The Transformation of Industrial Sites to Recreational Areas - in Duisburg

Examples: RheinPark and Heinrich-Hildebrand-Höhe

Pre-University Paper, 2009

21 Pages, Grade: 1,8


Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2 The industrial History of Duisburg
2.1 Rise of Industry in Duisburg
2.2 Structural Changes concerning Industry in Duisburg
2.3 The Transformation of industrial Facilities to recreational Areas

3 RheinPark and Heinrich-Hildebrand-Höhe
3.1 Information concerning RheinPark
3.1.2 Ways offorming RheinPark
3.1.3 Future Plans for RheinPark
3.2 Information concerning Heinrich-Hildebrand Höhe
3.2.1 History of Berzelius Areal
3.2.2 Ways of fighting the Groundwater Threat ofthe Brownfields
3.2.3 Ways of attracting Visitors

4 Conclusions
4.1 RheinPark
4.2 Heinrich-Hildebrand-Höhe
4.3 Aftermath for Duisburg and its Inhabitants

5 Material
5.1 RheinPark
5.2 Heinrich-Hildebrand-Höhe

6 Bibliography

1. Introduction

This essay will be about the transformation of industrial sites to recreational areas in Duisburg. This will be done by taking a closer look on the projects “Heinrich Hildebrand-Höhe” and “RheinPark”. These two projects were chosen because they are relatively young projects and are located in the author's hometown.

For the given information concerning the two projects I mainly took into consideration current sources like newspaper articles, brochures by the city of Duisburg and art­icles from the Internet, mainlyfrom news pages. Regarding Duisburg's industrial his­tory I concentrated on books that could easily be found in the municipal library of Duisburg.

The topic was chosen due to the fact that I noticed more and more recreational areas emerging on former industrial ground in my immediate surroundings. This is the reason why I got interested in these projects. I wanted to know why and how they were built in a more detailed way than I already knew from newspapers and other media.

The essay is basically divided into three parts. First there is this introduction to intro­duce in my ways ofworking on the topic. In the second part there will be an overview on the industrial development in Duisburg to make the need of transforming industri­al areas better understandable. After that the aims and ways of the transformation from industry to recreation will be presented using the examples of the future design­ing program “IBA Emscher Park”. Thereafter, in the third part, information on the two projects from this essay's title in Duisburg will be given in a more detailed way.

In the case of Heinrich-Hildebrand-Höhe I also put the emphasis on the history ofthe area and ground due to the importance concerning the contemporary use. Regard­ing RheinPark I did not concentrate on that aspect because it does not affect today's use in a considerable way.

Finally there will be a conclusion on the topic highlighting advantages and disadvant­ages for the place of location Duisburg and for Duisburg's inhabitants.

2. The industrial Development of Duisburg

Duisburg's latest History is strongly connected to the changes in the Industry. It rose beginning in the mid 19th century due to the industrial revolution, had its most flour­ishing years in the 1950s and 1960s and began to shrink beginning in the 1970s until today.

2.1 Rise of Industry in Duisburg

Duisburg's steel industry began to rise in the mid 19th century when more and more railways were built. These railways were the basis of Duisburg's success in steel production. The good connections to the rivers Rhine and Ruhr were also an argu­ment to set up the industrial facilities in Duisburg1. Also the considerable coal and iron ore resources were a clear advantage of Duisburg1.All these locational factors made big steel companies like Krupp and Thyssen settle down in Duisburg.

In opposite to other cities of the Ruhr Area the industrial rise was not mainly triggered by mining but also by the chemical industry. Already in 1824 the first Ger­man sulfuric acid factory was set up in Duisburg-Kasslerfeld which constituted the rise ofthe chemical large scale industry2.

To satisfy the need of coal for the steel production mining companies evolved begin­ning in 1850. In 1866, 490 miners in one mine extracted 800t stone coal a day3.

Indeed chemical production took place in the industrializing Duisburg, however the steel and mining industries were dominating3.

2.2 Structural Change concerning Industry

After the industrial facilities had been rebuilt successfully very rapidly after World War II, Duisburg's economy was in a really good condition. Due to the “Wirtschaft- swunder”-years (the 1950s) the production and employment increased significantly. From 1950 to 1958 35.000 new jobs were created in industrial companies. The total number was 105.000 employees in 19583. Duisburg was economically very strong at that time. The GDP in 1957 was 48% higher than in the whole of Germany.

