5 years ago

The Green Belt as a European Ecological Network strengths and gaps

The Green Belt as a European Ecological Network strengths and gaps

Andrea Früh

Andrea Früh PERCEPTIBILITY OF THE CULTURAL VALUE OF THE GREEN BELT MONUMENT Green Belt. Landscapes with a high presence of characteristic features are likely to evoke a sense of local identity [6]. The individual character of a landscape is determined by various region specific features such as traditional management systems of orchards and pastures, rural housing schemes, cultural and historical valuable buildings. Harmony: A landscape is perceived as harmonious if all contained elements, whether natural or man-made, appear aligned and in harmony with each other [10]. In this connection the perception of harmony is reliant on a balanced portfolio of landscape features and a smooth transition of land cover types. b) Spatial sensation of the former border This assessment part is focusing on the perceptibility of historic evidence at the former border. To which extent can the former boundary conditions be perceived by the observer The assessment criteria are based on a study from Becker [1] and were adapted to evaluate the spatial sensation of the Green Belt. Last-mentioned is reliant on the expressiveness of three assessment criteria namely the abundance of historic relicts of the border fortifications, the spatial structure of the border line and the accessibility of the former border. Historic relicts: Due to deconstructions of the military defences right after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the only continuous and frequently found leftover of the cruel border are the border patrol paths consisting of concrete slabs [1]. Despite demolishment of most fortifications occasional relicts along the course of the Green Belt of frontier closings, control units or boundary marks remained – all of them with a high value for cultural evidence [11]. Moreover, there are further indices of the historical significance of the landscape such as constructed memorials or a certain atmosphere originated by the landscape which can increase the sensation of the former unhuman border for the observer. Those border indices are crucial to increase the ability to experience the former inner-German border. Spatial structure: In order to military examine the frontier area it was regularly mowed to prevent succession. Nowadays visitors can still perceive a land use change at the border edge (the former frontier area is mainly grassland) and identify the linear course. The perception of spatial structures is enhanced in places where the structural components of border installations, the sequence of metal fence or walls, the former mine field and patrol paths are still visible. Furthermore, a supporting topography that visualizes the border course over large distances can increase the perceptibility. Accessibility: In many sections of the former boundary course the accessibility is limited due to redevelopment or poor maintenance condition of the hiking path. This assessment criterion will analyse the facilities for today's visitors to hike on the Green Belt. In this respect the accessibility, the continuity and the condition of the trail play a decisive role. 2.2 Case study regions To apply the LPA four 15km long sections along the German Green Belt were chosen as representative case study regions. At the respective sites we selected representative landscapes types and sections with an average amount of man-made disruptions. In doing so I used a geographic information system and overlaid the course of the Green Belt [12] with natural landscape types of Germany [13], disruptions by roads or buildings derived from the testing and development project `Experience Green Belt´ [12] and Monuments and Memorials listed in Becker [1]. Selected and analyzed case study regions are 1. Dalldorf – Boizenburg, 2. Helmstedt Ost – Offleben, 3. Hanstein – Asbach and 4. Autenhausen – Billmuthshausen (see Figure ). 130

Andrea Früh PERCEPTIBILITY OF THE CULTURAL VALUE OF THE GREEN BELT MONUMENT The application of the LPA system was conducted from the perspective of the target group, hikers. Within this field study all case study regions were analyzed both by the LPA and additionally by an overall quantitative assessment of the touristic suitability, considering tourist information options, special offers regarding the Green Belt, gastronomy, lodging and public transport. The results were resumed verbally in a profile of strengths and weaknesses regarding the perceptibility of the former frontier area. Figure 6 Case study regions along the German Green Belt with their characteristics. 3 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION The application of the perception assessment on spatial units of case study regions yielded in quite different responses to the examined criteria (see Table 1). Case study region 1 Boizenburg – Dalldorf, divided into two spatial units, is characterized by a satisfactory landscape close to the river Elbe and a quite monotonous appearance apart from the river. The spatial sensation of the former frontier area becomes apparent at a former checkpoint which was converted into a vivid museum. In the remaining section only few relicts can be experienced, the border patrol path is not conserved everywhere or is in poor condition. The touristic infrastructure is already well established, however, only little information is offered about the former border and the project Green Belt. The second region, Helmstedt Ost – Offleben, was divided into four spatial units all characterized by an intense land use by open pit mining and power generation. Border fortifications are exclusively but impressive existing around the checkpoint Marienborn. Due to excavation of lignite the border course remains interrupted. Diverse information and cultural offers in respect to the inner-German border are available and the region is well 131

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