“New Wilderness” as an Element of the Peri­Urban Landscape

Sigurd Karl Henne

muhlinghaus + henne, BfL Muhlinghaus Planungsgesellschaft mbH

Introduction

Before the industrial revolution, landscapes changes were often not noticed because of their slow rate. Since then the increasing speed of these changes and their scale have made them visible.

As a result of urbanisation of the landscape near larger cities, a lot of farmland has been changed into traffic networks, housing and production areas (Losch 1999). The dramatic loss of agricultural elements has also changed the visual impression of the peri-urban landscapes in central Europe. Step by step they are losing their rural character.

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Fig. 1. New areas with wild vegetation in the peri-urban landscape: long-term fal­low field near Karlsruhe, southwestern Germany

Kowarik I, Korner S (eds) Wild Urban Woodlands.

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005, pp 247-262

At the same time, sites with wild vegetation become part of the peri-ur­ban landscape. The growing number of these areas seems to indicate that wilderness is recapturing the landscape. But this new wilderness is differ­ent from the original wilderness that disappeared from central Europe cen­turies ago.

The following chapter tries to demonstrate that areas with spontaneous vegetation do not show only short-term signs of change. This new wilder­ness can become an important part of the peri-urban landscape in the fu­ture if concepts for its function and design are developed.