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Case study Munich - Draft 1

Greenstructure in a booming city region: assessment of the resource, its main challenges and the planning response - the case of Munich

Figures at end of paper

© S.Pauleit and B.Oppermann


The paper aims to analyse the development, current state and challenges for Munich's greenstructure from an environmental / ecological perspective. The response of the city and city region to address these challenges will be discussed. From this analysis, an attempt will be made to draw some conclusions as to the major ecological/ environmental requirements for greenstructure planning.

The City of Munich has approximately 1.3 Million inhabitants and covers a surface area of 311 km2 within its administrative boundaries. The city forms the core of a fast growing urban region of 2.4 million inhabitants, however, the commuting zone goes far beyond (Fig. 1). In particular the northern part of the Munich plain is characterised by strong urbanisation developing into a regional city. Therefore, the case study will not only look at the city itself but also at the regional level.

The paper draws on a variety of sources. The analysis of greenspace provision, and its challenges will be mainly based on the results from several scientific and planning studies for the City of Munich, including the development of a landscape ecological strategy (LÖK 1983, Pauleit and Duhme, 2000). Planning documents from the city will be used to review the planning response (Ref.). The discussions with greenspace planners and nature conservationists from the city during a COST meeting were a particularly valuable input in this respect. Finally, the results from a student project will be briefly presented to discuss possible solutions for greenstructure planning on the regional level.


1. How have natural and cultural features influenced the development of greenstructure in the urban environment?"

Munich is situated in a plain of limestone gravel of glacial origin, which provided an almost ideal ground for urban development. Only the floodplain of the river Isar, steep banks of glacial terraces and the fenland areas in the northern part of the plain posed natural constraints. However, while the Munich plain overall appears to be quite homogeneous, it is characterised by a fine grained pattern of different gravel terraces (Fig 2). The natural greenstructure, therefore, consists of different types of woodlands, heathlands and open fenlands, the two latter being created through extensive grazing.

However, most this natural greenstructure is lost and fragmented due to intensive farming, forestry and urban development. Munich did not achieve to preserve or develop a spatial system of greenstructures such as the 'greenfinger plan' for Copenhagen or the greenbelt system in Cologne. The river Isar floodplain is an exception, forming a continuous, mostly natural greenbelt across the Munich plain. Royal parks were created outside the city at their time but were incorporated into the urban fabric since: Englischer Garten, Nymphenburger Park/ Hirschgarten, and Schleißheim Castle, to name the biggest parks. An important element of the historical greenstructure are canals linking the parks of Nymphenburg and Schleißheim, situated outside the city in the northern Munich plain (Fig. 3).

Munich remained a relatively small town until the 19th century. While the city already had 500,000 inhabitants in the 1930s, it was only after the World War II when the city developed from a medium sized town into a major city of 1.3 million population (Fig. 4). Few large greenspaces were created during this period. Therefore, the densely built inner city and surrounding neighbourhoods are very deficient in greenspace until today. It was only from the 1970s onwards when again new large parks were created: Ostpark, Westpark, Olympiapark, and most recently, a large park in the new neighbourhood Riem.

A complete survey of greenspace resource in the city for the purpose of ecological planning is provided by a habitat mapping scheme (LÖK 1983, Duhme and Pauleit, 1992). Overall, vegetated surfaces (including farmland) cover 18,342 ha in Munich, corresponding to 59% of the city surface. This compares to 16% of built and 19% of other sealed surfaces. It is interesting to note that the high cover of vegetated surfaces contrasts with the figures from city statistics that 60% of the city are built-up. However, city statistics ignore the fact that greenspaces exist within urban land uses such as housing areas.

Green spaces cover 21% of the city when intensively used farmland on the urban fringe is excluded. However, the distribution of greenspace in the city is very uneven (Fig. 5). City zones can be distinguished, ranging from the densely built-up inner city to the fringe under agricultural and forestry use. The proportionate vegetation cover varies from:

- the inner city and industrial areas: vegetation cover < 10%,

- the city fringe with low density residential areas: surface sealing vegetation cover 40 - 60%

- the farmland and forests: vegetation cover >90%

The habitat survey identified sites of importance for nature conservation (SINC) within the city (LÖK 1983). In 1996, 362 sites were recorded covering 3315 ha (Patsch and Sammiller, 1997). This corresponds to 11 per cent of the total area of the city. Most of these sites are natural woodlands and woody vegetation, grasslands (including wastelands) and wetlands but also natural areas in parks such as the northern Englischer Garten.

