Naturalness and Diversity

The naturalness of abandoned industrial land manifests itself in the spon­taneous regeneration and undisturbed development of vegetation over the course of many successive stages up to woodland. The variety of the vege­tation of these woodlands is increased by seasonal changes. Moreover the massive, diverse interventions of industry have had a profound effect on the forms of the surfaces, such as excavations, compaction and embank­ments (dumps, basins), so that the relief of these areas is often clearly structured. This naturalness and diversity in the IBA Emscher Park stands out not only in contrast to urban construction, but especially in contrast to the remaining structures of the former industrial use. Here is a quotation from an interview with a resident of the Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord: “How I see the area? Like a sort of paradise garden. Because all the time some­thing new appears, you can observe something different growing at every time, and the colours, it is an enormous gorgeous variety. That is the fascinating thing about it. The transitions of the seasons in spring and the autumn are pure, that is, they are totally extreme and wonderful.”

Character

Woodlands on the urban fringe are characterised by the extraordinary and varied juxtaposition of new nature with the remnants of industrial use (buildings, machines, dumps, etc.). Once these elements are understood as aesthetic symbols of the transformation of the area, they catch the attention of the viewer and trigger the demand for more detailed information about the development of the area. Here is another extract from an interview with a resident of the Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord:

“I think the attraction is that when nature claims something back, it is what we all see and feel, it is not a piece of wood which had always been there before, which we regarded as a damaged and contaminated ground. That somehow counts double for me.”