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Frank Lohberg

lohrberg stadtlandschaftsarchitektur, Stuttgart. Foundation of Bureau lohrberg stadtlandschaftsarchitektur in 2002. Work focuses on landscape planning and design in conurbations by promoting urban forestry and urban agriculture. Several projects, e.g. the Masterplan Emscher Landschaftspark 2010 in the Ruhr area.

Recultivation 21 – Defining the urban landscape with agriculture and forestry

“If the built is now out of control subject to permanent political, financial, cultural turmoil the same is not (yet) true of the unbuilt; nothingness may be the last subject of plausible certainties.” Koolhaas, Rem (1995): Small, medium, large, extra-large It was Rem Koolhaas with his innovative approach for the new city of Melun-Sénart who first pointed out that the modern city can no longer be definded by its building areas alone. Koolhaas suggested to use the open space to give the city a certain structure. Today his ideas are getting a new relevance. Because of an ongoing suburbanisation the cities have changed to various forms of new city landscapes: a mixture of housing, commercial, industrial and traffic areas and an open space in between. In Germany, more and more cities resp. conurbations are using that inbetween-open space as an infrastructure to enhance the quality of the whole region.

My office stadtlandschaftsarchitektur is involved in the work of the Emscher Landschaftspark in the Ruhr area and the Regionalpark Saar in the Saarland area. As their names are telling both parks are acting on a regional scale. The regional scale and the parks aim of a sustainable development is leading to the question how to integrate agriculture and forestry in the planning of open spaces.

Due to their limited funds public authorities are no longer able to acquire the land for public use. Out of the same reason a cheap maintenance of open spaces is getting more and more importance. If public authorities still want to offer public and accessible open spaces which could be easily maintained they have to cooperate with the private land owners or users. As the following examples are showing the idea of stadtlandschaftsarchitektur is to change two aspects in the field of landscape planning and agriculture resp. forestry.

1.) Agriculture and forestry should be treated as partners of the regional development. They should be enabled to build up the regional park on their own and to earn money from that.

2.) Landscape planning itself should be more openminded about forestry and agriculture. Especially Landscape x—Periments 16, x—LArch, Recultivation 21 – Neues Emschertal the intensification of agricultural landuse is too often regarded only as an impact on landscape but not as a chance to build up a new landscape.

to 1) Up to now foresters in urban regions still focus on the timber production. They do not ignore that forests in urban areas have a number of social functions, but these functions are only regarded as a restriction of the timber production. The foresters ignore that e.g. recreation and nature conservation could be new segments of income. Therefor my office helps the foresters in realising the whole economic potential of their woods and in offering a broader range of services to the public.

to 2) Landscape planning can be desribed as a “boomtown”-profession because it has its roots in the overuseof landscape. In times of a constant economic and demographic growth landscape planners developed nature conservation approaches and zoning concepts to protect the landscapes functions. In shrinking areas – and the Ruhr area is one of them – the situation changes totally. Instead of an overuse of the landscape more and more sites are becoming wasteland. A new wilderness can be found on these sites and many planners believe that wilderness is an appropriate model for treating all the new wastelands. But, the shrinking process is not only a spatial change, it is a social-economic change too. Because of many social problems (unemployment, movement of labour, brain drain) for the local people the new wilderness is posing a threat. It is seen as part of a general downcycling-process. To stop that process it is necessary to recultivate part of the wasteland. So my office developed several modells by using new forms of agriculture and forestry (biomass production, plug-in-gardening, …). The process of recultivation has just started but at its end the wastelands will have turned to a new form of public open spaces, combining the production of food or energy with the social needs of the regions‘ people and offering new images of a city landscape.