In 1987, Greenspace owned by the city covered 3192 ha, including parks, cemeteries, avenues, allotment gardens as well as greenspace around schools and other public buildings (Ammer and Ritter, 1990). In addition, the Bavarial state owns 728ha of parks within the city. Thus, according to these statistics public greenspace accounted for appr. 13% of the city surface. However, teh habitat and morphology type survey also showed that gardens in single-family housing areas are the single most important greenspace resource in within the built areas of the city. Together with multistorey housing, they account for approximately 15% of Munich's vegetated surfaces.

From Figure 6 the proportionate cover of vegetated surfaces in the different morphology types can be seen. Non-built spaces such as public greenspaces, woodlands, farmland and wastelands rank highest. Vegetated surfaces cover over 20% in single-family housing areas whereas densely built-up inner blocks, industrial areas and large roads have a cover of less than 5%. Railway areas are an interesting special case as the average cover of vegetation is quite low, however, the amount of pervious surfaces is quite high. The environmental implications will be discussed below.

The survey also recorded the percentage cover of vegetation structures: trees, shrubs, rough grassland, lawn, and flower beds. One of the interesting results is that trees and shrubs together cover a larger area than buildings (17% and 16%, respectively). Overall, trees an shrubs cover an area of 5,400 ha within the city, while stands of rough grasslands cover over 1800 hectares.


2. What does this greenstructure mean for biodiversity, environmental services, and management of flows?


With some 1200 species of higher plants in an area of 311 km2 only, Munich is surprisingly rich in wildlife, especially if compared with areas of intensive farming in the surrounding landscape. In the Floristic Survey of Central Europe (Fig. 7; Schönfelder and Bresinsky, 1990), the northern Munich plain proved to be particularly biodiverse because it contains a rich mix of relics from natural and cultural landscapes. The grassy heathlands and the fenlands areas are of particular value for nature conservation and recreation. Equally, within the city, the industrial northern part is more biodiverse than the affluent south.

The greenspaces in urban morphology types such as detached housing or multistorey housing are mostly species poor due to intensive management and use (LÖK 1990). However, trees and shrubs as well as rough grasslands were identified as important habitat structures within urban land uses. Their cover largely determines the ecological value of urban greenspace. For instance, Figure 8 shows the relationship between the incidence of woodland bird species and the cover of trees and shrubs. Dense old stands could be found in particular in parks and older low density housing areas with large private gardens. For a nature conservation strategy for the city of Munich (Duhme and Pauleit, 1992) it was concluded that these areas can enhance habitat connectivity between the remnants of natural woodlands.

Pioneer vegetation was mainly found along railway lines, on wastelands and on unused areas within commercial and industrial developments. A detailed analysis of the floristic similarities of the dry meadows (Aßmann and Banse 1987) indicated that low distance between the sites and connectivity by railway lines very likely promotes species dispersal. The distribution of dry grassland indicator species suggested that pioneer vegetation on railway banks and in industrial can contribute to their dispersal and thus increase connectivity between remnant dry grasslands (Frank and Schrey 1986).


Environmental services and management of flows

The environmental services of urban greenspace were explored in a study for a test area within the city (Pauleit and Duhme 2000). There is a clear relation between the provision and character of greenspace and its climatic and hydrological functions. Figure 9 shows the how surface temperatures correlates with greenspace provision in the inner city of Munich. Surface temperatures are highest in the densely built-up inner city but significantly lower in well-greened neighbourhoods. In particular woody vegetation effectively reduces surface temperatures. On average, surface temperatures are lowered by 1.4°C by an 10% increase of woody vegetation cover.

On a whole city level, large open space corridors improve air quality by enhancing ventilation. The river Isar floodplain and the main railway corridor in the western part of the city are particularly important. Rainwater infiltration and storm-water runoff from sealed surfaces into the sewage system were computed for each unit by means of coefficients deduced from a review of German literature. Coefficients of the mean annual rainwater infiltration ranged from 5 percent for built-up and sealed surfaces to 60 percent for the coarse gravel of railways.

Parks, wastelands, and farmlands significantly contribute to groundwater recharge with mean infiltration rates between 30 - 38 percent. Railways are especially important for the overall hydrological balance. Railways cover little more than 5 percent of the test area but contribute to 17 percent of total annual precipitation infiltrated in the study area. On average, a 10 percent increase of the built-up area reduced infiltration in a land unit by 5 percent. To maintain infiltration rates comparable to that under natural woodland cover the amount of built-up areas should not exceed an average of 17 percent.

