ong>Metropolisong> on the Rhine
Urban development and city planning
2015 | 2020 | 2025
on the Rhine
Thomas Geisel | Dieter Nellen | Cornelia Zuschke
The city in the twenty-first century
DIETER NELLEN | CORNELIA ZUSCHKE
18 Strategy and program
Strategies, programs, and projects
1 Innovation through intervention: Blaugrüner Ring open space planning
25 International competition “Blaugrüner Ring” (Blue-green Ring)
31 Renaissance of the European city ANDREAS KIPAR
2 City and culture
40 Culture and urban development HANS-GEORG LOHE
44 Internationalization and profiling. Discussion with Professor
Karl-Heinz Petzinka about ong>Düsseldorfong> as a “city of the arts” DIETER NELLEN
3 In tandem: strategies for urban development and transport
51 Raumwerk D and Mobilitätsplan D: two development strands, one DNA
53 Raumwerk D
54 Mobilitätsplan D
Height with scale and quality: or why it is so
4 important to design the third dimension of the city
56 CHRISTA REICHER
5 The responsible city
70 CORNELIA ZUSCHKE
6 Communal infrastructure projects
77 Infrastructure and urban development
79 U81: faster connections in the region — easing the burden on the inner city
80 Wehrhahn line: transport project with artistic aspirations and added value for the inner city
82 The new face of the exhibition grounds
84 ong>Düsseldorfong> Airport City: globally networked and regionally connected
7 The city, the Rhine, and new quarters on the waterfront
96 KAI FISCHER
8 Urban upgrade
119 Kennedydamm as development axis: restructuring and new perspectives in the north
129 Völklinger Straße: the southern gateway to the city center
136 Reclaiming the inner city
142 Renaissance of the station district
9 Reurbanization in the middle of the city
152 CHRISTOPH INGENHOVEN
10 ong>Metropolisong> for living: strategies and operative avenues
158 KAI FISCHER
11 Pioneer for the school of the future
174 BURKHARD HINTZSCHE
184 Planning the city from the standpoint of the economy
186 A new highlight on the Rhine: House of History
North Rhine-Westphalia in the Mannesmann building
by Peter Behrens
190 ong>Metropolisong> on the Rhine: well-placed as a West German metropolis
Discussion with Mayor Thomas Geisel
The city in the twenty-first century
URBAN GROWTH IN THE METROPOLIS BY THE RHINE
German agglomerations — the “Big Seven”: Berlin, ong>Düsseldorfong>, Frankfurt, Hamburg,
Cologne, Munich, Stuttgart — are currently enjoying high demand, growing demographically,
and reaching European metropolitan dimensions. ong>Düsseldorfong> is also
benefiting from investments and settlements. The political center of the federal state
of North Rhine-Westphalia stars as a top city in pertinent real estate rankings and, coupled
with the fields of business, tourism, and sports, is drawing increasing (inter-)
Many buildings, spaces, residential districts, formats, and infrastructures are
being newly developed in the city. ong>Düsseldorfong> — undoubtedly not as the only German
municipal entity — is experiencing a significant urban and economic development
drive. The inner city is growing and increasing in density. Its appearance — we
like to speak of urban morphology — is becoming more distinct at prominent and
strategic places such as Gustaf-Gründgens-Platz, the main station and its surroundings,
the Media Harbor, as well as at the northern and southern gateways to the city.
In particular the city center, as the distinctive core of every European city, is to
be given new accents through the elements of water, greenery, and open space, along
with an upgraded transport infrastructure and an established cultural profile. The
renovation of the Schauspielhaus has been completed, with structural upgrading of
the opera, Kunstakademie (Art Academy), and Kunstpalast to follow. There are plans
for a national photography center.
The state of North Rhine-Westphalia is planning a museum on the banks of the
Rhine to document its now seventy-five-year history and is thinking about a stronger
architectural profile for the capital city of Germany’s most populous federal state.
The southern city center around the Landtag (state parliament), a government district
that is not just functional, has been upgraded with a special urban development
As part of the urban restructuring of the area around the main railway station
and the former Derendorf freight yard, new urban districts are being developed (Le
Quartier Central, Grand Central), which enable economic growth, residential comfort,
central accessibility, and an urban way of life.
The railway-related infrastructure of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region is being
developed concurrently: three stops (at the airport, main railway station, Benrath train
station) of the Rhine-Ruhr Express (RRX) are planned as a rapid rail connection
(every fifteen minutes). The journey times to and from ong>Düsseldorfong> will be shortened
and the frequency of connections doubled.
The structurally already completed Wehrhahn line, a masterpiece of engineering
and construction, is an orthogonal strip of mobility laid straight through the city
center and further into the south. The future U81 subway line, a major infrastructure
project for ecofriendly mobility in the next decade, will create the conditions for an
organic city extension. In a first construction phase, the line will link the airport and
the exhibition grounds, before crossing the Rhine with its north-western stretch. The
districts and neighboring communities that it serves will be brought closer to the
METROPOLIS ON A EUROPEAN SCALE
The following applied up until now: “In the last thirty years, ong>Düsseldorfong>’s urban
development has been characterized by structural change from an industrial city to
a commercial, service, media, and communications city” (city of ong>Düsseldorfong> 2005).
