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Landscape of Differences: strategic vision for Berlin-Brandenburg 2070

Imagining Berlin-Brandenburg life in 2070, with water and landscape systems as the cornerstone infrastructure of resilient living.

Region

Europe and Northern America

Date

2020

Service

Regional Development and Metropolitan Strategies

Competition Winner

Project Details

Location

  • Berlin, Oranienburg (Germany)

Type

  • Competition

Client

  • Architekten- und Ingenieurverein zu Berlin-Brandenburg e.V. (AIV)

Partners

  • Fabulism

Surface

ha

Why?

We love vision projects. They allow us time with our imaginations. They test our values and ideals as an urban planning studio. “Landscape of Differences: strategic vision for Berlin-Brandenburg 2070” was exactly this.

With this project we moulded our own strategic lens. Marked are own parameters: red lines, so to speak. We chose the guiding light: the climate is changing, and water, the epitome of life in the region, is changing with it. What then can the future look like?

Landscape of Differences Vision

It is pointless to attempt to predict the political, cultural, or economic developments of the next 50 years. A quick look at the past makes that clear. However, there are challenges that we know will persist well beyond 2070. We know that the climate will change, and that, on average, Brandenburg will become warmer and drier. We know that this will have consequences for food production and biodiversity and that structures in the industrial, agricultural, and energy sectors will have to adapt to these new realities.

Landscapes, water systems, and bio-systems will also change. This transformation will last decades. It can build on the strengths of the Berlin-Brandenburg landscape. The lakes and rivers serve as the backbone of a cultural landscape that is characterised by heterogeneity and poly-centricity. The ‘Landscapes of Differences’ concept suggests initiating a long-term transformation process of these systems to ensure a resilient and productive future for Brandenburg and Berlin.

This transformation creates the framework in which the lives of citizens, including all their social and economic facets, can freely unfold and remain secure well into the future. Starting with the Brandenburg ecosystems, this transformation forms the basis for systemic and sustainable change. This transformation process is reflected in four landscapes.


Landscape of Differences. Vision map for Berlin-Brandenburg in 2070

Water Landscape

The water landscape shapes and connects Brandenburg and Berlin in industry, biodiversity, agriculture, energy, transport, and culture.

Brandenburg, largely in the Elbe catchment area, has the second lowest water availability per capita in Europe. Climate change will exacerbate this: reduced rainfall and increased evaporation in summer will make Brandenburg even drier, interrupted by more frequent heavy rain events, which in turn burden water bodies and soils.

Therefore, we see Berlin-Brandenburg as a network of water cycles, focusing daily life around water. A system of green-blue corridors protects wildlife habitats and increases biodiversity. Waterways and moorlands are protected; monocultural large-scale agricultural areas are transformed into restorative farming. These elements form a circular economy for land use.

Urban Landscape

Berlin's main traffic arteries have conditioned the radial settlement structure of Berlin, preserving open spaces and preventing traffic collapse through densification along public transport axes. However, the settlement star alone does not do justice to the diverse character of the Berlin and Brandenburg region. A more flexible and diverse structure is needed.

Therefore, the network of the water landscape penetrates and supports the star-shaped settlement of the 19th and 20th centuries. Intersections arise, at which new strong centers emerge, growing together into networks: Berlin and Brandenburg, nature and city, are linked into a landscape of differences of natural and man-made spaces.

There is no more urban sprawl, and the existing settlement structure is densified and transformed at existing and new nodes: These are the centers of tomorrow – not suburbs, but focal points with a unique quality of life, urban vibrancy, in nature and by the water.

Berlin-Brandenburg is characterized by its the star shape of the 19th century city versatility and decentralization. Strengthening and and networking of micro-centralities ensures resilienceand flexibility

Energy Landscape

The supply of energy is decentralised: harvested from wind, sun, and water. Solar panels and wind turbines are integrated into the landscape, where wind speed, soil conditions, topography, and settlement structure is most optimal. Decommissioned industrial areas serve as decentralised energy storage sites.

Shorter commutes avoid transport losses, decentralisation increases resilience, surpluses are fed into the grid, oil and gas play no role anymore, CO2 neutrality is the norm. Citizen electricity and energy communities based on an intelligent grid system make energy production accessible to all.

The startegy for Energy Landscape includes set of solutions - represented in intervention toolbox, for regenerating old systems into new, multipurpose and nature-friendly infrastrucres.

