Landscape of Differences
Thomas Stellmach Planning and Architecture /
Location: Berlin / Berlin
Team: TSPA: Filippo Imberti / Anke Parson / Alessandra Sammartino / Aurelija Matulevi ˇCiUtE / Isabell Enssle
Landscape planning: Lysann Schmidt Landschaftsarchitektur
Other specialist planning: Melissa Gómez (sustainable mobility and urban innovation advisor), Marcus Andreas (sustainability advisor), Florian Strenge (urbanism and design-process advisor)
Sub-area 1: ‘Intersection Oranienburg’
Existing residual areas, the open structural forms in the city centre, and the integrated landscape are suitable for further densification. The authors considered the three development scenarios – ‘safe society’, ‘global society’, and ‘neo-ecological society’ – and on that basis determined suitable locations that could also accommodate a wide range of cultural institutions and allow for ecological development. The focus of the plan is to integrate ecological corridors of an urban water management system. A new urban district with extensive recreational facilities is planned south of the suburban railway station. In the northern part of the city centre, commercial areas are densified, and an ‘organic park’ is created. Smaller projects, such as a river pool, a water hub for the generation of energy at the sluice facility, and a floating theatre in the Havel, as well as many other small interventions will enrich the water landscape and make Oranienburg more attractive. This will not only attract new residents, but also businesses, service companies, and production facilities that are appropriately incorporated into the city and the landscape.
Sub-area 2: ‘Intersection Trebbiner Water Landscape’
The district of Teltow-Fläming is an extraordinarily productive location for agricultural products in the metropolitan area. Large-scale farming inevitably causes environmental pollution. Production sites can be converted in an environmentally conscious manner into a regional park, which can become part of larger ecological corridors. The focus must be on the protection of the existing biosystems. The landscape and the waterways have to be returned to an unpolluted state to make it possible to organise food production in a controlled, small-scale manner. Water is a valuable commodity and requires constant maintenance. Water storage, infiltration, purification, and distribution are parts of a cycle that contributes to the self-sufficiency of the metropolitan area. Regional parks, such as in Trebbin, should continue to accommodate commercial and service locations as well as industrial production facilities, but they should stimulate the biological balance and not burden it.
Sub-area 3: ‘Kreuzberg Confetti’
Even neighbourhoods with a distinct identity, when they are densified and when their green areas are improved, can serve as models for other neighbourhoods to emulate. Here, the recultivation and renaturalisation of the former Luisenstadt Canal allow the existing green spaces to interact. Böckler Park, Waldeck Park, and Mariannenplatz are connected to the landscaped park near the canal by networks of green paths. The proposed architectural additions help define the streetscape and intensify the appearance of the blocks. The congested thoroughfares, such as Linden Strasse and Skalitzer Strasse, remain intact. Others, such as Heinrich-Heine-Strasse and Oranienstrasse, are improved with designated paths for pedestrians, bicycles, and cars. Nonetheless, traffic is eliminated from the inside of the blocks.
It is pointless to attempt to predict the political, cultural, or economic developments of the next 50 years. A quick look at the past makes that clear. However, there are challenges that we know will persist well beyond 2070. We know that the climate will change, and that, on average, Brandenburg will become warmer and drier. We know that this will have consequences for food production and biodiversity and that structures in the industrial, agricultural, and energy sectors will have to adapt to these new realities. Landscapes, water systems, and biosystems will also change. This transformation will last decades. It can build on the strengths of the Berlin-Brandenburg landscape. The lakes and rivers serve as the backbone of a cultural landscape that is characterised by heterogeneity and polycentricity. The ‘landscapes of differences’ concept suggests initiating a long-term transformation process of these systems to ensure a resilient and productive future for Brandenburg and Berlin. This transformation creates the framework in which the lives of citizens, including all their social and economic facets, can freely unfold and remain secure well into the future. Starting with the Brandenburg ecosystems, this transformation forms the basis for systemic and sustainable change. This transformation process is reflected in four landscapes.Weiterlesen
1) Water Landscape
The water landscape connects Brandenburg and Berlin: it shapes their industries, biodiversity, agriculture, energy, transport, and the character of their cultural landscapes, including their lakes and rivers. At the same time, the Elbe catchment area, where much of Brandenburg is located, has the second lowest water availability per capita in Europe. Climate change will make this worse. The reduction in rainfall and the increase in evaporation during the summer months will cause Brandenburg to become even drier; this dryness will be interrupted by increased bouts of heavy rain, which, in turn, will pollute the water and soil. We therefore understand the structure of Berlin-Brandenburg as a network of water cycles and place people’s daily interaction with water in the foreground. A system of green corridors in protected habitats for flora and fauna increases biodiversity. Waters and moorland are protected even more; monocultural, large-scale agricultural areas are to be converted into climate-proof farms. These are the elements of a cyclical economy for sustainable, respectful, and profitable use by the federal state.
2) Urban Landscape
Berlin’s main traffic routes have defined the star-shaped settlement structure of Berlin, which has provided open spaces and prevented congestion by condensing traffic along the public transport axes. But the star-shaped settlement cannot handle the diverse nature of the Berlin-Brandenburg region alone. A more flexible and varied structure is needed, which is why the network of the water landscape will now infiltrate and support the star-shaped settlement of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Intersections arise, around which new centres will emerge and grow together to form networks. Berlin and Brandenburg, nature and city, join together to form a landscape of differences, composed of natural and man-made spaces. Urban sprawl is halted, and the existing settlement structure is densified and transformed at existing and new hubs in a targeted manner. These hubs are the centres of tomorrow. No longer the outskirts, they will be characterised by an exceptional quality of life and urban activity – in nature and near water.