In the twenty-first century, the narrative for ong>Düsseldorfong> is being extended: the
structural change will continue and drive the city’s development — towards being a
metropolis in the most significant core region of North Rhine-Westphalia with an urban
character and amidst a European river landscape. Popular European metropolises are
preferably situated by major waterways.
Owing to the airport and exhibition grounds, the city is already assuming im portant
gateway functions for its regional catchment areas and for the transnational
economy. Overall, it boasts significant potential and the competences of a European
metropolis, especially together with its strong neighbors in the Rhine and Ruhr area.
According to the European spatial planning categories, ong>Düsseldorfong> is part of the
Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region (together with Cologne-Bonn and the Ruhr metropolis
bordering to the north-east). 11.5 million people call it their home. In addition,
the regional capital created the strategic association Metropolregion Rhein land e. V.
(Metropolitan Region Rhineland) in 2015 as a contributing partner. This development
agency comprising significant institutional partners does not only want to ad -
mi nistrate but views itself as “an association of those willing to act, who feel a bond
with the Rhineland, and want to engage in projects for the Rhineland. Currently, the
ong>Düsseldorfong> planning region with the Wesel district and the city of Duisburg, as well
as the whole administrative region of Cologne, form the spatial framework for the
Rhineland metropolitan region.”
HISTORY AND FUTURE IN THE CITY OF DÜSSELDORF
The historical ground plan of the old city center, baroque architecture, court gardens
and green areas, Gründerzeit districts, architecture from the New Objectivity era
(1920s) as inner-city solitaires or ensembles, an elegant and quality-conscious postwar
modernity, the banks of the Rhine, and high-class office and business locations
continue to characterize the image of the city.
People love living and working here, like its modest urbanity and intimacy despite
its size. It is no coincidence that increasing numbers of tourists are coming to the city
for various reasons. ong>Düsseldorfong> does not need to reinvent itself as an attractive city.
Its history, topography, and morphology are all advantageous. ong>Düsseldorfong> is a city
with a favorable mix for working and living, whose urban cement has always been the
close bundling of all urban functions. Similar to its Rhineland sister city, the cathedral
city of Cologne, ong>Düsseldorfong>, together with the state of North Rhine-Westphalia,
already accomplished the return to the major river that shaped it decades ago. The
separating transport axes along the river shore have been rerouted through generous
tunnels to restore their original transit function.
At the same time, cities are constantly evolving. For this reason, those metropolitan
special features that have already endowed ong>Düsseldorfong> with global charisma
Strategy and program
MAYOR OF DÜSSELDORF
The changing city: city planning as a mirror
of economic development
In ong>Düsseldorfong>, structural change has always been the starting point for innovation
and progress. Since the end of the nineteenth century, the city has succeeded in
holding a leading position in industrial and economic development, without needing
to resort to structural aid or subsidies for dying industries.
The economic rise of the city started with heavy industry and pipe production.
Soon ong>Düsseldorfong> became home to the headquarters of important corporations — the
metaphorical “desk of the Ruhr area” — and developed into the second most important
banking and finance center in Germany, which it still is today. With the second
industrial revolution, ong>Düsseldorfong> became an internationally significant cluster for the
information and communications industry. Nearly all the major players in this market
have established important branches in ong>Düsseldorfong>; in the meantime, this includes
the leading Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE, which in recent years have created
more than 1,000 highly qualified jobs in the North Rhine-Westphalian state capital.
ong>Düsseldorfong> is home to the headquarters of high-caliber service companies —
practically all law firms, business consultancies, and accounting firms of significance
reside in attractive locations in the city. Those working in the creative sector have
always had their place in ong>Düsseldorfong> — to which the city owes its reputation as the
fashion and advertising capital of Germany.
ENGINE OF GROWTH
Over the decades, a both modern and diverse — and therefore crisis-proof — economic
structure has therefore developed, to which the city owes a top position in trade tax
revenue. Of course, this does not mean that we can simply rest on our laurels. Instead,
the state capital regards economic strength and prosperity as breeding ground on
which innovation and progress can continue to grow and flourish. In recent years,
ong>Düsseldorfong> has therefore set about developing itself into an entrepreneurial city, or
in modern terms: a start-up hub, with considerable success!
In view of this, it is hardly surprising that the city is growing. In recent years, on
average around 5,000 — mostly highly qualified — jobs subject to social insurance
contributions have been created in ong>Düsseldorfong> per year, and this job growth naturally
also leads to a population increase. Since the beginning of the 1980s — at the time it
was the spirit of the times to turn one’s back on the cities — ong>Düsseldorfong> has already
grown from around 570,000 to around 640,000 inhabitants today. According to current
estimates, the 700,000-threshold will be exceeded by the middle of the century.
It goes without saying that the dynamic economic development and the resulting
population growth also have an impact on city planning.
