After the political
changes of the 90?s in Central Europe, all the expanded industrial areas with
their belongings like public utilities, transport areas lost their original
functions. Nowadays these areas have a specific place in the development of the
green systems of our overcrowded cities.

One of the biggest problems during
the development of such areas is, that most of the time one professional aspect
dominates the others. These areas have to be analysed from various points of
views and the plans have to be complex.

The perfect example
for such a former industrial area is the Millenáris in Budapest, Hungary. The
park is situated in a frequented place of the western part of the city (Buda
side) next to the main boulevard of the downtown and one of the biggest
shopping malls of Buda near to a big traffic node.

The park is prominent among other
green areas of Budapest from three aspects. It is prominent because of the
position in the open-space system of Budapest, because of the park is a
transformed brownfield and because of the park?s influence on the property

In open-space aspect it is important
that the park is placed next to solid row of buildings, it satisfies the
citizens recreational needs and become a part of the city?s green system. In
brownfield aspect the park was one of the first designed parks on a brownfield
area, which shows that this is a great opportunity to increase the green areas
of the city. In property aspect we can analyse how the property value was
changed in the course of the design of the park. During
our research we analyse those methods and development toolkits, whereby the
urban rehabilitation and the green system development can be achieved in the
most optimal way.

  • Website : http://
  • Project start : 0201
  • Project end : 0201
  • Contact Person : Anita Szöbölödi
  • Funding Agency : TÁMOP 4.2.1./B-09/01/KMR/2010-0005 project
  • Project Partners : Dóra Hutter, Anita Szöbölödi, Dániel Takács
  • Project structure :

    The historical evolution of open spaces started in the ancient times. Many researches and descriptions give evidence of the public open spaces (e.g. greek holy gardens and agoras, the forum in Rome) used knowingly by the ancient cultures - such the Egyptian, the Mesopotamian, then the Greek and Roman - in their settlements. The significance of open spaces, as well as their importance in the settlements' evolution has been changing continually during the development of civilization. The assessment of their importance depended on the social rules of the era and also on the needs of the residents. In the course of the modern endeavors of urban architecture, enhancing parts of the cities by open space developments became known by the Urban Regeneration Program of Barcelona in the early 1980. The leaders of the capital of Spain (location of the Olympic Games in 1992) initiated the complex renewal of the city in the early 1980, to put an end to the suburban processes and reduce the huge expansion of the capital. (Lluís Doménech 2006, 6-7.) This Urban Renewal Model of Barcelona is a perfect example of all big cities regarding to both open space developments and complex urban renewals unto this day. It demonstrates the opportunities inherent the collaboration between the city leaders and developers/investors very well by its successfulness. Nowadays most of our big cities are not completely appropriate living places for the population. They are crowded, polluted, noisy, full of built-up areas etc. To make our cities liveable it is necessary to keep and create more well-designed open spaces, like parks, squares, parkways, gardens. During urban planning not only the structure, the design, the maintenance of built-up areas are important, but the urban open-space system and its design is an essential part of it as well. The open spaces are part of the urban landscape and these are the places, where citizens spend most of their free time, they have recreational, ecological, aesthetic and economical values as well. Unfortunately, big cities are lack of open spaces and there are only a few possibilities to create new ones. The reason is very simple. A new building makes a higher benefit for the investor than a new park. If an investor has a new building constructed, he should follow the regulation of the Regulation Plan regarding the minimum size of the open space, but usually these open spaces only meet the minimum size requirement. That is why we have to look for further potential areas that can be transformed into open spaces. These potential areas are mostly the brownfields. These areas have a lot of good attributes. They have appropriate sizes for being a valuable open space. Due to the growth of big cities, most of these brownfields, which was originally factory and railway areas on the edge of the cities, have become part of the downtown. In Budapest, the capital of Hungary, the same process can be observed.


