities in the Ruhr
metropolitan area. The research findings will flow directly into ongoing
regional urban planning processes.

The sub-projects within Cluster II focus on case
studies looking at novel methods and approaches in sustainable energy, water
and land use in the Ruhr metropolitan area. The methods applied in these case
studies are functionally and regionally linked to the large-scale sub-projects
of Cluster I and will be evaluated in Cluster III sub-projects. This functional
and regional overlap between the sub-projects permits an interdisciplinary
approach to issues such as developing biomass strategy or optimising the energy
efficiency residential areas on several levels. Making use of microclimates
within urban areas and energy optimisation of buildings are part of an overall
concept for large-scale development of living space and its integration in the
ELP. Greywater heat recovery and the combined use of wastewater and renewable
primary products for energy production are two examples of multiple utilisation
of existing infrastructures and renewable resources. The project also involves
scientific support and evaluation of the re-integration of wastewater
infrastructure in the urban landscape of the Ruhr metropolitan area. Field data
indicating the ecological effects of river and stream restoration will be
collected and analysed to provide valuable information for further restoration of
the Emscher system. Altogether, the sub-projects in Cluster II provide new
technical opportunities, developments and innovations, planning and ecological
guidelines for sustainable development of the urban environment. The research findings
will be directly incorporated in technical implementations and make a creative contribution
to structural change in the region.

Cluster III evaluates land use in the Ruhr
metropolitan area from an economic, ecological, and logistic perspective, with
a special focus on landscape aesthetics. Studies in Cluster III are situated
mainly in the core areas of the project and relate closely to Clusters I and II
to provide a basis for comprehensive assessment and evaluation of technical
alternatives and innovations tested therein. Biodiversity and the ecological
potential of brownfield sites, roadside vegetation parks and areas suitable for
biomass production will be assessed in transect studies, taking into
consideration vegetation, selected animal groups and ecosystem services. Public
opinion on landscape change will be assessed in standardised telephone
interviews; in addition to dealing with general landscape changes, the surveys
will specifically address major projects in the public eye, such as the
transformation of collieries into cultural heritage sites or the ongoing
restoration of the Emscher from a wastewater canal to a natural river system.
The possibilities of using biomass (as an energy source) in an urban setting will
be analysed and evaluated, with particular emphasis on logistics and transport.
Based on the findings of current research, a comprehensive logistics concept
covering the entire process chain, from procurement to disposal logistics, will
be developed. An economic evaluation of individual projects, such as the
potential use of urban brownfield sites or the restoration of wastewater
canals, will include eco-economic and non-monetary methods that also consider
the socioeconomic and ecological effects on quality of life.

  • Title Original : Nachhaltige urbane Kulturlandschaft in der Metropole Ruhr ("KuLaRuhr")
  • Website :
  • Project start : 2010
  • Project end : 2014
  • Contact Person : Prof. Dr. Bernd Sures Universität Duisburg Essen Prof. Dr. Jörg Dettmar Technische Universität Darmstadt
  • Funding Agency : Federal Ministry of Education and Research Germany
  • Project Partners : University Duisburg-Essen (Projektcoordination) Technical University Darmstadt Ruhr University Bochum University Kassel Technical University Braunschweig Regional Cooperation Ruhr Landwirtschaftskammer NRW (Agriculture Administration) Emscher Cooperation/Lippe Cooperation City of Bottrop
  • Project structure : Projektcoordinator:
    Prof. Dr. Bernd Sures  
    Universiät Duisburg-Essen
    Aquatische Ökologie 
    Universitätsstraße 5
    D-45141 Essen

    Prof. Dr. Jörg Dettmar
    Technische Universität Darmstadt
    Fachbereich Architektur
    Entwerfen und Freiraumplanung
    El-Lissitzky-Str. 1
    D-64285 Darmstadt

  • Location : Germany, Essen, lat : 51.455643200000000000 - lng : 7.011555199999975000