Where in the past — such as in Oberbilk — the chimneys of steel and pipe factories
belched out their smoke, attractive housing and service centers have now been
built. On the former Rheinmetall site in Derendorf, tanks and cannons have not been
built for a long time. Instead, one can now find the Unternehmerstadt Derendorf, a
STRATEGIEN, PROGRAMME UND PROJEKTE_X
Innovation through intervention:
Blaugrüner Ring open space planning
“Blaugrüner Ring” (Blue-green Ring)
ong>Düsseldorfong> is a polycentric city in which highly dense areas are interwoven with loose village-like
developments and generous open spaces as an entity. The Rhine forms a central
distinctive feature that — largely in its wide riverbed — meanders through the city. Apart from
this natural river structure, the outdoor spaces of the city are also characterized by horticulture.
Especially Maximilian Friedrich Weyhe (1775–1846) left his mark and created a belt of
historical cultural parks and green areas, which previously wrapped like a closed semicircle
around ong>Düsseldorfong>’s inner-city area to the east. Distinctive elements of this green ring have
been preserved up until today and lend the old city and city center their special atmosphere.
At the same time, the city’s important art and culture institutions are spread across this
green carpet: the Schauspielhaus, opera house, Kunstakademie, or the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen
(art collection of North Rhine-Westphalia), to name but a few. However, up
until now people have perceived them more as solitaires and less as a coherent cultural landscape
with intensive relationships among each other and with the green areas that surround
them. This may seem surprising, because the cultural icons, in some cases housed in historical,
listed buildings, are linked with the green areas to form a unique strolling promenade around four
The particular potential of the open space, combined with the networking and development
potential surrounding ong>Düsseldorfong>’s culture scene, forms the core of the competition
“Blaugrüner Ring” that was held from July 2018 to December 2019. The competition required
the establishment of a relationship between the city and the river, whilst embracing the great
art and culture institutions built alongside each other within a small area in the old city and the
center of ong>Düsseldorfong>. Dormant potential was to be awakened, filled with life, and brought into
The Blue-green Ring is delineated by the landscape areas of the inner-city fabric: the
Rhine, the “blue,” was to be brought together with the “green,” i.e. the ring fragments of the
Hofgarten park, Königsallee, and Haroldstraße. Short connecting paths were to be created,
The Kaiserteich pond at the southern end of the Blaugrüner Ring
5, 6 KUNSTAKADEMIE
9 MUSIKPAVILLON HOFGARTEN
10 KUNSTVEREIN MALKASTEN
11 KUNSTSAMMLUNG NRW, K20 GRABBEPLATZ
12 D’HAUS DÜSSELDORFER SCHAUSPIELHAUS
14 MAHN- UND GEDENKSTÄTTE
16 DEUTSCHE OPER AM RHEIN
18 FILMMUSEUM BLACK BOX,
HETJENS – DEUTSCHES KERAMIKMUSEUM DÜSSELDORF
21 HOUSE OF HISTORY NORTH RHINE-WESTFALIA
22 KIT – KUNST IM TUNNEL
23 APOLLO VARIETÉ THEATER
24 KUNSTSAMMLUNG NRW, K21 STÄNDEHAUS
The Blue-green Ring:
a unique artistic and cultural landscape lies dormant in a prime location—
a museum and strolling mile along ong>Düsseldorfong>'s most beautiful squares,
sceneries, and cultural locations.
7 9 10
CITY AND CULTURE
Culture can be an important partner for solving problems: cooperation with art and culture,
cultural creators and artists, as well as cultural institutions with all their creative potential and
competences, is constructive and effective in light of the current challenges that cities face.
Positive experiences have already been made in many European cities where this cooperation
is consciously integrated into the conception of new urban development approaches and concepts.
It is about a joint interdisciplinary and interdepartmental, open-minded learning process
— a classical win-win situation. The cultural actors in ong>Düsseldorfong> offer every opportunity
1 State capital ong>Düsseldorfong> (ed.), Abschlussbericht zur Kulturentwicklungsplanung:
Ergebnisse und Maßnahmen, 2017, www.kep-duesseldorf.de
Restaurant at the Belvedere
STRATEGIES, PROGRAMS, AND PROJECTS
THE NEW KUNSTPALAST, EHRENHOF 4–5
Kunstpalast outdoor area: Ehrenhof with gastronomy at the Belvedere, planting of green areas
State capital ong>Düsseldorfong>
Total approx. 9,000 m2
IN TANDEM: STRATEGIES FOR URBAN DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSPORT
the most important transport questions. These questions were condensed into virulent and
direct issues and developed into fields of action. On this basis, the Mobilitätsplan D is conceived
as a comprehensive transport development plan. However, as a lot more content was
input than just the questions to be worked on, which should not be neglected as a contextual
perspective, additional issues are included in topic pools or expert groups and processed in
Overall, in the different joint events of the two synchronized but nevertheless individually
developed processes, it repeatedly became clear: urban development must not take place without
smart mobility and, vice versa, mobility development must not take place without smart city
The works, their results, and the participatory structures are set up so that the concepts
provide a viable basis for discussion and decision-making but are not conclusively complete.
They can be adjusted or adapted to current issues and questions. At the same time, however,
both works are to show that it is important to take a well-founded approach and to find, rolespecific
but jointly, a processing structure so that all the powers of society contribute adequately
to the work.
The works of Mobilitätsplan D and Raumwerk D are described individually in the following,
as each process follows its own structure and method.
1 Raumwerk D will be ong>Düsseldorfong>’s urban development concept and thus a new framework for future city planning.
Mobilitätsplan D will be a mobility-related development concept. The titles of these city-wide concepts are a kind
of proper names and will not be translated in the following.