     It was first introduced in the United States where ?the definition of brownfield category? has been used since 1980. At the beginning it described the derelict industrial areas with environmental pollution. As the desindustrial processes was getting extended in other countries as well, the terminology gained further meanings. In 2002 the CLARINET (Contaminated Land Rehabilitation Network) was founded by European Union. They are using the following definition: "Brownfield sites are sites that have been affected by the former uses of the site and surrounding land, are derelict or underused, may have real or perceived contamination problems, are mainly in developed urban areas and require intervention to bring them back to beneficial use." (Ferber and Grimski 2002, 9.) Nowadays in Hungary it is defined with similar attributes, but there are furthermore problems: Firstly the ownership is uncleared and separated. Secondly the legal system is unregulated. Additionally the brownfields of the capital is occupying valuable areas and blocking urban structure linkages (between the centre and the outside districts). 13% of Budapest's total area (circa 68 km2) belong to the brownfield zone (Beluszky, Gy?ri 2007, 71-74). We have to deal with this complex problem because of the huge areas! We are talking about polluted areas because of the industrial work. The environmental pollution is located in general on these areas (mostly the soil pollution), but usually we do not know how much is it. The factory halls, depots, service areas and the others collectively are huge biological inactive surfaces. Their green surface-rate is minimal, the surface temperature is extremely high and the water can not wasting. These factors are intensifying the fenomenom of the urban heat island. The liability of environmental regeneration is expensive and takes a long time, therefore it disadvances the renewal projects. Furthermore problems are the uncleared and separated ownership and the unregulated legal system. All of them discourage the investors, therefore they choose the greenfield investment preferably, that is not good to strengthen the urban green network. Another crucial problem is the decreasing economical value of these areas. Not only causing a visual conflict, the lack of public safety in the raunchy areas, contribute to the low economical value of the surrounding properties. In many cases particularly valuable parts of the city are left abandoned or deserted as the old industrial, military or transport settlements built originally in the suburban areas have become surrounded by the developing urban region. The mosaic functionality generates further difficulties. It is a common phenomenon that some facilities or industries have less commerce or traffic by these days and parts of their property is left unused. A property on the other hand located inside of the industrial zone is hardly marketable in the real estate business. The brownfield zone is mainly in the transition zone of Budapest (Budapest F?város Településszerkezeti Terve 2005, 22.). The large enclosure brownfields are cutting off important urban structure linkages between the centre and the outside districts. Usually they have not got public road, so these are blocks in the urban transport, public open space and green system. We can conclude, opening and renewing the brownfields is a current and complicated problem, also a social, ecological, economical and urban development question. Eventhough a brownfield rehabilitation project is not a common green-oriented investment it is still important from the landscape architecture's point of view. Such rehabilitation involves the built-up areas and the open spaces as well not only the architectural construction. Anyway it is favouring as urban-ecologically also it has positive influence to the urban green network. These areas are important green surface development potential because of large expansion and good status in the city. The rehabilitations create the linkages between the green elements and the radial- ringled green system can be made. The unnecessary railway stations and rails could improve the linear linkages and the through ventilation of the city, in place the industrial and military zones could be small and large public parks, institution parks and conditionally green surface.


     Budapest is the largest city of Hungary. It has a great history which has always affected the city-structure.The city has been growing from the beginning till nowadays. It has approximately 1.8 million inhabitants on 525 square kilometres. Today almost 60% of the industry is concentrated around the city (Magyarország számokban 2009). In the past this city was the centre of several industries as well, like building industry and mechanical engineering. Around the city quarries, brickyards, gas factory, dockyards, machine works, screw factories has been laid out. These factories needed transport supply, which was provided by railway tracks and water transport. Till today most of these factories were ceased and relayed by mainly logistic centres. Hereby a great size of area has become free and as it was mentioned before, because of the growth of the city, most of these free spaces now located in the inner city. In recent times in Budapest several brownfields became in a very good position in the city-structure, so they got high potential values. By taking advantage of these opportunities some brownfields were transformed into shopping malls, logistic centres, office buildings, cultural centres with proper size open-spaces. A very good example of these is the Millenáris. Img 1-2. This park became an important open-space in the city structure. It has a great history because of the factory what was laid there, and it has a great economical value. We investigate the park in three aspects in details. These are the ecological values, the effect of the brownfields and the economical values.

