Institute of Geography and Didactics of Geography, University of Dortmund
In post-industrial landscapes, “new wild woodlands” emerge as a result of far-reaching structural changes to regions that were formerly dominated by heavy industry. In the German Ruhr area, this process started earlier and with a greater intensity than in other parts of Germany. Thus, a greater potential for urban-industrial woodlands (“nature of the fourth kind” according to Kowarik 2005) and corresponding activities by local people has arisen in the Ruhr.
To develop innovative strategies for abandoned industrial land was a main goal of the IBA Emscher Park (International Building Exhibition of the Emscher Park). The conceptual approaches were aimed at providing the following functions in the post-industrial urban landscape (see Dettmar and Ganser 1999; Dettmar 2005 on the Project “Industriewald Ruhrge – biet”):
• Compensation function for the balance of nature
• Protection of species and biotopes and creation of a ‘preserve’ for endangered species
• Political-pedagogical function
• Experience of nature and open space for town dwellers
• Preservation and transformation of industrial-cultural landscapes
• Variety and beauty
• Ecology and aesthetics
• Process observation
The importance of abandoned industrial land as an abiotic and especially as a biotic resource has been demonstrated in several studies (Dett – mar 1992; Kowarik 1993; Ganser 1995; Rebele and Dettmar 1996). How-
Kowarik I, Korner S (eds) Wild Urban Woodlands.
© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005, pp 117-130
ever, less is known about the other functions and their potential for activities of the local population.