Raumwerk D—at the professional event on July 10, 2018, experts discussed key issues.
Raumwerk D: Collecting feedback! Intermediate presentation of the spatial design concepts in October 2019
Perceiving the city as an objective whole and becoming aware of the various connections and
interrelations of the system often proves to be difficult for the daily user. What places in our
city do we appreciate and why? Which global developments will probably affect our life in a city
like ong>Düsseldorfong>? Which venues and urban spaces does our increasingly varied urban society
need? How do we further develop a city with a great diversity?
The early and intensive public participation in Raumwerk D started with these and similar
questions in order to raise awareness of the many and wide-ranging challenges that a growing
city must rise to today and in the future. Apart from the increasing pressure on the housing
market, it is also about matters such as climate change, competition for use-specific sites, and
Raumwerk D will make general urban statements and formulate guidelines for the urban
development of ong>Düsseldorfong>. These are intended to enable the perception of the dynamics as an
opportunity and to shape it with the help of an established common sense. The focus is on
statements with a spatial influence. At the forefront of the Raumwerk D development process,
which is divided into five phases, is the dialog with the various involved parties in the city.
After the preparatory and process-structuring phase and the early participatory phase had
been completed, both the road map and the conceptual formulation of the urban development
concept could be defined and specified with the help of the submitted contributions. In order
to obtain a wide set of ideas as the basis for developing Raumwerk D, four appointed interdisciplinary
planning teams designed four independent city-wide visions for urban development, the
so-called “Raumbilder” for ong>Düsseldorfong>. The work is based on the collective results of the preparatory
project stages, enriched by current developments, existing concepts, and global trends.
All the teams were set an identical task, which was nevertheless developed with a respective
specific focus, thus enabling a multifaceted discussion platform for all urban development
issues in ong>Düsseldorfong> today and tomorrow.
To also include as many involved parties, stakeholders, and residents as possible, a
workshop and online participation forum were held prior to the finalization of the city-wide
urban development visions of the four planning teams (Raumbilder) to gather the opinion of
the urban community about the designs and to obtain an initial estimation and evaluation of
the ideas. Based on these participation results, the spatial design drafts were reviewed and
finalized by the planning teams.
The inherent planning approaches were then refined to allow the extraction of an overriding
target concept. The ideas were therefore layered, selected, and enhanced further. This synthesis
results in the strategic target design as the centerpiece of Raumwerk D, which shows perspectives
for the urban development of the city.
HEIGHT WITH SCALE AND QUALITY
TADAO ANDO CAMPUS & TOWER, MERCEDESSTRASSE/GRASHOFFSTRASSE
Conference center with hotel, art and technology campus with integrated data center, smart offices with coworking
spaces, museum for digital art, artists’ lofts with studios and galleries
Tadao Ando Architects
STRATEGIES, PROGRAMS, AND PROJECTS
slapa oberholz pszczulny | sop architekten
Art-Invest Real Estate
Approx. 37,000 m2
Scheduled for 2023
The responsible city
COUNCILOR FOR PLANNING, BUILDING, MOBILITY, AND
REAL ESTATE OF THE STATE CAPITAL DÜSSELDORF
STRATEGIES, PROGRAMS, AND PROJECTS
Urban development dynamics require planning, and it is planning that makes a city
responsible. It is therefore about engaging with the location cognitively. In addition,
it is about making prognoses in a planned manner, so that the dynamics are localized
and, through quality, become a future significant element in the existing urban
organism in the interests of sustainability, resilience, and good living conditions. The
responsible city maintains an overview and must define quality as a prerequisite for
individual parts and the whole.
People in cities react with reserve to the major changes of our time. It is therefore
our task to bring together the topics of density and good living conditions, fair public
welfare aspects in society as a whole, good life, as well as ensured achievability scenarios.
Urban development today means entrusting oneself to the future but considering
it in advance in the present — through participation — and negotiating it in processes
between experts, society, and politics on an equal footing.
BEAUTY OF THE CITY
Under no circumstances should we lose sight of one thing: the beauty of the city.
For ong>Düsseldorfong>, this means understanding the quite particular esthetic of the settlement
by the mighty river Rhine so that we can develop it further — in its diversity, its
significant individual components, and its entirety.
ong>Düsseldorfong> is a responsible city that can face its third dimension of twenty-first
century urban development optimistically — being capable of development and having
an eye both on itself and on the region. Moreover, it is a brave city, bringing together
demands placed by climate change, economics, and ecology in its urban development.
TYPOLOGIES, METHODS, AND FORMATS FOR THE EUROPEAN CITY
Digitalization, automation, mobility — we are caught up in dynamic processes with an
open ending. The city of recent decades has been segregated. Functions and uses
have been divided up into highly competent working, residential, or leisure quarters.
At the same time, there has been alienation from the traditional city of short distances
that is currently more necessary than ever before. Today these apparent contradictions
and historical patterns are no longer antagonistic but constitute the diversity of
an urban, dense, vibrant, and versatile city.
The responsible city brings these components together and bravely chooses
inherently logical scenarios to drive the development strand forward appropriately.