    Millenáris / History

    The iron foundry was founded in 1844 by Ábrahám Ganz iron manufacturer, machine and technical engineer. It became a famous international company known as Ganz & Co. Electrical Factory. Among the talented inventors working for Ganz& Co. András Mechwart, Miksa Dér and Kálmán Kandó are worth mentioning. The factory was specialized in mechanical products for instance: transformer, electronic meter and engine. After the II. World War the building was destroyed partly. Although in 1948 it was rebuilt, the production was still decreasing, and soon the crisis started.Img 3-4. Since the urban area was appreciated and the citizens were against the high pollution, the factory moved to the countryside and soon the brownfield rehabilitation project started.

    Millenáris / Introduction 

    Millenáris is located on the Buda side, in District II., which is part of the Downtown. The park has very good linkages. It is close to one of the biggest traffic hub of Buda, called Moszkva square, where subway, several buses and trams can be taken as well. From this square by bus or by walk visitors can reach one of the main sights of Budapest, the Castle Hill. Adjacent to the park two joint shopping malls can be found, called Mammut I. and Mammut II. These were built in 1998 and 2001, and they serve the district?s inhabitants needs by several shops, restaurants, cinema, market and pleasure-grounds. Millenáris is perfectly fit to the city?s green system. Now the system looks like, that is mosaic patterned, the elements are not well connected, so there are a lot of gaps between them. But basically the layout of the city?s green system is radial and concentric. On the border of the city we can find a ring of green areas. These areas mostly touristic forest areas, shelter-belts and agricultural areas, which are connected to the agglomeration area.  Another ring can be found in the Downtown, around the city centre. This was the city?s border in the past. In this inner ring we can find the biggest parks and green areas of the city, like the City Park, People?s Groove, Kopaszi-peninsula, Bikás Park, Sas-hill, Vérmez?, Városmajor and Margaret-island. Millenáris is a new element of this green system that fits in this inner circle of green spaces. The park became an important linkage between the existing green spaces, and it increases further the amount of biologically active surfaces of the district and the city. The rehabilitation of the Ganz industrial area is a notable urban development project. Millenaris was a state investment, and it is self-supported by the incomes derived from the rents and from the programs. In the buildings there are a gallery, a salon, a teatrum, huge exhibition rooms which offer different programs all year.

    Millenáris / Open Space Developments 

    Beside the local governments (where appropriate the state), the private sector has also important role in open space developments. The role of the private investors has been growing significantly of late decades because of the rapid development of economy and the spread of profit-oriented lifestyle. Therefore the open space developments, which were exclusively initiated by the city's government, level at public areas. These open spaces - created in the settlements - can be rated in different categories based on the self-dependent and mutual initiations of these organizations. The first category includes the developments which were initiated by the local government (where appropriate the state) and created from public fund. There are two different groups in this category regarding the complexity of urban developments. The Simplex group consists such open space developments, which were exclusively initiated by a local government. The Complex group includes investments, wherein the open space and property (mostly buildings in this case) developments appeared collectively to enhance each other. The Millenáris in Budapest is a perfect example of a complex urban development. The area is a huge plot, which consists of several smaller plots and public roads. The green areas which are connecting directly to the buildings are public areas, but they are being maintained by the renters of these building(s). Therefore the whole area can be used as a huge park, which is framed by giant hall-buildings. Large quantum of polluted soil had to be replaced, that's why the under-garage was constructed below the water surface. The water surface was determined about 110 % of green surface by the District's Regulation Plan, therefore the vast pool in the middle of the park was created. Huge number of the old buildings and edifices are conserved and totally renewed. These are for rent, so there are a lot of programs in the park all year. The area is about 33000 m2, a playground, an open stage and huge leisure grassy areas are also placed on this park. The Millenáris is an important sample-area to examine the effect on the property values. Before the renewing process the environment was badly polluted by noise and powder, but today this part of the city has a green space with good feasibility and high recreational rate. The effect of this change can be demonstrated in the real estate values nearby. The environment of the park is being improved continuously, which process can be observed in the property and public space developments (e.g. streets and squares) next to this green area. The Löv?ház streetnext to the park is good example to demonstrate this process. The construction works of the street has been finished in 27. August 2010., so today the residents have a pleasant pedestrian street, too. The second category includes those investments which were initiated exclusively by a private investor, in the hope of returning the investment's price. These developments could be rated - like the categories aforementioned - in two groups. The first, Simplex group contains the developments which were exclusively initiated by a private investor to create new open space(s). These areas are just semi-public spaces, because they can be resorted for a predetermined fee. The private playing-fields and their strangulated environment could be rated here. These areas have significant urban ecological (depended on their green coverage) and high recreational (depending on their functionality) effects. The Complex group includes the developments, wherein the building-investments (residential or office) have the same role beside the open space developments. The open spaces created in this way can be public, semi-public or private areas. The third category contains the area/city developments which were created by the cooperation between the investors and local governments and based on the common compromise of them. These developments - like the two categories aforementioned - could be rated in two groups. The Simplex group includes the investments in which there are/were only open space developments, but they are/were attained through the common agreement between these two organizations. Such cases typically occur when the leaders of the settlement allow the investor to accomplish his plans if he improves the areas (in most cases public spaces, streets, squares, parks) on specified level which are allotted by the local government before. The Complex group includes those developments, in which the open space and building developments are/were present equally. The open space developments could be public space (streets, squares, parks), semi-public space, or private space improvements. In the first case the benefits of the created public space influences not only the city (as a complex, living system), but the residents which are vitalizing this system as well. A semi-public area may has the same ecological effect too, but its functionality (because it can be used by a determined community) substantially below than the public one.

