European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research -
COST Action C11
Case Study -Stephan Pauleit
Open spaces in the City of Munich:
The city area covers 31149 ha. 37 % of the city area were built-up according to official land use statistics (LH München 1991). However, this figure referred to contiguously built land including open spaces within. The actual built land was estimated to cover only 16 % (Pauleit and Duhme 2000). 19 % of the surface area was covered by asphalt or pavement, 6 % by bare soils (including gravel of railway lines), and 59 % of the city was covered by vegetation (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1.: Average cover of different surface types in Munich (source: LÖK 1983)
Arable land and detached housing encompass appr. 40 percent of all open spaces, public open spaces such as parks are only the fourth most important open space category (Fig. 2)
The percentage of open space and and the quality of open spaces varies greatly between land cover types. Fig. 3 shows that the percentage of vegetation is much higher in woodlands, arable lands and parks whereas most of the open space on roads, railways and in industrial areas is sealed or covered by bare soils.
Fig. 2.: Percentage share of land cover types share of total open spaces; the total sums up to 100 (source: LÖK 1983)
Fig. 3.: Mean cover of different surfaces in open spaces of land cover types. The remainder are built surfaces (source: LÖK 1983).
The performance and functions of the different land cover types need to be assessed in a differentiated way. For instance, bare soils on railway lines may contribute significantly to ground water recharge whereas they have little value for recreation. Therefore, the definition of urban greenstructure should be as value free as possible.
The criteria for the assessment of the performance of urban open spaces may be sorted into these broad categories. Economy could be added as a further dimension.
Urban site requirements means the different conditions for urban green spaces in European cities and towns, e.g. climatic regimes, socio-cultural background, history, economic frame conditions.
What are the main challenges for urban greenstructure?
A distinction may be made between challenges for urban greenstructure by urban development in the city and the city region which have a characteristic configuration of built spaces and greenstructure and a specific set of strength/ opportunities and weaknesses/ threats.
Inner city: historic cores and closed multistorey blocks from the 19th and early 20th century
Challenges: overall low cover/ deficits of public open spaces; deficit and low quality of private open spaces, e.g. in backyards; threats to heritage of historical gardens and parks: need to preserve, regenerate and manage.
Transition zone: mix of different land uses/ settlement types. The transition zone is often the result of quick and uncoordinated growth since the 1950. Moderate dynamics.
Challenges: managing infill development on private open spaces (housing, commercial areas), restoration of derelict land; improving access to open spaces; upgrading of open spaces on the grounds of public housing, shopping centres and in industrial areas, conservation of overall high biodiversity.
Urban fringe: predominantly agriculture/ forestry
Challenges: improving access to the land (agriculture, institutional land) and pathways from the city; accommodating urban development and new land uses (e.g. housing, retail centres and business parks; recreation facilities); upgrading of farmland (biodiversity, landscape character)
City region: Urban pressure zone:
Challenges: developing a greenstructure which (re-)creates landscape identity from the chaotic mix of remnants from natural, cultural, modern farming, urban and post-industrial landscapes; which accommodates the different land users, and which is a backbone for future development. Otherwise all the challenges listed for the urban fringe.
Fig. 5.: Challenges to urban greenstructure in the city and the city region (based on the case of the City of Munich)
The role of greenstructure planning is weak in the urban development process. To improve this situation:
the social, environmental and economic performance of greenstructure for urban sustainability need to be more clearly documented.
The effectiveness of planning concepts instruments, regulations, etc. for greenstructure planning need to be assessed. For instance, does the compact city model enhance preservation of the urban greenstructure? How effective is the greenbelt concept? Specific concepts, goals and targets for greenstructure planning are needed for effective preservation and improvement of the urban greenstructure in the different city zones and the city region.
All rights reserved - © S. Pauleit and COSTC11, 2001