The role of greenspace for the management of water flows can be also seen from estimates of run-off during a rainstorm event. Estimates were based on run-off coefficients for the different surface cover types (Pauleit and Duhme, 2000). Greenspaces such as parks, woodlands and farmland do not generate run-off in the test area. 80 percent of the total runoff of 720,000 m3 occurred from built-up areas where more than half of the storm-water was converted into runoff. The mean runoff in multi-story blocks comes close to 30 l/ m2/ hour. This mean value indicated that almost 75 percent of the precipitation from a rainstorm run off. Low density housing areas, on the other hand, had mean runoff rates slightly above 10 l/ m2 /hour.

Therefore, it can be concluded that well-greened areas have a much higher infiltration rate and therefore a reduced runoff. These areas reduce the water load on the sewage system. The study also estimated the amount of areas required to infiltrate the stormwater run-off in infiltration trenches within the morphology units. Theoretically most of the water runoff from buildings and impervious surfaces can be infiltrated on the site in low-density residential areas if disconnected from the sewage system. However, in densely built inner city and industrial areas, a significant amount of impervious surfaces would need to be converted into greenspace for this purpose (Pauleit and Duhme, 2000).


3. What is presently recorded about ecology in the case study area, by whom, and how?

The following table aims to summarise some of the strength and weaknesses of the current information base on greenstructure ecology and its environmental functions.


1) Habitat and morphology type survey, including detailed characterisation of greenspace by a set of attributes (LÖK 1983)

2) No general scheme for monitoring the provision and condition of greenspace exists. However the health status of trees is regularly assessed on basis of a representative sampling framework including almost 30,000 trees in the city (Ammer and Martin, 1989).

3) Bavarian habitat survey

4) analysis of surface temperatures in relation to greenspace provision in a study area (Pauleit and Duhme, 2000)

5) analysis of surface water run-off and rainwater infiltration in relation to greenspace provision in a study area (Pauleit and Duhme, 2000)

6) e.g. the link between greenspace provision and human health or the link between the provision of natural greenspace and recreation


A habitat survey was fist undertaken in 1978 - 1981 and complemented by the mapping of urban morphology types (LÖK 1983, Pauleit and Duhme, 2000). Over 3,500 units were delineated and characterised by land cover and land use attributes to provide a full coverage of the urban area and its greenspace resource (Fig. 13). The habitat survey was later updated. A number of further information on vegetation, flora and fauna exists for particular areas from special studies, research studies, recorded by societies, etc.

Overall, the information basis for ecological greenstructure planning overall appears to be quite good. However, a scheme for monitoring urban greenspace is currently lacking. Moreover, such a database and a comprehensive assessment of the environmental functions of the greenstructure would be required on the level of the city region to address the challenges of urban development. In addition to the habitat survey, there is little information available on the environmental functions of greenstructure for urban climate, hydrology, soil conservation, or energy and the management of flows of matter. In a pilot study, some of these functions were explored for an area which covers 50km2 of the city surface (Pauleit and Duhme, 2000). However, this study was not taken forward to the city level. In particular, there is no information available on the link between greenspace and air quality, and cross-sectional issues such as the link to human health are equally not developed at the moment. Exploring these links could provide strong arguments for the preservation and improvement of greenspace provision in areas of deficiency.

The City of Munich published an environmental atlas first in 1990, covering various aspects of the urban environment (land use, 'ecological structures' of the city, cover of impervious surfaces, cover of woody vegetation, assessment of tree vitality, air quality, climate, water, soils, energy, traffic, contaminated land, and more.). The environmental atlas was put on the web, however, it is still not in an interactive format. Data are also of different spatial resolution and quality. Therefore, it is not possible at the moment to link different topics and undertake complex queries, for instance, to overlay information on greenspace provision with air quality data and population density.

Thus, with the exception of the sites recorded in the habitat survey, there is no information available at the moment to quantify how urban development impacts on the greenspace resource. Moreover, the contribution of greenspace to improve urban climates, reduce air pollution, infiltrate rainwater or sequester carbon dioxide on a city level needs to be assessed. Exploring cross-sectional links with issues such as health could provide strong arguments for the preservation and improvement of greenspace provision in areas of deficiency.


4. How have ecological goals been set out to influence the planning, design and management processes? Is there any evidence that these goals have effectively influenced the planning processes within the study area?