Settlement development has never been more closely linked to mobility. Mobility
and transport have never been closer to public space, urban living environments, and
spatial qualities that in the past took second place behind functionality. We have
indeed arrived in a new era of urban development and responsibility, an era that is,
however, not so far from the good European city of past centuries. We need methods,
models, and solutions for the complex demands of the present and future. We need
updated typologies as well as answers for urban and spatial development. Furthermore,
we need formats in which every competence that wants to make a contribution
also has its place and role.
This is the only way to understand each other and for competent collaboration
to succeed. The current dynamic is a great opportunity for us to demand quality
standards and benchmarks for good city planning, because willingness to invest
has never been greater, nor has willingness to accept the necessary “return to public”
Wehrhahn line: transport project with artistic aspirations
and added value for the inner city
Wehrhahn line, subway station Benrather Straße, artist: Thomas Stricker
The Wehrhahn line provides an array of positive impulses for the urban development in ong>Düsseldorfong>:
it brings together the objectives of the planners and the municipality, namely to create a functioning
transport structure, to establish open spaces for an architecturally appealing new urban
area, and to make the subway stations themselves attractive places to linger. Furthermore, the
construction itself was special: from November 2007 to February 2016, a new subway tunnel
was excavated during ongoing operation, underneath ong>Düsseldorfong>’s busy, dense inner city. Apart
from the use of a tunnel boring machine, the underpinning of the listed building of the department
store on Königsallee was a noteworthy constructional undertaking. The Heinrich-Heine-
Allee train station below the department store was built using a mining construction method,
protected by a freezing unit which had sealing elements against in-situ groundwater.
Opened on February 20, 2016, the Wehrhahn line today provides new local public transport
qualities as a central inner-city connection. At the same time, it is the main reason why the former
Jan-Wellem-Platz lost its importance as a central transport hub, thereby creating an important
basis for the restructuring of the “heart of the city.”
When planning the six new subway stations of the Wehrhahn line, the city of ong>Düsseldorfong>
ventured down a completely new avenue. The artistic design of the stations was not based on
previously established construction guidelines. Instead, the architects and artists drafted the
concept of the stations, starting with an international architectural competition in 2000, together
with subway planners and engineers. The Darmstadt-based architecture firm netzwerkarchitekten
emerged as the winners of the competition—with the idea of an “underground continuum,”
meandering through the city as a type of independent parallel underground world. The stations
are widenings of the tunnel and connected with the city by means of above-ground openings:
each designed as a large, funnel-shaped space resembling a magnifying glass casting its cone
of light into the darkness. Other characteristic features are the design of the concrete surfaces,
evoking the security pattern of a passport, and lighting with asymmetrical wall and ceiling
floodlights that make the stations shimmer in a uniform light. In addition, it is easy to see into
the stations, thus ensuring good orientation. The netzwerkarchitekten team supported the
selected artists from ong>Düsseldorfong> (Ralf Brög, Ursula Damm, Manuel Franke, Enne Haehnle, Heike
Klussmann, and Thomas Stricker) in the implementation of their design concepts for the subway
STRATEGIES, PROGRAMS, AND PROJECTS
PRIZES AND NOMINATIONS FOR THE WEHRHAHN LINE
All the stations of the Wehrhahn line were built according to a clear basic concept.
This included distinctive light shafts that allow natural daylight to penetrate as far
as the platforms. This resulted in a sophisticated architecture that has won multiple
awards in the meantime.
→ BDA Architecture Award, Nike for Atmosphere, 2019
→ Halstenberg commendation, prize of the German Academy for Urban
Development and Regional Planning (DASL), 2018
→ BDA Architecture Award NRW, distinction, 2018
→ Good Building Award BDA ong>Düsseldorfong>, distinction, 2017
→ CODAawards, distinction, 2017
→ Mies van der Rohe Award, nomination, 2017
→ Award of Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Frankfurt, shortlist, 2017
→ Tunneling Award, finalist, 2016
→ World Architecture Festival, finalist, 2016
→ iconic awards, German Design Council, winner, 2016
→ STUVA Prize, winner, 2015
→ Building of the Year (underpinning of department store
on the Kö), AIV ong>Düsseldorfong>, 2014
Wehrhahn line, subway station Graf-Adolf-Platz, artitst: Manuel Franke
STRATEGIEN, PROGRAMME UND PROJEKTE_X
The city, the Rhine, and new quarters
on the waterfront
STRATEGIES, PROGRAMS, AND PROJECTS
Tip of the harbor with Hyatt Hotel
CONTINUITY IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CITY
Two projects in the 1980s/90s decisively shaped the city development of ong>Düsseldorfong>: the Rhine
embankment tunnel and the Rhine embankment promenade celebrated their twenty-fifth
anniversary in the summer of 2019. The incorporation of the Rhine into the city was no doubt
the biggest urban development leap in the more recent history of the city. In the context of the
“Blaugrüner Ring” (Blue-green Ring) project, there are currently discussions about an extension
of the promenade towards the north.
