SUSTAINABLE AND CLIMATE RESILIENT NEIGHBORHOODS FOR THE FUTURE
Dr. Bradtke, the Havkenscheider Höhe neighborhood has received an award from the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of Transport and is part of Bochum's new OSTPARK development. The "OSTPARK - New Housing" project is currently the largest residential development in Bochum. What needs and necessities is the city of Bochum meeting with this project?
Fortunately, we do not yet have such a great housing shortage in the cities of the Metropole Ruhr as in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg or Cologne. However, after years of population decline, the Ruhr region and our city of Bochum are also experiencing increasing demand and rising prices for building land and real estate, as well as higher rents. With OSTPARK, we are meeting the growing demand for residential space - with it, a forward-looking, attractive and socially balanced residential quarter is being created between the city and the countryside. The residential development will consist of a one-third mix of owner-occupied homes, rental apartments and subsidized housing. The "OSTPARK - New Housing" project is a central component of the municipal "Wohnbauflächenprogramm" (residential development program), with which we have positioned new residential construction in Bochum in line with the future.
OSTPARK will consist of two independent neighborhoods, each of which will tie in with the existing development structure: the Feldmark to the west and the Havkenscheider Höhe to the east. According to the plans, a central watercourse with adjacent recreational areas will form the green-blue backbone of the OSTPARK and at the same time serve as a natural rainwater drainage system, which should improve the climatic conditions and the quality of stay of the new as well as the existing residential areas in the surrounding area. OSTPARK is to be one of the first climate-adapted neighborhoods in the region - could you explain the climate concept in more detail? What specific measures are planned here, also against the background of compensating for the sealing of surfaces by the newly created infrastructure and building areas? What role do facades and green roofs play?
Just this summer, we again felt how climate change is impacting our everyday lives. This poses new challenges, especially for large cities, which heat up strongly during the day. Researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, for example, predict that in 30 years, western German cities like Bochum could have a Mediterranean climate like that in Genoa, Italy.
Like almost all municipalities in the Ruhr region, Bochum has recognized this task: We adopted and implemented climate protection concepts at an early stage. For us, OSTPARK is an ecological and climate policy model project. Why? Because we are planning the two neighborhoods Feldmark and Havkenscheider Höhe in a climate-adapted and thus future-oriented manner in order to be able to meet precisely these climatic challenges. In 2014, i.e. very early on before the realization of the OSTPARKS, we launched the Plan4Chance project: Together with Ruhr University Bochum, the German Institute of Urban Affairs and Eimer-Projekt Consulting, we scientifically investigated how and by what means climate adaptation aspects - especially with regard to heat, fresh air and rainwater - can be incorporated into the planning and implementation of the new residential neighborhoods and green spaces. The results are reflected in the concrete plans: fresh air corridors, i.e. larger gaps between buildings, will provide a fresh air supply in OSTPARK so that warm air can escape and not hang over the city like a bell. In addition, we have a forward-looking rainwater management system in OSTPARK: The above-ground watercourse that connects the two neighborhoods serves as natural precipitation drainage and allows water to evaporate. The consequence: The surrounding area cools down. Extensive green roofs on the buildings and a high proportion of greenery on the open spaces are intended to prevent excessive heating in summer and at the same time store water during heavy rainfall events. Through a compact design, we also take care not to use and seal too large areas. Building bases to prevent heavy rainfall, shading elements, light colors on the buildings and the use of climate-friendly district heating are further points I would like to list in this context. It is a whole host of measures to position OSTPARK for the future in a climate-adapted way.
The neighborhood square is an integral part of neighborhood life and the social center of Havkenscheider Höhe. © Mäckler Architekten
Speaking of the roof. In view of current developments in and forecasts for the energy market and in the context of the energy transition, decentralized energy systems are becoming increasingly important. Is this aspect taken up in the Havkenscheider Höhe concept, and if so, how? To what extent does photovoltaics play a role here, or what is planned here?
Photovoltaic systems or solar collectors are firmly planned for the roofs of the buildings in OSTPARK. And that's not all: we will take energy-efficient construction methods and options for passive and active use of solar energy as well as other renewable energies into account when allocating plots of land in the upcoming marketing of building sites. A photovoltaic system is also planned for our neighborhood garages in the Feldmark and Havkenscheider Höhe - it will even cover part of the demand for charging stations for electric vehicles in the garages.
In view of the current energy crisis, have you seen or do you see any reason to make any changes to the plans? In your view, to what extent can the new district, or individual districts in general, make a contribution to the energy transition? How is the role of urban planning changing here?
