Source: Stephan Lehmann
The “Ringgleis”, a former train route in Brunswick (247,000 inhabitans), was built at the end of the 19th century to serve industrial plants in “Westliches Ringgebiet”, a district of Brunswick. Closing the route in the 80s implied that plants where relocated and closed. A mixture of brownfields, closed train routes, residential areas for socially deprived population groups and industrial buildings and areas with a remaining physical life arose in “Westliches Ringgebiet”.
In order to upgrade the district and improve the local mobility, the city decided to use the areas of the closed "Ringgleis" train route. The nearly four-kilometres-long “Ringgleis”, crossing the whole urban district, has not only left its mark on the cityscape, it is also considered to have provided the basis for the development of the district. A continuous foot- and cycle path along the former train route thus provided the opportunity to link free spaces, facilities and people within the district with each other.
In 2001, the majority of the area was integrated in the “Social City” funding programme of the German Federal Government and the federal states.
Source: Stephan Lehmann
Altering the former train route, the so-called “Ringgleis”, into a continuous and attractive green axis was done by several stages. Based on a combination of citizen-friendly planning and implementation, single sections were first of all developed as provisional constructions. The paths were made walkable with coarse waterbound surfaces. They could then be viewed, tested and new ideas for further alterations be discussed. The ideas were considered in the context of the following construction stage. This was how the "Ringgleis" was nearly completely altered on the 3.8-long section. Due to the great success of the project, the route will now be further expanded with municipal subsidies. A first section situated outside the redevelopment area could already be opened for use in 2008.
Impetus for the project was given by the residents. From the beginning, the planning process was supported by strong identification and high commitment. “braunschweiger forum”, an association promoting citizen-friendly urban planning, called attention to importance and potentials of the former train route during a week of action. Interested parties joined forces founding a “Ringgleis” working group. Planning and implementation were dialogue-oriented and happened in close cooperation with all parties involved. Members of the “braunschweiger forum” and dedicated citizens in the context of the working group regularly met with the district management and municipal representatives to submit proposals for planning and to jointly plan “their track”.
Already in the run-up to the "official" start of the building activities, a part of the construction work was done by volunteers. These activities were supported by the municipal administration for example by providing the tools reuqired. The expansion of the "Ringgleis” was realised in the context of a job-creation scheme of the City.
Altering the “Ringgleis” has produced a foot- and cycle path improving mobility within the district. Since then, district residents and visitors have been provided with access to a recreational area of unspoiled nature in the midst of the city. Initial measures taken have already improved the general conditions of the local public transport. Creating paths offside roads has also increased safety and comfort.
The attractiveness of the axis is increased by integrating further functional and design elements and neighbouring areas. The history of the rail and transport technology is presented under the title “Braunschweiger ZeitSchiene” (Braunschweig’s time track). The project is also supported by initiatives and events to increase its degree of popularity in the district and beyond, to raise the identification of the residents with the “Westliches Ringgebiet” district and to promote cohesion within the district.
|2000||The city council of Brunswick purchases “Westliches Ringgleis”|
|2001||Week of action of “braunschweiger forum”|
|2001||Area integrated in the Social City funding programme of the German Federal Government and the federal states|
|2002||Working group “Westliches Ringgleis” founded|
|2003||Nearly 4-km-long foot- and cycle path realised|
|2004||The city council of Brunswick purchases the railway areas required for expansion|
|2007||Second section of the route including Braunschweig West station finished and handed over|
|2008||First section of “ZeitSchiene” opened|
|2009||Third section including the “Gartenstadt” district finished|
- to upgrade the district
- to improve the quality of life
- to develop the whole former “Ringgleis” for pedestrians and cyclists
- to alter the former train route into an attractive green axis crossing the district
- to increase the traffic safety
- to integrate the path into a supraregional network of walking and cycling routes
- to create recreational and communication areas in the district
- to promote a vital district culture taking local history into account
Types of measures
- Train route altered and rearranged
- Continuous network of walking and cycling routes with adjacent green and recreational areas realised
- “Braunschweiger ZeitSchiene" (trail demonstrating the history of the rail and transport technology) planned and implemented
- Accompanying events and initiatives along and on the track implemented
By combining urban, transport and free space planning, a former train route could be converted and used to improve the living conditons in deprived urban districts. The newly designed route improves the housing quality and helps to increase the local mobility. The project is an example for a successful bottom-up initiative serving identity development of the whole surrounding area.
- Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Bau und Stadtentwicklung (BMVBS) and Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung (BBR) (editors): Vernetzung im Verkehr. Gute Beispiele der Verbesserung von städtischen Quartieren. BBR-Sonderveröffentlichung, Bonn 2008. http://www.bbr.bund.de/BBSR/DE/Veroeffentlichungen/BMVBS/Sonderveroeffentlichungen/2008/DL_VernetzungVerkehr.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=2
Poject site on Google-Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/TeanEB1TfPz
The projekt site ist to be found at postal code: 38118 - town: Braunschweig - street: zwischen der Oker und der Gartenstadt (nähe Westbahnhof).
Last update: 24.05.2017