4.1 The main challenges for Munich's greenstructure

Munich is a booming city region. Although the population within the city has remained almost stable over the last 30 years, there is still a strong need for new residential floor space, mainly due to increasing per-capita space demand. In addition there is a need to accommodate new offices, services and commerce. Therefore, there is a strong pressure on open space. Figure 10 highlights these development dynamics, showing where land use has significantly changed over a period of only 10 years. The natural greenstructure was largely destroyed during this development process. Remnants are threatened by degradation of habitat quality, and their isolation. The urban fringe is mostly characterised by intensive farming and therefore, its ecological condition is quite poor. The densely built-up inner city, and industrial areas are characterised by greenspace deficiencies on the other hand. Moreover, there is a continuing loss of greenspace in residential areas due to infill densification.

Since 1892, over 180 plant species were lost, mainly due to urban development and agricultural intensification. Biodiversity in the city is not only threatened by the destruction of natural habitats, and the degradation of habitat quality but also the small size and isolation of the remnants of once large woodland, heathland and fenland areas (Pauleit and Duhme, 1992). Over 50% of the habitats surveyed in the habitat survey were smaller than 1ha in size, whereas only 10% where larger than 10ha. Woodland habitats are fragmented into 153 lots, 79 % of which are smaller than 5 ha. Even if current habitats are fully protected, further species will probably become extinct in the near future due to the further degradation and isolation of their habitats.

The creation of habitat corridors has been suggested as a strategy to counter the adverse effects of habitat isolation (e.g. Cook, 1991, Arts et al., 1995, Barker, 1997). Yet, a review of the scientific evidence Dawson (1994) and more recent research (Ref.) cautions against adopting uncritically the assumption that wildlife corridors serve as conduits along which species migrate. Still, efforts should be made to preserve coherence between habitats through linkage by corridors of the same habitat type and by maintaining a high density of these habitats. Studies conducted in Munich (Aßmann and Banse, 1986; Frank and Schrey, 1986) indicate that a range of species are likely to benefit from a habitat network.

Green corridors are also needed for ventilation and air quality. This is of particular relevance in Munich, as there are often weather situations when air pollutants accumulate in the city. Corridors can enhance ventilation through country breezes during these periods. Finally functional river corridors and floodplains are needed for the safe management of water flows.

However, overall, the greated development currently takes place in the northern Munich Plain where the landscape and ist unique natural and cultural assets are threatened. From, Figure 11 the level of current development becomes obvious. During the last 30 years, Munich has increased its capacity to grow by building new infrastructures such as a new sewage treatment plant in the north of Munich. The move of the airport from München-Riem to its new location 35 km outside the city centre is the biggest project in this sense, and has boosted growth in the north east. Overnight, small farmers in the fenlands were turned into millionaires and a farmland area with small villages into a suburban agglomeration. While intensive farming and urban development after WWII already had very negative impacts on landscape quality, the current development is further increasing the pressure on the landscape. At the same time, there is an increasing demand for a high quality landscape for recreation for the people living in the north of Munich. Over 90% of recreational trips of the people living in the Munich agglomeration are directed towards the south whereas the northern Munich plain is mostly considered as comparatively unattractive.

Figure 12 highlights a particular challenge to achieve this task: the large number of players involved. Until now, co-ordination between the municipalities in the north is weak. Rather, these consider each other as competitors. Moreover, the relation between Munich and the surrounding local authorities is characterised by mutual mistrust. Therefore, the big challenge of today is to co-operate with neighbouring local authorities to find a functional compensation for not-wanted infrastructures and development.

Therefore, three major challenges for Munich's greenstructure, ist ecological and environmental functions can be identified:

1. The preservation and management of the existing greenstructure within the city

2. The planning of ecologically/ environmentally functional greennetworks and reduction greenspace deficits

3. Greenstructure planning on the regional level is likely to be the biggest challenge of today.



4.2 Policies, planning and protection of ecologically important greenstructures


Greenspace protection

Greenspaces in the city are protected by a variety of designations, including nature reserves (Naturschutzgebiete), protected landscape areas (Landschaftsschutzgebiete), protected landscape elements (geschützter Landschaftsbestandtteil) or natural monuments (Naturdenkmale). Woodlands can be protected for their special functions to improve the environment and for recretation (Bannwald). Certain habitat types such as the heathlands and fenland are also directly protected (geschützte Lebensräume). Overall 5835 ha of greenspace are currently designated as natural reserves or protected landscape areas (Hutter, oral comm.). However, a number of particularly important areas for nature conservation have been lost to large scale (Duhme and Pauleit, 1992). Their survival within the city limits often was the result of specific land uses (e.g. military training areas) or property rights. These sites are seriously endangered as soon as they become available for development purposes. 220 hectares of dry grasslands and oligotrophic wastelands were destroyed between 1983 and 1988, which meant a 20 per cent loss of this habitat type whithin a 5-year period. Until 1996, overall 325 ha of the originally surveyed habitats were lost (Patsch and Sammiller, 1997). However, in addition to these more spectacular examples, additional open space was lost or is threatened such as farmland on the urban fringe. Farmland is mostly under intensive use and therefore, its ecological condition is quite poor. Intensive farming also threatens soils, surface and groundwater quality in particular in the fenland areas.

