Accessibility and usability

Old industrial areas are often in the direct vicinity of residential areas and are connected to them in many ways. However there are still barriers re­maining from previous industrial use such as walls and gates, which block access if the owners of the areas do not wish to allow a public use. Inten­tionally opened areas on abandoned industrial lands such as the IBA pro­jects are freely accessible and equipped with a certain infrastructure for the users. Here too an interview shows how these new inner-urban open spaces are valued:

“The areas are of leisure value, the people get out of their narrow streets, see a bit more of the area and nature” (Interview with a resident of the Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord).

The aspect “industrial fallow land as leisure space for adults” is to be extented by two dimensions, which result from their past as a place of work: they can show an aesthetic-symbolic importance and influence the regional cultural awareness.

Aesthetic-symbolic importance

The photo campaigns on the abandoned industrial lands within the Ruhr have shown that the aesthetic dimension is perceived as a special charac­teristic of the area. The photographs taken mirror a variety of “personal views” regarding the industrial fallow land. A frequent theme chosen by the participants was the contrast between “wild” vegetation and remnants of the industrial past (Fig. 5).

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Fig. 5. Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord – “wild” vegetation vs. industrial past (summer 1998, photo from photo campaign)

Landscapes of this kind seem to be especially attractive for the visitors to the area due to the implicitly contained information. In the questioning, it became clear that nobody could resist the aesthetic stimulation of this contrast. When viewing the area, the respondents explained that they were impressed especially by the power of nature and the frailness of human production and that this picture gave them hope for the future.