3) Energy Landscape
The supply of energy will also be decentralised. Energy will now be generated efficiently with wind, sun, and water. Solar panels and wind turbines are integrated into the landscape in a targeted manner in locations where wind speed, soil conditions, topography, and settlement structure are ideal. Industrial areas that are no longer functional are repurposed for the decentralised storage of energy in the form of hydrogen, water heat, or pumped storage. Short travel distances avoid energy losses; decentralisation increases resilience; surpluses are fed into the grid; oil and gas become obsolete; and carbon neutrality becomes the new norm. Power companies run by citizens and cooperative energy companies based on an intelligent network system make energy production accessible to all.
4) Mobility Landscape
The average speed of motorised traffic in Berlin is currently 20 kilometres per hour. This is a speed people could easily maintain on (e-)bicycles. On average, households in Berlin own fewer cars than in other German cities. We are on the right path. The streets emptied by the coronavirus pandemic have given us an idea of what is possible with fewer vehicles: streets with room for playing and sports, and more peace and quiet. Yet, the technical development is unclear; and we do not know which solutions will prevail. What is certain, however, is that mobility will change, that cars and private transport will no longer play such a central role, and that autonomous driving will increase. We are therefore creating the conditions for more sustainable mobility. We propose the following: expand the network of bicycle lanes and make it suitable for fast e-mobility; create space for ‘inter-modality’ points, where travellers can switch between different modes of transport (communal, public, private); restrict motorised private transport; direct heavy traffic to transport axes and waterways and repurpose the freed-up areas as public spaces; and upgrade streets as shared spaces for various future modes of mobility.
We have selected three sub-areas to illustrate our concepts.
1) Intersection Oranienburg
Oranienburg typifies the complexity of the region. It is characterised by different urban structures, active and decommissioned industrial plants, and a diverse, water-permeated landscape. A centre of tomorrow emerges at the intersection of the star-shaped settlement structure and the landscape network. Ecosystems are strengthened, and sustainable urban structures emerge. The city coalesces around the scenic network along Lehnitz Lake, the Havel River, and the Havel Canal. Precipitation is collected, recycled, buffered, infiltrated, and removed during heavy rains by a sustainable water management system. This way, the city is cooled in hot summers, and soil nutrients are preserved. The ‘inter-modal transport’ concept relies on a combination of regional public transport connections with frequent service and a dense network of (e-)bicycle routes. A park with a community garden is created on Sachsenhausener Strasse, combining urban agriculture, sustainable production, and urban and residential housing. At the southern end of Lehnitz Lake, a former industrial site is renovated and the floors are organically cleaned. Part of the area will be converted into an urban park with leisure facilities; another part will be developed into a mixed residential area between the park and the water. An energy park is created in the northern green area close to Kuhbrücke. The energy generated here is converted into hydrogen and stored. A research centre for water management is built east of the Lehnitz sluice.
2) Trebbin Water Landscape
The district of Teltow-Fläming is typified by rivers and artificial canals, agriculture, shrinking villages, polluted waters, monocultural forests, and a loss of biodiversity. It is also the most productive agricultural district in the Brandenburg region and is thus also responsible for causing environmental pollution. We present how the spatial and functional systems of the area can be sustainably transformed into systems of the cyclical economy. The regional park is part of the larger ecological corridors. It protects and uses the landscape, biosystems, and waters productively for energy, leisure, and food production, resulting in a new cultural landscape that is not bucolic, but efficient and productive. Small-scale organic farming replaces monocultures. A system of water storage, infiltration, purification, and recycling enables high drinking water quality standards and ensures the supply of water across all seasons. A green energy system produces wind and solar energy and networks production sites with decentralised energy storage systems. Cooperative energy companies for inexpensive and decentralised energy management are founded.
3) Kreuzberg Confetti
Berlin’s heterogeneous architectural history is still visible in northern Luisenstadt and southern Friedrichstadt. Our concept elevates the mixed environment in Kreuzberg into a ‘super-mix’ environment, demonstrating that urban density and living in nature are compatible with each other. It prepares the mobility infrastructure for the ongoing shift towards sustainable transport methods and creates an urban landscape that protects both water and environment. We restrict through traffic to axes such as Skalitzer Strasse and Linden Strasse, and we redesign streets such as Heinrich-Heine-Strasse and Oranienstrasse as shared spaces. This creates car-free super blocks, with attractive footpaths and (e-)bicycle lanes. The freed-up areas are converted into green spaces. Mobility becomes multi-modal; switching between different modes of transport becomes easy; and different kinds of shared mobility flourish. Lenné’s Luisenstadt Canal is opened up again and expanded. Mariannenplatz, Waldeck Park, and Böckler Park are expanded to form a park system. Precipitation is managed intelligently and is used to cool the city. Flooding events are mitigated by decentralised infiltration in park areas, hollows, tree trenches, and retention areas. The attractive green spaces invite residents and visitors alike to engage in sports and other recreational activities. The air quality is excellent. The buildings are densified, expanded, repurposed, and on the ground floor revitalised – all in a targeted manner, without additional soil sealing. Linear blocks from the 1970s, buildings from the Gründerzeit years, and buildings from the International Building Exhibition are placed in a new context without losing their original character. A wider range of functions are mixed together; and the paths become even shorter.