Public parks are owned by the city of the Bavarian state and overall well protected. Still, even famous parks such as the Englischer Garten and the Hirschgarten can come under pressure. Recently, the development of a tramway through the Englischer Garten was intensively discussed. In both parks, large underground water retention basins were built in the 1990s. Thus, while the great value of these parks is recognised, they are never completely secure from impacts.

Currently, there is a strong tendency for on site intensification in low density housing areas in Munich. Private gardens are either subdivided into several plots or small houses are replaced by blocks of flats. The coverage of built-up land can increase from below 20 percent to more than 30-40 percent (Wagner, 1992). Densification leads to the destruction of vegetated surfaces and especially of trees. Munich has also a tree preservation order (TPO) which covers most of the built-up areas and open space Trees are protected when they are bigger in size than 80cm circumference. However, on average, up to one third of protected are removed immediately or later when infill development takes place because of the damage inflicted during the construction process (Jocham, 1988). Environmental quality deteriorates as a consequence. The loss of those sites decreased rainwater infiltration and increased storm-water runoff.

In summary, while urban greenspaces and habitats identified in the habitat survey are protected to a large degree, overall the greenspace balance is negative. Both farmland on the fringe and residential greenspace in general and trees in particular are under pressure. Heathlands and valuable wastelands are still lost, although the habitat survey showed their great value for biodiversity and as informal greenspaces for recreation. While public greenspace is overall well protected, it appears that more efforts are required to protect natural greenspace resource and restore its environmental and ecological functions.


Environmental policies for greenstructures

Ecological and environmental goals for greenstructure planning are set out in:

1. Formal planning instruments: the regional landscape programme, the landscape plan and greenstructure plans on the level of master planning, land banking schemes

2. Informal strategies: the urban development strategy Munich Perspectives 'Compact, urban, green', adopting the Landscape ecological masterplan, guidelines for ecology (Leitlinien Ökologie) and targets for greenspace provision

3. Projects such as creation of greenspace in new , the river Isar restoration project, heathland restoration fenland, restoration of small streams


City level

Munich Perspectives are the city's urban development strategy. The strategy is entitled Compact, Urban, Green, thusrecognising the need to balance the preservation and development of greenstructure with urban development. The greenstructure strategy is shown in Fig 14a.. Ecological and environmental goals (Fig. 14b) are based on the Landscape Ecological Masterplan study (LÖK 1990, Fig. 15). In this programme, a habitat linkage programme and specific programmes with quantitative targets for habitat creation in urban zones were set out. The programme was adopted later by the local council, however, the proposed quantitative targets were not included. While the Munich Perspectives adopted the goals set out in the Landscape Ecological Master Plan, it is interesting to note that the goals for low density housing areas were not considered.

Moreover, the implementation of the strategy is a great challenge. Currently, a new informal strategy called Ecological Guidelines (Leitlinie Ökologie) is under preparation aiming to integrate sectoral goals for nature, soils, hydrology, energy use, waste and noise. The guidelines are jointly prepared by the Department of Planning and the Department for Health and the Environment. The guidelines will formulate both principles for ecological urban development and provide targets, e.g. adopted from the landscape ecological strategy. Most importantly, Leitlinien Ökologie are conceived as a strategy to communicate crucial ecological and environmental issues (Hutter, oral comm.).

Local authorities in Germany have a well-developed framework for landscape planning but its overall position is still relatively weak in the case of hard conflicts with other plans and projects. Landscape plans (Landschaftsplan) and greenstructure plans (Grünordnungsplan) define the goals for landscape and nature conservation on the level of the whole city and the neighbourhood, respectively. The German system of landscape planning has been criticised particularly because of a lack in implementation and failure to prevent the further degradation of natural assets. The goals set out in landscape plans are often not clearly enough defined and therefore it is difficult to assess whether these have been really achieved. Landscape plans were also criticised as being top down approaches not well involving the stakeholders such as farmers.