The development of the Media Harbor, on the other hand, is a continuous process that
started at the beginning of the 1980s and has been regaining significant momentum in recent
years. It started with the construction of the Rhine Tower (1982), the new building of the Landtag
of North Rhine-Westphalia (1988), the building of the WDR studio ong>Düsseldorfong>, and the Rhine
Park Bilk, the latter in the neighboring district of Unterbilk. From 1989, the second phase was
realized. The goal was a modern office and service quarter that incorporated existing buildings
worth preserving. The creative mix of old buildings and modern architecture was to provide
space for the settlement of companies, especially from the media sector.
With the construction of the “Dancing Houses,” the Gehry buildings at Neuer Zollhof,
the Media Harbor was endowed with its own architectural landmark in 1999. International star
architecture now characterizes the cityscape at the waterfront.
City planning and urban development in the twenty-first century should now place a
greater focus on public space and the mix of uses, in other words on the vitality of the urban
EXTENSION OF THE RHINE EMBANKMENT PROMENADE TO THE SOUTH
Despite the short distance between Burgplatz and the Media Harbor, there is a break to the
southwest of the Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia, a missing link between the Rhine
embankment promenade and the harbor. Closing this and at the same time adding a further
building block to the parliament and government quarter is the aim of the Landtag extension
on an area currently used as a car park right by the Rhine Tower.
THE CITY, THE RHINE, AND NEW QUARTERS ON THE WATERFRONT
Bridges provide access to the ong>Düsseldorfong> harbor for pedestrians and cyclists.
STRATEGIES, PROGRAMS, AND PROJECTS
BREMER STRASSE 67
Auf der Lausward
WIN WIN – THE ONE AND ONLY
HIGH POINT QUAY PROMENADE
HIGH POINT HEAD OF HARBOR
HAMMER STRASSE 27
STRATEGIES, PROGRAMS, AND PROJECTS
PIER ONE, KESSELSTRASSE
Office, commerce, gastronomy, parking
STRATEGIEN, PROGRAMME UND PROJEKTE_X
ong>Düsseldorfong> is a city with international relevance — however, the city does
not have that one striking landmark or building that makes it distinctive
in the way it is perceived from the outside. Instead, the facets undoubtedly
attributed to ong>Düsseldorfong> — state capital, trade fair city, fashion city,
home to international companies etc. — do not have a direct spatial
dimension. However, if one immerses oneself in the city, one notices its
convincing individuality in the interplay of elements and structures.
ong>Düsseldorfong> focuses less on one spectacular feature and more on the
special distinctiveness of each individual area as a basis for a quality of
life across the board. The focus is therefore not on glitzy but on solid,
high-quality projects that strengthen the city and its manifold functions.
Those that are currently being implemented or planned in various
locations, which represent special showpieces for the city, will be presented
in the following. The focus is, on the one hand, on two im portant
entrance gateways. Here, new developments — especially the construction
of high points — will provide further positive impulses and noticeably
upgrade the entrances to the city in future, which are today largely
characterized by difficult structures within the cityscape.
In addition, the chapter takes a more in-depth look at the developments
in the central inner-city area, where important infrastructure
projects have opened up the possibility of creating new urban structures
of high quality. Last but not least, the new urban developments at and
around the main railway station are presented.
Kennedydamm as development axis:
restructuring and new perspectives in the north
View of Kennedydamm
The Kennedydamm in ong>Düsseldorfong>’s Golzheim district forms one of the central entrance situations
to the city center — consequently, the urban development and spatial design of the whole
quarter is of special importance to ong>Düsseldorfong>. Many building projects along the important
transport axis are currently planned or are about to be realized. These include several high
points, which will make this major restructuring process particularly noticeable both for the
citizens and for visitors to the city. The individual construction concepts and ideas are not only
architecturally appealing and innovative in their design language and use of materials, they also
embark on new and exciting avenues in the context of the urban space and thereby enable new
perspectives. For example, they not only open up towards the public space on the ground floor
but reinterpret verticality with new access levels or fit carefully around existing buildings.
However, this is not the only reason why the development of this central city gateway in
Golzheim is of elementary importance for the state capital ong>Düsseldorfong>. After all, apart from this
spatial and developmental transformation of the area that is shaping the cityscape, current
topics and various building blocks determine its development: the mobility shift has been
heralded and is gaining momentum. The use requirements are in a process of constant change.
High-rise projects primarily with office use must therefore be taken into consideration, as well as
the conversion of the former Golzheim Campus, whose transformation will redefine the northern
area of Kennedydamm. City climate and microclimatic considerations are increasingly gaining in
To prevent the danger of an autonomous development of the respective individual projects,
all the framework conditions, as well as potential synergies, were considered as a whole
and discussed with affected project developers, investors, architects, incorporating experts
and the public. How can the area be integrated into the urban space? What does a municipally
and socially acceptable development of high-rises look like? How can open spaces be given a
high-quality and functional design and be linked? What intelligent transport strategies do exist
that meet the increasing demands regarding mobility and at the same time raise the attractiveness
of the location? These and other questions were the focus of a process that ultimately
brought forth fundamental principles that will shape the further development of the city.
URBAN QUARTER AT THE SOUTHERN ENTRANCE TO THE RHINE EMBANKMENT TUNNEL
There is also something happening where Völklinger Straße enters the Rhine embankment tunnel.
In February 2019, a new development plan came into effect for the former Siemens Campus in
the area between Neusser Straße and Lahnweg, which had been abandoned for years.