Toolbox of solutions for regenerating spaces and infrastructure

Mobility Landscape

The current average speed of motorized traffic in Berlin is 20 km/h. This is achievable by (e-)bike. Berlin households own fewer motor vehicles on average than in other German cities. We are on the right track. The empty streets of the Corona crisis (2020 to 2021) gave us a glimpse of what can be: streets as space and place for play and sports.

But: Technological development is unclear. We do not know which mobility solutions will prevail. What is clear is that mobility will change, that cars and individual transport will no longer play the main role, that autonomous driving will increase.

Therefore, we design conditions for more sustainable mobility. This means expanding the bicycle network and making it suitable for fast e-mobility, creating space for inter-modality hubs for switching between modes of transport (collective, public, individual), restricting individual motorized traffic, directing heavy traffic specifically onto transport axes and waterways, and repurposing the resulting areas as public spaces, as well as upgrading street spaces as shared surfaces for various future modes of mobility.

To illustrate these concepts and how they are translated into different contexts, we have selected three sub-areas: medium-sized city, nature reserve, and high-density urban area. They are explained in the following sections.

Landscape of Differences. Regional strategy presentation

Vision Focus Areas

Oranienburg. Medium Size Urban Settlement

It is a typical example of the complexity of the region: different urban structures, active and decommissioned industrial facilities, and diverse water-permeated landscape meet here.

Thus, we envision a denser city around the landscape network along Lehnitzsee, Havel, and Havel Canal. A biomimicry water management collects and recycles precipitation, buffers, infiltrates, and discharges during heavy rain events. This cools the city in hot summers and preserves soil nutrients.

Redesigning a section of a settlement star and the city in Brandenburg. Oranienburg concept map

The intermodal transport concept relies on a combination of regional public transport connections with high frequency and a dense network of (e-)bike routes. A productive park is being created on Sachsenhausener Straße, combining urban agriculture, sustainable production, and urban living.

At the southern end of Lehnitzees, the former industrial site is rehabilitated, and the soil cleaned. One part of the area is transformed into an urban park with recreational amenities; the other into a mixed-use residential area. In the north, towards Kuhbrücke, there is an energy park, where energy produced in the surrounding area is converted into hydrogen and stored. East of the Lehnitz lock, a research center for water management is established.

Concept Diagrams of Oranienburg Case. From left to right: Blue-Green Network, Land-Driven Polarities, 5km intermodal nods.
Floating services

Teltow-Flämin. Regional Park

The district is characterised by rivers, artificial canals, large scale agriculture, shrinking and lively villages, polluted waters, monoculture forests, and losses in biodiversity. It is Brandenburg’s most agriculturally productive district. We image the transformation of the spatial and functional systems of the landscape into circular economy system.

The Trebbin Water Landscape Park is part of the overarching regional ecological corridors. It protects and uses the landscape, biosystems and water bodies for energy, leisure, and food production. Small-scale organic farming replaces monoculture farming, a system of water storage, infiltration, purification and recycling allows for drinking water quality and water supply. A green energy system produces wind and solar energy and networks production sites with decentralised energy storage systems. The area is turned into a regional park. It continues to accommodate commercial and service locations as well as industrial production facilities, but also aims stimulate the biological balance and not burden it.

Concept Diagram for Regional Park. Blue-Green Network and Energy Communities

Kreuzberg. High Density Urban Area

Our concept, for high density urban area was represented by Kreuzberg Confetti. It enhances the district's building typology-mix to a supermix, showing that urban density and living with nature are not contradictory.

Spaces gained from car-free superblocks, become green commons. Mobility becomes multimodal, switching is made easy, and sharing models increase. Lenné's Luisenstädtischer Canal is reopened and expanded, Mariannenplatz, Waldeckpark, and Böcklerpark expand into a park system.

Konfetti Kreuzberg

Rainwater is collected and directed to cool the city: Flooding events are buffered by decentralized filtration in park areas, swales, tree pits, and retention spaces. The attractive green spaces invite sports and play, the air quality is excellent.

To close, we envision targeted densification without further soil sealing, expanded, and repurposed at the ground level. Structures from the 70s, International Building Exhibition (IBA), and Gründerzeit (Founder Epoch) integrate without losing character.

Concept Diagrams for High Density Urban Quarter. From left to right: Car free quarter, Green-Blue network, Confetti strategy.
Konfetti Kreuzberg vision map. Our concept elevates the mixed environment in Kreuzberg into a ‘super-mix’ environment, demonstrating that urban density and living in nature are compatible with each other.