Land banking schemes are now promoted to enhance implementation of the goals for nature conservation. The scheme allows acquire land and compensate already in advance for future development. Therefore, compensation schemes can now be applied in a strategic way to enhance the ecological condition and environmental functions of larger, coherent areas. The city of Munich is piloting this scheme in a fenland area in the northwest to restore wetlands and small streams. The city now intends to develop a land banking scheme for the whole city. Yet, it remains to be seen whether this instrument is able to safeguard and further develop the city's greenstructure in a coherent way. In this respect, the quality of comprehensive landscape planning will be very important to identify compensation areas based on ecological criteria.

Big urban dvelopment projects are another important instrument for the implementation of greenspace. As a rule of thumb, one third of the overall planning area is designated as public greenspace, one third will become residential areas and the other third are commercial and industrial land. By means of the social land use tax, the city claims up to one third of the planning gain from the developer for infrastructures, including the construction of greenspace. However, the funds raised through this instrument do not secure the long-term management of the greenspaces

For instance, a large park is developed as part of the new neighbourhood in München Riem. Environmental and ecological arguments played an important role in this project, e.g. to improve ventilation of the new neighbourhood and create natural vegetation. Other big projects include the redevelopment of large areas along the main railway corridor which have become dysfunctional and the restoration of the river Isar in the southern part. The project aims to improve flood protection of the city and give the river again a more natural appearance (Fig. 16). Currently, a town and landscape planning competition is underway to find good solutions for this task.

While the city also promotes to disconnect impervious surfaces on private ground from the sewage, Overall, large scale technical solutions e.g. for sewage water treatment are still prioritised in urban development projects. The potential role of greenspace networks to manage flows is still not adequately recognised, because these are difficult to achieve in a large city, because of economic constraints (e.g. substitution of drinking water by rainwater), but also because workable concepts similar to the landscape ecological strategy are missing.

There are no strategy and targets to reduce the city's environmental footprint through functional greenstructures. On the other hand, the river Isar restoration project shows that great efforts are made to improve the condition of this most important greenbelt in the city. Similarly, small streams in the fenland areas are restored in a special programme.

In summary, greenstructure planning issues seem to have a relatively low priority as compared to economic and infrastructure issues. The Munich Perspectives do not contain clear criteria for setting priorities in the conflicts between urban densification and greenspace protection/ development. Are ecological programmes and plans just verbal greening?

Development in the city can be compared to a merry-go-round where infrastructures move from inner city locations to the urban fringe, and thus make place for new development in the inner city (e.g. the redevelopment of the exhibition centre). This process provides opportunities to create new, good quality housing in inner city locations and to remedy deficits of greenspace provision. In every round, however, the scale of new infrastructure developments increases (e.g. the new airport in the north of Munich as compared to the old one at Riem), and these infrastructures are sited on the fringe or in the surrounding countryside. Thus, inner city development is connected to an overall net loss of landscape on a regional scale.


City regional level

On the level of the city region, the regional plan includes a landscape programme (a programme accompanied by a map). Most of the open spaces around the city are designated as green belt areas (Fig. 17). However, greenbelts are mostly an instrument to control development whereas modern farming and a variety of other economic activities are not restricted in these green belts.

The City of Munich is now taking steps to co-operate with the farmers and other land users in the greenbelt areas to shift to extensive farming adopting ecological methods, to develop habitats corridors as well as a network of cycle tracks and footpaths for recreation. The city's forthcoming Ecological Guidelines (Leitlinie Ökologie) mention the greenbelt and restoring the fenland areas in the northwest as key issues.

In the north Munich plain, a heathland and a fenland society, respectively, were founded in the 1980s by the local authorities to help preserve these important landscapes. The Munich has just agreed to become a member of the heathland society. The heathland society is co-ordinating a programme for the restoration and linkage of the remaining heathlands. For this purpose, farmland was acquired between the remaining heathlands (Fig. 18). The fenland society is also involved in the restoration of the system of canals linking the summer residences of Nymphenburg and Schleißheim. . The heathland and the fenland society are quite successful efforts in this respect, however, their remit is limited and, therefore, would need backing up by a wider initiative. However, currently, there seems to be a lack of interest and vision of the different stakeholders in the region to engage in a strategic approach to develop a regional greenstructure.

