Stuttgart green U
Wu Liqun   May 08.2016


A series of garden shows held over 50 years has established a chain of greenspace in the form of the letter 'U'. It stretches north from the city centre and turns back on itself. Garden shows were held in 1939, 1950, 1961, 1977 and 1993. The 1939 and 1950 designs for the Killesberg quarry used a traditional Arts and Crafts approach with drystone walls and steps. Hans Luz and partners, as landscape architects, were involved in the other three garden shows. The 1961 scheme for the Upper Schlossgarten is a prime example of rectilinear abstract modernism - the outdoor equivalent of a cubist painting. The 1977 scheme is an example of curvilinear abstract expressionism. The 1993 design team, which included ecologists and social scientists, aimed at a more ecological approach for the Rosensteinpark, encouraging contact between people and nature. Walking from the city centre to the Rosenstein allows one to follow a textbook illustration of design evolution between 1939 and 1993.
Stuttgart green U

Reason to Be Selected

Cooling with green corridors.Stuttgart is a forerunner in the protection of greenspaces. Using green ventilation corridors and construction bans at strategic places, Stuttgart has not only protected its climate with winds that hinder overheating. It has also improved air quality and increased resilience against global warming. With the support of detailed local climate maps, Stuttgart has stopped planned construction totalling over 60 hectares in recent years.


greenspaces, overheating, air quality, climate maps, construction-bans
Stuttgart's work with climate maps goes back decades. The city sits in a basin of two river valleys, and therefore has problems with overheating and air quality (see also Vitoria-Gasteiz). That the city is also the centre of the German car industry does not make things better. Already in 1938, the problems were highlighted by a meteorologist hired by the city to analyse the local climate. The situation got worse in the 1970s and a more comprehensive effort began.

In 1992, Stuttgart published its first climate atlas. It showed how the topography and buildings influence the flowthrough of air. It was clear that the surrounding hills, up to 300 metres high, the nearby forests and the agricultural areas constituted the main sources of fresh air for the city. Stuttgart's topographical profile creates thermal winds at night down the hillsides and through the city. Problems were caused by increased construction on the hills, that replaced vinyards and trees, and thereby blocked the flow of air.

Climate atlas a cool tool
On the basis of the climate atlas, Stuttgart established an environmental office with the task to evaluate planned buildings' effects on the local climate, and develop control systems to protect key areas and increase the greenspaces in the city. The environmental office could use the support of national and regional legislation protecting greenspaces, and national building laws that after a 2004 revision integrated sustainability principles and even paragraphs on greenspaces and air quality.

The latest climate atlas from 2008 covers the entire Stuttgart region with its 2.7 million inhabitants. It shows in detail the flows of cold air and concentrations of air pollutants. It also categorises the local environment into eight types, based on significance for climate. Each type receives its own recommendations. In ventilation corridors for cold air, and in other open areas with large significance for the climate, no new construction is allowed. In built areas with large significance for the climate, increased vegetation and greenspace are recommended. In addition, the following principles guide planning:greenspaces shall surround buildings and larger interconnected green areas shall be protected and createdvalleys, hills, and hillsides shall not be built upurban sprawl shall be avoidedin connection with industrial building, air pollutants in the surrounding settlements shall be avoided
The green areas in Stuttgart are also protected by local regulations. The motto for Stuttgart's land-use plan for 2010 is urban-compact-green (see also Wellington). All larger trees in the city centre are protected. Since 1992 a programme lets inhabitants adopt trees. Since 1986, the city has subsidised green roofs, which has led to Stuttgart becoming a leader in the field, with more than 300,000 sq m of green roofs (see also Chicago and Malmö). More than 60% of Stuttgart's area is green area and more than 39% is protected – the highest percentage in Germany. The city has 5,000 ha of forest, with 65,000 trees in parks and 35,000 along streets. Since the 70s, the city has integrated green areas into a large green “U”, which now makes it possible to go through park environments all the way from the central royal gardens to the forests at the city's edges.

The most important result of the latest climate atlas is the prohibition of new construction on the hills around the city and in ventilation corridors, despite great interest from developers to build there. In the land-use plan from 2010, planned construction projects totalling more than 60 ha were stopped due to greenspace protection.

Spreading to other cities

Several other German cities have followed in Stuttgart's footsteps, among them Berlin, which has developed a comprehensive environmental atlas for the city. The idea has even spread internationally to places such as Kobe, Japan, which created a climate atlas as the basis for measures to promote sea breezes during daytime and thermal winds from the mountains at night.





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