Urban nature conservation

Urban nature conservation, as it was based significantly on the foundations of the Berlin urban ecology movement (cf. Wachter 2003, pp 91f), funda­mentally follows the same goals as general nature conservation set by the Bundesnaturschutzgesetz. In this way, urban nature conservation can not initially be differentiated from nature conservation in the ‘open’ landscape. However, a more open view of present changes in nature development is

Подпись: Fig. 2. Former Zollverein coal mine taken in comparison to the process conservation orientation described by Scherzinger. The colonization of non-native species as an expression of contemporary change, for instance, is accepted because urban nature is substantially determined by the dynamic urban diversity of uses and because the colonization of non­native species is typical of this. Reichholf holds a similar position (1996, 1997). In contrast to Reich – holf, however, in the urban nature conservation of the Berlin mold, the colonization of non-native species is not analyzed from a purely ecological perspective, but is also valued from a cultural-historic one (cf. Kowarik 2003).

Through urban ecological research, it has become clear that the city pre­sents a diverse and characteristic nature. Kowarik has divided this nature into four types. These four natures of the city represent broadly differenti­ated social uses and therefore, cultural forms with, in some ways, different historic dimensions. Nature of the first kind represents the remaining pri­meval wilderness, nature of the second kind agricultural nature, nature of
the third kind horticulturally designed nature for which different eras and styles can be distinguished, and nature of the fourth kind which represents urban-industrial nature (cf. Kowarik 2005).

Based on the clear dependency of urban nature on urban uses, these uses can not be understood per se as ‘disturbances’ of an ideal condition of na­ture, particularly because this ideal condition, as it is usually understood in conventional nature conservation, pertains to be a rural pre-industrial con­dition that exists in cities only in remnants. In addition to the cultural – historical dimension, the social, use-oriented and livability dimensions of urban nature conservation are particularly emphasized: “The goal is not to set aside as large areas of the city as possible and to declare them as ‘na­ture reserves’ and where possible fence them in order to deprive the public of the use of these areas for recreation” (Sukopp and Kowarik 1988, p. 48). The goal of ecological urban design is, far more, to improve, to augment or to create anew quality in the variety of green spaces. “Species and biotope conservation is not an end in itself, but rather an explicit part of this hu­man-oriented strategy” (ibid). It is usually said that, fundamentally, nature conservation – including the more narrow understanding – is there for hu­mans. Ultimately what matters is exactly what this is understood to mean and whether that finds acceptance with the public. For Berlin urban nature conservation, for example, this social orientation has the result that the ap­pearance of wear and tear in urban open-space vegetation due to intensive use is not seen as vandalism, but is tolerated (ibid, p 52). A moderate de­gree of disturbance is more often seen as increasing diversity (Kowarik 1993, p 19).

This view, which is in contrast to the characteristic understanding of na­ture conservation described in the Introduction in that it does not funda­mentally interpret the human use of nature as the ‘disturbance’ of an ‘in­tact’ nature, has significantly influenced the concept for the Schoneberger Sudgelande Nature Park (cf. Kowarik and Langer 2005). The concept for the Nature Park allowed for a distinction between the central nature con­servation area where visitors must keep to the paths and the surrounding landscape conservation areas. In the latter, open access to an experience of nature as unregulated as possible and to free children’s play was to be al­lowed in order to combine urban recreational uses with nature conserva­tion in a heavily settled inner-urban area (cf. Kowarik and Langer 2005). Nevertheless in the course of the maintenance of the Nature Park increas­ing attempts have been made to keep visitors on the paths throughout the park and thereby to assert a more narrow, predominantly species conserva­tion-oriented view of nature conservation (see Kowarik et al. 2004). The appropriateness of this maintenance policy is currently being discussed
with the highest nature conservation authorities and the first signs of a change of thinking are apparent.

In addition to the readiness to see the use of urban open space not as the destruction of nature, the cultural-historic dimension of urban nature con­

Подпись: Fig. 3. Schoneberger Sudgelande servation results in a basic willing­ness to cooperate with historic pres­ervation in order to preserve cultural heritage (cf. Kowarik et al. 1998). As well, cooperation with landscape architecture follows from its interest in urban quality of life and its acceptance of social func­tions of urban nature. The Berlin philosophy, in addition to the nature garden concept still to be discussed, has significantly influenced land­scape architectural work with the spontaneous development of nature in urban-industrial spaces. First, however, the links with the tradition of forest aesthetics will be pre­sented.

Updated: October 13, 2015 — 9:59 am