In the near future, ongoing succession would have led to the complete reforestation of the Schoneberger Sudgelande (Fig. 8). Instead, the decision was made to maintain the rich diversity of form through maintenance and development measures. In certain areas, a few “ruderal woodlands” are to be given over entirely to succession to represent “urban wilderness”.
With various maintenance interventions, the planners of the group Oko – Con and Planland have created different stages of succession in neighboring parts of the site (see also Kowarik and Langer 2005). Phases of succession that normally would be experienced over the course of time, can be experienced here as one moves from one space to another. A path leads the visitor through the heterogeneous spaces of the nature park. In this way, as one moves through the space the mosaic of succession stages is experienced as a time sequence (Fig. 9).
Mosaic of different dynamics and ordering of heterogeneous spaces along a path
Different dynamics through graduated
ma nenance intervent ons
Process is reset
Process is stopped
Process is stopped
Process is delayed
Speed of the process
Spatial juxtaposition of different stages of succession
Idealized typical organized m chronologic al order
Movement throug the space
Fig. 9. Stages of succession, maintained by various interventions, are created in neighbouring spaces. The phases of succession that normally would be experienced over the course of time, can be experienced here as one moves from one space to another. As one moves through the space the mosaic of succession stages is experienced as a time sequence (after Grosse-Bachle 2003).
The natural dynamics of the Sudgelande are slowed, the succession delayed.
• In the area of the grasslands and tall shrubs, time seems to be stopped by a cyclical recreation of a particular state.
• In the grove-like stands of trees, time is slowed, succession is directed.
• In the wooded areas, the rate of the natural processes is undisturbed and corresponds to the inherent dynamics of the stand (Fig. 9).
The spatial qualities of the site are highlighted with design interventions that serve to illustrate the value of the site. Elements of the infrastructure, such as industrial relics, viewing points and rest areas are concentrated along an iron “boardwalk”, that only comes into contact with sensitive vegetation in a few spots. By bundling the functions in a single setting, large areas are kept free from intervention and space for undisturbed development is created (Fig. 10).
Fig. 10. Bringing together natural processes and guiding interventions: In neighboring spaces, the differing intensity of maintenance measures creates a cyclical dynamic, a directed dynamic or a dynamic indirectly influenced through use. In the “ruderal wild woodland”, the process continues undisturbed (after Grosse-Bachle 2003).
A new vision for the urban landscapes of regions in decline
The search for new strategies for designing with the dynamics of plants will acquire greater meaning in the future. One of the most important tasks of landscape architecture will be the development of new visions for the urban landscape of declining regions. In this context the question of how to create suitable, cost effective and aesthetically valuable designs using vegetation will acquire increasing relevance. For many wastelands, particularly coal and steel industrial sites, the most ecologically sensible and aesthetically appealing solution is to allow vegetation to grow on its own. For financial reasons, this is also often the only possible way.