How could a strategic vision look like? Friedrich Duhme, a landscape planner and ecologist at Munich Technical University, brought forward the idea to adopt the concept of a Biosphere Reserve as a guiding model for this purpose. To apply such a concept, which has been so far only implemented in a rural context, may seem strange at a first glance in an urban agglomeration. However, Biosphere Reserves are a concept, which may make it attractive also for a city region. While the most valuable natural areas require strict protection in Biosphere Reserves, these do not need to exceed 2-5 % of the designated area. The remnants of natural woodlands and fenlands and in particular of dry grasslands, which are unique in southern Germany should easily qualify to form the core habitats in the northern Munich Plain. Moreover, the northern Munich plain has a rich heritage of castles and the network of canals, and therefore is also an important cultural landscape. Yet, Biosphere Reserves place great emphasis on restoration and sustainable development of the cultural landscape in the buffer and transition zones. In this respect, the north of Munich could offer many opportunities to develop and implement models for a suburban landscape, including sustainable urban agriculture, recreation, and sustainable urban extensions.

Most importantly, a Biosphere Reserve would create a mechanism to co-ordinate development between local authorities and place the landscape at the centre of future development. As an example how this could look like Fig. 19 shows the results from a student project undertaken in 1994 where this concept was translated into a spatial strategy.

Would the concept of a Biosphere Reserve be acceptable for the local authorities? At the moment, the answer seems to be no. The name Biosphere Reserve alone already causes resistance in this growing region. However, the concept itself seems worth further discussion, even if taken forward under a different name.


In summary, Munich provides an example the challenges for greenstructure planning in a strongly developing agglomeration. Urban densification as well as strong growth in the city region threaten the greenspace resource and have negative environmental impacts. Interestingly, the overall cover of vegetated surfaces in the city, including farmland on the urban fringe account for 60% of the city's surface. Three layers could be distinguished which form the greenstructure of the city:

o The natural greenstructure

o The historical greenstructure, and

o The modern greenstructure

The distribution of greenspace within the city is closely related to the pattern of land uses and built structure. The city is characterised by a concentric structure with a densely built-up inner city and surrounding extensions from the late 19th and early 20th century which are largely deficient in greenspace. As a result, remnants of natural greenspaces are mostly fragmented and isolated from each other. While the river Isar forms a continuous greenbelt from south to north across the Munich plain, other natural greenspaces are rather islands in a matrix of built areas or intensive farming. Large parks can be found in a broad ring around the inner city.

Three major challenges were identified in this analysis from an ecological/ environmental perspective:

1. The protection and management of existing greenspace, in particular the natural greenspaces

2. The development of a functional greenspace network and remedy of greenspace deficiencies

3. Greenstructure development in the city region

The city is aware of these problems and responds with a mix of different instruments and measures. However, some particular problems could be observed:

o Knowledge base: While a good data base exists on habitats and wildlife, a monitoring system would be required to assess the complete greenspace resource and its environmental functions in the city. The role of greenspaces to improve the environment e.g. by removing air pollutants, or reducing air temperatures is still poorly explored and translated into greenstructure planning. Equally, the Linkages to issues such as health not yet established. Under climate change scenarios, the role of greenspace to mitigate the heat island effect, improve air quality should be addressed as a priority.

o Greenspace protection: although many of the habitats identified in the habitat survey could be protected as well as pulic greenspaec, there is still a loss of greenspace. In particular natural greenspaces such as wastelands are still not sufficiently recognised as a valuable asset.

o There is a clear tension in the City's vision for a 'Compact, Urban, Green' city between the wish to contain urban sprawl, on the one hand, and the need to protect the greenstructure and maintain quality of life. Plans and programmes for the creation of functional green networks exist but their implementation is difficult to achieve due to the pressure on and value of open space. Moreover, greenstructure planning issues seem to have a relatively low priority as compared to economic and infrastructure issues. While a set of standards exist to provide greenspace for recreation, ecological targets suggested in a landscape ecological strategy were only adopted in a general way. Are ecological programmes and plans just verbal greening?

o Land banking could prove to be an effective means, however, needs to be placed into a landscape framework.

o Regional greenstructure: To manage landscape in the city region will be the biggest challenge for the city and its neighbouring municipalities. The northern Munich plain is characterised by a chaotic, badly co-ordinated development. As a result, landscape quality is severely threatened. Currently, there is a lack of interest and vision to solve these problems. Landscape initiatives to protect and restore the heathlands and the fenlands are quite successful, however, an initiative of a wider remit would be required to address the overall challenges of this area. The concept of a Biosphere Reserve was presented here as a possible approach, which would merit further discussion.