This lays the foundations for the revitalization of the area and the development of a housing
and commercial quarter that is integrated into the heterogenous urban neighborhood and
generates high-quality architecture and open spaces. Office and other commercial uses are to
be created on around 40,000 square meters. In addition, more than one hundred new housing
units and a daycare center are planned on the site. The structural basis is a design by the firm
caspar. (formerly meyerschmitzmorkramer) (ong>Düsseldorfong>). The concept envisages two new urban
perimeter developments derived from the historical ground plan of the city. A seventeen-story
office tower as an eye-catching feature on Völklinger Straße gives the western building structure
a special touch. By taking up the surrounding contours and the historical roads, a central
boulevard emerges that is to be reserved for pedestrians and cyclists.
Urban planning concept by the office caspar. (formerly meyerschmitzmorkramer), winning design in the 2016 competition
STRATEGIES, PROGRAMS, AND PROJECTS
PANDION VÖLKLINGER STRASSE, VÖLKLINGER STRASSE 2
caspar. (formerly meyerschmitzmorkramer)
55,000 m2 (whole site)
MIZAL – VISIONS ON CAMPUS, VÖLKLINGER STRASSE/CORNER OF PLOCKSTRASSE
Eller + Eller Architekten GmbH
Codic Development GmbH
STRATEGIES, PROGRAMS, AND PROJECTS
NEW QUARTER ON HARKORTSTRASSE
Bordering the ong>Düsseldorfong> main station to the south, between Harkortstraße, Graf-Adolf-Straße,
Konrad-Adenauer-Platz, and the railway lines, is the site of the former car shuttle station. The
cessation of this use led to the task of finding a new purpose for the approximately four-acre
site in a prominent inner-city location.
As part of a quality-control procedure, the utilization concept — hotel, gastronomy, smallscale
retail units — was conceptualized as regards urban development. A revitalization of the
main station area as far as Mintropplatz was to be initiated by means of an urban development
plan adapted to the surroundings. The design by the firm greeen! architects was selected, followed
by a formal procedure. It proposes, amongst other things, the creation of a new pathway connection
between Konrad-Adenauer-Platz and Mintropplatz, which makes the new area accessible
to the public. Along the new pathway, there is a row of three building volumes that are structurally
connected at ground-floor level. They will house hotels, while gastronomic uses are
planned for the (partially) public ground-floor zones. The proposed vitalization will radiate a
positive charisma on the surrounding train station area and its quarters. Completion of the
building measures is planned for early 2022.
GRAND CENTRAL: “THE THREE SIBLINGS”
Right behind the main station, between Kölner Straße, Erkrather Straße, and Moskauer Straße,
the Grand Central project is being developed on the site of the former post distribution center. On
an area of 11 acres, around 1,000 new housing units and a hotel will be built above an underground
garage. New shops will supply the quarter, and two daycare centers are planned.
The urban planning concept consists of three high-rises, each with a height of around sixty
meters. The so-called “three siblings” are integrated into four urban blocks with green interior
courtyards. The district provides the link between the main train station (south side) and the
cultural uses of the tanzhaus nrw (dance house) and the Capitol theatre. The architecture firms
Delugan Meissl, J. MAYER H., and Eller + Eller are involved in the project. Each firm is commissioned
with realizing one of the three high-rises in their own architectural language.
IMPULSES FOR THE RAILWAY STATION AREA
The revitalization of public space and the integration of all user groups and types of mobility
are the greatest challenge for long-term urban development. In the wake of impulse-giving
development, adjoining quarters experience more intensive attention and thus also become
the focus of planning. The railway station district occupies a key position in this. Since 2013,
the area around the railway station has been granted district development funds under the
name “Development concept inner city south-east (EKISO),” with the generous support of the
state of North Rhine- Westphalia. Selected building measures provided impulses for a positive
perception of the quarter.
Professional initiatives are also working on this in parallel, taking up the social matters in
the area around the railway station. For example, there is the “City Center” district project by the
ong>Düsseldorfong> deaconry (www.diakonie-duesseldorf.de), which is trying to promote the “wellbeing
factors” of the district and thereby generate a positive internal attitude in this area. At the same
time, the artist and curator Markus Ambach is working on the long-term project “About foreign
countries in our own cities,” which through many events and installations “wants to place the
focus on the thoughts and actions of those who are jointly seeking the open future of one of
the last exceptional urban spaces” (www.markusambachprojekte.de).
The initiatives show that interest in positive development, particularly in the railway station
area, is especially wide and that it is clear to those involved that a great challenge lies in the
limitation caused by social and design deficits.
Railway station area
ERKRATHER STRASSE 33
STATION FORECOURT + HIGH POINT
THREE INTERNATIONAL HOTELS
ong>Metropolisong> for living:
strategies and operative avenues
Number of new apartments more than doubled*
1084 1136 1129 1129
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
* Five-year comparison
Number of approved apartements, source: IT NRW/Office for Statistics and Elections of the state capital ong>Düsseldorfong>;
2011/12 and 2015/16 Average values due to statistical deviation
STRATEGIES, PROGRAMS, AND PROJECTS
Project by ong>Düsseldorfong>er Wohnungsgenossenschaft eG (DWG) on Kalkumer Schloßallee
GROWTH THROUGH DEMAND
The state capital ong>Düsseldorfong> faces the same challenge as Münster, Cologne, and Bonn, or — on
a wider geographical scale — Berlin, Munich, and Frankfurt. The massive influx into attractive
cities that started some years ago continues unabated. Who would have predicted such a
development around the turn of the millennium?