Urban planning must respond to the challenges of the future. That's why sustainable and climate-resilient neighborhoods are our future. In Havkenscheider Höhe and also in Feldmark, we are making an enormously important contribution with our planning. Long before the energy crisis, we had already considered the entire spectrum of energy efficiency and renewable energies. Because we want to implement a forward-looking energy concept that is designed for the long term.
The energy turnaround is closely coupled with the mobility turnaround - in what respects will this sector coupling be given a role in the new neighborhood, for example by planning appropriate e-mobility infrastructure?
E-mobility plays a significant key role in Havkenscheider Höhe. At the mobility station integrated into the neighborhood garage, for example, residents can borrow e-bikes or e-load bikes and charge the e-vehicles. Our Mobility Points also make it easier to do without a car. The parking spaces for bikes with charging stations, which are installed directly at bus stops, increase the incentive to use e-bikes and e-load bikes for short trips. This means that residents can easily ride their bikes to one of the stops, park them and continue to their destination by bus or streetcar.
The neighborhood garage not only offers private parking spaces for cars and bicycles. Residents can flexibly choose between their own car, car sharing, bicycle, e-bike, cargo bike or trolley in the integrated mobile station. © Mäckler Architekten
The mobility concept for OSTPARK and Havkenscheider Höhe is intended to minimize the impact of motorized individual traffic inside and outside the neighborhood. What does the mobility concept for the Havkenscheider Höhe envisage in concrete terms, and how can this goal be achieved? What is the spatial allocation or distribution for the topic of mobility?
With Havkenscheider Höhe, we will realize one of the first car-reduced neighborhoods in Bochum by 2026. This means that bicycle and pedestrian traffic will have priority in the neighborhood. To be able to achieve this, a rethink is needed at many levels. In Havkenscheider Höhe, we are reducing the space required for motorized individual traffic. On the one hand, this is achieved through a parking space ratio of 0.8 for privately financed housing and 0.7 for publicly subsidized housing, as well as 1.0 for condominiums. On the other hand, cars find space in a centrally located neighborhood garage, where the majority of private and public cars are parked. A large number of cars therefore disappear from the residents' field of vision. The positive consequence of this is that we need fewer asphalted areas for parking in the neighborhood and the street becomes a public space through traffic-calmed areas - for cycling, playing, jogging or walking. We want to provide a new answer to the question of who actually owns the street space: cars, for example, which park most of the day, or the citizens? Our plans even make it possible to do without your own car without any problems, because switching to environmentally friendly means of transport is easy in Havkenscheider Höhe. Residents can use rental bikes, e-bikes or cargo bikes flexibly, and the pedestrian and bike paths inside and outside the neighborhood, as well as a dense public transport network, optimally connect the Havkenscheider Höhe. A major award has proven that we are on the right track with our mobility planning for the Havkenscheider Höhe: We were one of seven municipalities in NRW to receive an award from the NRW Ministry of Transport for our project "Havkenscheider Höhe - highly mobile".
New mobility patterns are reflected in spatial allocations. Urban planning must think today about what will function and find acceptance years later. What (was) the greatest planning challenge in the context of the Havkenscheider Höhe?
That was clearly the work of convincing people that new ways have to be found to counter problems and to face them in the future with innovative and alternative solutions. Our mobility will and must change. This certainly also means adapting one's own behavior and getting used to new forms of mobility. This will not be easy for many people. That's why it's enormously important for us to educate people and debunk the supposed loss of comfort with the right information. Because the new planning philosophy can create great and forward-looking opportunities.
The city of Bochum has developed a mobility model from which concrete measures are derived. The interrelationship between urban planning and traffic should be given special consideration in all neighborhood developments and in infrastructure planning. To what extent can the Havkenscheider Höhe neighborhood serve as a blueprint for future project developments or for the transformation of urban space?
We would like to reduce the share of car traffic in total traffic in Bochum from 55% today to 40% - the environmental alliance of walking, cycling and public transport should increase to 60%. In just a few years, a sustainable form of mobility will emerge at Havkenscheider Höhe that can certainly become a blueprint for the city of Bochum and other cities in the densely populated region. What is becoming quite clear: Many people are specifically looking for places to live where bicycle and pedestrian traffic have priority. The marketing success to date in OSTPARK for the Feldmark neighborhood motivates us to plan even more car-reduced neighborhoods in the future.
DR. MARKUS BRADTKE
© DR. MARKUS BRADTKE
has been city planning officer for the city of Bochum since 2015. He earned his doctorate at the Technical University of Dortmund, Faculty of Spatial Planning, and was managing co-owner of the bms Stadtplanung office. In addition, Dr. Markus Bradtke was technical councillor of the city of Ahaus as well as city planning councillor of the city of Witten.