Beginning in 1957 the situation began to change, initiated by the coal crisis. Because of an increasing importance of oil and gas coal began to lose its importance. This fact led to the closing of multiple mines.

The high steel demand compensated that development. There were still enough jobs in the steel production branch.

Beginning in the 1970s until today a huge steel crisis took place. Due to the fact that the German government prohibited the import of foreign coal whereas German coal was too expensive to be used for profitable steel production, Duisburg's steel output declined.

In other European countries high subsidies were given for non profitable steel pro­duction facilities whereas German steel companies received only a very small amount of money by the state. In 1980 steel companies in other European countries, like France, Italy and Belgium, received 206 to 235 Deutsche Mark per ton rolled steel. German rolled steel was only subsidized with 17 DM per ton.4

Duisburg as well suffered from the worldwide decreasing demand for steel and the worldwide decreasing transport costs and as a consequence ofthat more companies ordering coal from elsewhere. Also the increasing costs for environmental issues and wages, made it hard for Duisburg to compete4.

The aim of rise in productivity and the improvement of competitiveness made many high ovens close. In 1986, there were only 42.000 people still working in the steel sector. This number decreased significantly until today. At the present point of time only 20.000 people work in the steel branch5.

The negative development in the steel industry also caused the loss of jobs and in­solvencies in supplier companies. This situation caused a high unemployment rate and a high number ofvacant industrial facilities in Duisburg.

2.3 The Transformation of industrial Facilities to recreational Areas

Due to the fact that more and more vacant industrial facilities came to existence, the question how to cope with these unused areas arose. An important establishment with the aim to transform vacant industrial areas was the future designing program “IBA Emscher Park” (International building exposition/ Internationale Bauausstellung) that took place in the Ruhr Area from 1989 to 19996. Its main aim was to improve the living standard and residence conditions and resulting from that the image of the re­gion and the 17 affected cities located along the Ruhr. Two of the seven more particular goals were the preservation of industrial sites and the creation of new forms of living.

In the context of the “IBA Emscher Park” 120 projects took place concerning social, cultural, commercial, urbanistic and landscaping topics. These projects were seen as a model for later use also in other regions.7

To form an attraction for tourists and inhabitants of the Ruhr Area the “Route der In­dustriekultur” (route of industrial culture) was established. This itinerary connected important projects ofthe IBA.

One of these important projects was for example “Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord”. It consists of 200ha areal of industrial facilities like high ovens, that was transformed into an industrial museum and a place for different leisure amenities and sports. Vis­itors can frequent the original places where in former times employees worked and get an impression how this was like. They also can dive in an old gas container that is now filled up with water or climb on parts of the old facilities. In the summer there is even an open air cinema in the Landschaftspark Nord. To increase the attractive­ness the high ovens are illuminated at night12.

Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord also was responsible for the creation of many new jobs like gardeners and guides.

Another IBA project located in Duisburg is “Innenhafen Duisburg” (inland harbor Duisburg). An area characterized by vacant grain reservoirs was transformed into a multi functional place with service, business, residential and leisure function. Discos, restaurants, offices and residential areas located around the water are typical for this project.8

These projects are only two examples of multiple projects where old industrial facilit­ies were reconstructed pursuing the goal to create an innovative ambiance with profit for the people and without giving away the facility's old identity.


1 Müller 2000

2 Roden 1975, S. 187f

3 Heid, Kraume, Lerch, Milz, Pietsch, Tromnau, Vinschen 1996, S.372f

4 Ausschuss für Öffentlichkeitsarbeit der Niederrheinischen Industrie und Handelskammer Duisburg 1987, S.57f

5 Hofritz 2004

6 Ministerium für Städtebau und Wohnen, Kultur und Sport des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen

7 Fuchs 1999, S. 46

8 Gatermann

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The Transformation of Industrial Sites to Recreational Areas - in Duisburg
Examples: RheinPark and Heinrich-Hildebrand-Höhe
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Erdkunde, Geopgraphy, Duisburg, Industrieanlange, Industriekultur, Strukturwandel, Rhein, RheinPark, Umstrukturierung, Montanindustrie, Transformation, Recreation, Naherholungsgebiete
Quote paper
Lukas Fiedler (Author), 2009, The Transformation of Industrial Sites to Recreational Areas - in Duisburg, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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