    Evaluation and Proposal System 

     In Hungary no analyzing research, nor evaluation relating to the value-influencing effects of open spaces have been made so far, the lack of which, in the case of such a big city as Budapest, had unequivocally determined the development of certain urban areas. Certain areas of the capital emerged in this way which are poorly provided with green areas. For this the open spaces having more part in the Sustainable City Development Processes because of the expansion of the city and also of the growing of the residents? number. The research method to demonstrate this hasn't been emerged so far. An Evaluation and Proposer System, which can handle the interests of designers, governments, investors and the residents simultaneously and through the analysis on them it can propose regulations and optimal recommendations in reference to the developments could be a good solution to this problem. By using this proposal system, the process of urban development could serve the interests of the community (residents and professional constitutions) as well as serve the principles of sustainable development and contribute to the creation of more pleasant settlements. The Proposal System connected to property and open space developments consists of the following three sections: Local Government Module : Optimal offers can be drawn by this model in reference to the data regarding the level to which the built-up area is to be regulated as well as to the limitations, interdictions and liabilities of that area. Developer/Investor Module: Optimal offers are drawn by this model in reference to the built-up data of the developable area, to the referenced type of the created green space and to the location and exposure of the new properties (flats, offices). Public Space Developmental Contribution Module: After the calculation (built on the percent rate of allowances) the system classifies the environmental development regarding the given area (allotted by the local government to be improved) into a category, along with the type and the rate of the reconstruction. Conclusion The research of this park verifies that brownfield areas are extremely important part of the cities. A good renewal of these areas can stop the harmful environment effects. They provide the linkages between other open spaces in such big cities like Budapest, and can valorize the environment, therefore can enhance the property values nearby. To integrate the issues of these researches into urban development practice could be conducive to abating negative processes deriving from city developments and to realize the goals of sustainable development -- thus creating more pleasant and more environmentally-friendly cities.


    Budapest F?város Településszerkezeti Terve (2005): ?The transitional zone is the heterogeneous zone which is around the historic urban district. There are mixed functioned areas, primarily industrial, storage, transport and public utilities areas.", 22. 

    CLARINET, Ferber and Grimski (2002), 9. Lluís Doménech (2006), Barcelona: A Quarter of a Century of Town Planning, Aula Barcelona, 6-7. 

    Magyarország számokban 2009, editor: Eszter Német, (Budapest, Központi Statisztikai Hivatal, 2010) 

     Pál Beluszky, Róbert Gy?ri: A budapesti barnaövezet határai. Press in: Gy. Barta (director): A budapesti barnaövezet megújulási esélyei (Budapest, MTA Társadalomkutató Központ, 2004), 71-74.