For years, too little housing — especially publicly subsidized — was built to keep up with the
resulting demand. There is no alternative but to catch up with this, despite all the difficulties.
The attractiveness of the state capital ong>Düsseldorfong>, the economic prosperity with many well-paid
jobs, the high quality of life, and the high recreational value bring a continual population
increase. According to prognoses, the 700,000-inhabitant mark will already be exceeded by
the middle of the century. This figure was last achieved at the beginning of the 1960s — but
with significantly fewer square meters of living space per inhabitant.
Consistently high demand coupled with a stagnating supply means higher rents and
property prices. To halt the rent increase or to keep it to an affordable limit, purely regulatory
political measures alone will scarcely suffice. The Misappropriation Statute issued in September
2019 by the council of the state capital — the prohibition of converting housing for commercial
use, especially commercial renting to tourists via Airbnb — is an important step. However, there
is no other option but to create additional living space in the long term. Building land development
in conjunction with private property owners and on the basis of clear, reliable rules provides a
set of tools for this. It is also important to strengthen cooperatives, housing associations,
especially the municipal housing association, and to operate a municipal property policy oriented
towards affordable housing.
OBJECTIVES AND METHODS OF THE HOUSING CONSTRUCTION POLICY
The goal of completing of 3,000 housing units per year over the long term is the core of the
municipal housing construction policy. In recent years, the number of building permits has
already reached this target. One can therefore be optimistic that the completion figures will
follow suit in future. Long-term means that the identification of suitable plots and the carrying
out of planning processes up to the issuing of building permits is and remains a continuous
process. As part of the Housing Action Plan, further housing potentials in the urban area are
continuously being examined. The basis for this is the ong>Düsseldorfong> planning principles: inner
densification before outward urban sprawl, protection of existing green areas, fresh air corridors
and parks, as well as a prioritization of the conversion of wasteland and formerly commercially
or industrially used sites.
METROPOLIS FOR LIVING: STRATEGIES AND OPERATIVE AVENUES
BENRATHER GÄRTEN, HILDENER STRASSE 80
Mainly housing, commerce, office
ARCHITECT OF THE URBAN DESIGN
Schellenberg + Bäumler Architekten GmbH
CG Gruppe AG
280,000 m2 (above-ground)
STRATEGIES, PROGRAMS, AND PROJECTS
Konrath & Wennemar Architekten
Grafental GmbH & Co. KG
PIONEER FOR THE SCHOOL OF THE FUTURE
Feasibility study by RKW Architektur +: After having been located in the immediate vicinity of the Kö for more than 110 years, the municipal Luisen
Gymnasium is to be relocated to a large site on Völkinger Straße. The new school is scheduled to start operations in 2024 with four parallel classes
per grade and a sports hall.
STRATEGIES, PROGRAMS, AND PROJECTS
A new highlight on the Rhine:
House of History North Rhine-Westphalia in
the Mannesmann building by Peter Behrens
The Behrens building on the Mannesmannufer will be the home of the new state museum House of History North Rhine-Westphalia.
DISCOVERING THE HISTORY OF NORTH RHINE-WESTPHALIA
North Rhine-Westphalia was founded in 1946 by the British military administration
as the most populous state in its occupation zone as well as in the subsequent federal
republic. The territorial-conceptual basis was formed by the Prussian provinces in
the west, existing since 1815, and the spatial development plans for a merger of the
Rhineland and Westphalia, already drawn up at the time of the Weimar Republic.
In 2021, North Rhine-Westphalia will celebrate its seventy-fifth anniversary. Up
until now, the federal state has been defined historically and politically primarily
through its high-profile regions, in other words the Rhineland, Westphalia, and the
Ruhr area, with only secondary importance accorded to its state identity that has
matured since its foundation. In public consciousness, North Rhine-Westphalia has
therefore primarily been the sum of its regions.
In view of this background, a rich historical-political landscape developed right
across North Rhine-Westphalia — with a dense network of impressive regional museums
and institutions. In terms of urban planning, the respective state governments
restricted themselves to a rather functional and purposeful cityscape in the state
capital ong>Düsseldorfong>. Only the Landtag building designed by architect Fritz Eller has
represented a distinctive reference point since 1988 and has driven a redevelopment
along the southern Rhine embankment that is taking effect to this day.
The differentiated variety of the North Rhine-Westphalian history should not be
fundamentally altered but experience an extension and be given a framework through
a House of History North Rhine-Westphalia in the state capital. The initiative has met
with general approval. At the end of 2019, the North Rhine-Westphalian state government
therefore unanimously agreed on an independent foundation for a House of
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All rights reserved.
Editors for the city of ong>Düsseldorfong>:
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Editorial and organization team: Judith Artmann, Linda vom Bauer, Andreas Eberhöfer, Kai Fischer,
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Translation: Lynne Kolar-Thompson, Feld am See
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