Finally, it needs to be stressed that this paper concentrated on ecological and environmental aspects of greenstructure planning. Further dimensions such as the provision of greenspace for recreation, management of greenspace, and planning approaches would be equally important to address but would have gone beyond the scope of this paper.




Ahern, J., 1995. Greenways as a planning strategy. Landscape and Urban Planning 33: 131-155.

Ammer U., Martin K., 1990. Baumvitaliätserhebung der Landeshauptstadt München. In: LH München (Eds.) Umweltatlas München, see

Ammer, H., Ritter, G., 1990. Öffentliche Grünflächen und Wald. In: LH München (Eds.) Umweltatlas München, see

Arts G.H.P., van Buuren M., Jongman R.H.G., Nowicki P., Wascher D., Hoek I.H.S. (Eds.), 1995. Ecological networks. Landschap 95 (3), Special Issue.

Aßmann and Banse 1987

Barker G. (1997) A Framework for the Future: Green Networks with Multiple Uses in and around Towns and Cities. English Nature Research Report No. 256. English Nature, Peterborough.

Cook, E.A., 1991. Urban landscape networks, an ecological planning framework. Landscape Research 16: 5-17.

Duhme, F., Pauleit, S., 1992. Naturschutzprogramm für München. Landschaftsökologisches Rahmenkonzept. Geographische Rundschau, 44 (10): 554-561 (in German).

Frank and Schrey 1986

LH München, 1990 and later. Umweltatlas München. München, (Environmental Atlas for the City of Munich, in German), see

LH München, 1991a. Statistisches Jahrbuch München 1991. Hrsg. vom Statistischen Amt, München, 291 (Statistical Yearbook for the City of Munich, in German)

LÖK (Lehrstuhl für Landschaftsökologie, TU München: Duhme, F., Pauleit, S.), Büro Aßmann & Banse, Büro Haase & Söhmisch, 1990. Landschaftsökologisches Rahmenkonzept Landeshauptstadt München. Study for the Umweltschutzreferat, LH München, 2Vols., 142 + 402 pp., Freising, unpubl. report (Landscape Ecological Framework Programme for the City of Munich, in German)

Nowak et al., 2002a

Patsch J., Sammiller, E., 1997. Schutzgebiete und geschützte Objekte. In: LH München (Eds.) Umweltatlas München, see

Pauleit S., Duhme F., 2000. Assessing the Environmental Performance of Land Cover Types for Urban Planning. Journal of Landscape and Urban Planning 52 (1): 1-20.

Schönfelder P, Bresinsky A (1990) Verbreitungsatlas der Farn- und Blütenpflanzen Bayerns. Ulmer, Stuttgart.

Whitford et al. 2000;

Working Group 1A - Warsaw case study

May 01- notes

30 Oct 01

June 02 - notes











UK - benefits of nature


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Figures for the Munich case study, some figures are still missing, overall there are certainly still too many figures, at least if this is considered to be submitted to a journal. In this case, figures would also require to be translated into black and white.

Fig.1: Location of the Munich city region within Bavaria and zones of influence.



Fig. 2: Natural units in the North Munich Plain




Fig. 3: Castles linked by canals in the North Munich Plain



Fig. 4: Phases of urban development of the City of Munich




Fig. 5: Urban zones and aggregated habitat types




Fig. 6: Percentage cover of open space in urban morphology types


Fig. 7: Relation between species richness in Munich and the northern Munich plain and habitat distribution

Fig. 8: Relation between tree coverand quality in urban morphology types and the incidence of woodland bird species




Fig. 9: Relation between the cover of trees and shrubs and surface temperatures


Fig. 10: Urban development dynamics in Munich



Fig. 11: Urban development pressures in the northern Munich Plain - large scale landscape impacts


Fig. 12: Actors in the northern Munich Plain - landscape initiatives


Fig. 13: Urban morphology type mapping



Fig. 14: Munich Perspectives


Fig. 15: Landscape ecological strategy for the City of Munich (LÖK 1990, Pauleit and Duhme 1992)

Fig. 17: River Isar restoration project




Fig. 16: Regional greenbelts




Fig. 17: Heathland restoration programme



Fig. 18: Biosphere Reserve as a concept to develop a regional greenstructure?

Results from a student project in 1994

Working Group 1A - Comparison of Case Studies


Other papers relating to people/ ecology interface





Belgium - benefits for people

Sheffield to do




Ceské Budejovice

Comparison of case studies

UK - benefits of nature

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 updated Oct 2002