Masterplan utilises water as a catalyst for urban agglomeration
The Emscher valley has been the industrial spine of the Ruhr region for more than a century. This 85-km-long former natural river in the north of the Ruhr region, now an open waste water disposal system, will be transformed into a river once more.
A coloured section of cable was adopted as a symbol for the New Emscher Valley. The individual wires in the cable represented the interconnection of water, landscape and city and signalled the wide bifurcations already present here and extending deep into the region. The Emscher Future masterplan has systematically extended and expanded this cable motif into a development and business concept. This enables the spatial implementation of the individual design activities (open space planning and urban development, ecology and water resource management) to extend over the 50 or so tributaries and manifold footpath connections way beyond the Emscher.
In addition to investment from public funds of around 4.5 billion euro, the masterplan has also generated many private economic initiatives and projects. Monitoring of progress, both spatially and against the scheduled programme, takes place centrally and serves as a communications and knowledge platform for all planning and design partners.
As a result of a transparent process and hundreds of discussions with stakeholders, the federal state government, communities and residents, the idea of an open transformation strategy was integrated into the masterplan. The construction of a new underground sewer allows a central park, green space with a network of linking routes for the Ruhr region. The disposer of waste water becomes a provider with valuable biotopes, attractive places to live and work, a landscape for art, culture and leisure.
In the meantime at the international level many other metropolitan areas and regions have become aware of the Emscher Future masterplan. And therefore it was presented at the 11th International Architecture Biennial in Venice (2008) and at the 8th International Architecture Biennial in Paulo (2009).
The delegates heard how the extensive projects arising from the plans would be used as an engine and spur to development for reshaping metropolitan areas on the one hand and for the foundation of contemporary, urban development concepts on the other. Furthermore, the revitalisation of this complex river system illustrates the way forward for comparable major water resources management and urban development projects all over the world.
ASTOC Architects and Planners in collaboration with RMP Landschaftsarchitekten, Bonn / Landschaft Planen und Bauen, Berlin / Post und Welters, Dortmund
Client Emschergenossenschaft, Essen Planning and Realisation International Competition 2003, First Prize Planning 2003 until today Realization until 2020
Dimensions River course 85 kilometer in length, approximately 4,000 hectares