Nordhorn „Water City Povel“
A contaminated site clean-up was performed using new methods on a centrally situated textile industry brownfield. As part of the recycling of the site, a new district with various centre functions was created. The project was realized in compliance with ambitious specifications conerning urban ecology.
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Source: FIRU mbH
Nordhorn, a medium-sized town (population approx 53.000) near the Dutch border, used to be a characterized by the textile industry for over 100 years. The economic change in the textile business severely affected the town’s social structures and appearance. The textile factory “Povel” finally stopped its production lines in 1978. The factory left behind a heavily contaminated site measuring approximately 16 ha in the town centre. The council purchased the plot in 1980 and had all the buildings pulled down, with the exception of the striking Povel Tower, one administration building and a storehouse. The preserved buildings were listed. The area borders on the town centre in the south and harbours great inner city development potentials. Not only the central location, but also the immediate proximity to a recreation area on Vechtesee lake and the direct situation by the Vechte river make this site a very attractive location. Between 1987 and 1991, the project was funded and evaluated as a model project within the research field “Urban Ecology and Environment-Compatible Construction” (Stadtökologie und umweltgerechtes Bauen), which is an element of the federal research programme “Experimental Housing and Urban Development” (Experimenteller Wohnungs- und Städtebau).
Source: FIRU mbH
Initial demolition and levelling activities were performed immediately after the council had purchased the land. The site was to be dedicated to a new use as quickly as possible in order to overcome the negative image created by the loss of numerous jobs. The entire site was hence cleared, with the exception of three buildings. Due to the extensive clearing, there were hardly any restrictions applying to the town-planning concept. But on a negative side, the hasty demolition of the buildings had also resulted in an extensive intermingling of various hazardous waste substances. The planning process started in 1983 with an urban design ideas competition. No soil contamination was suspected at the time. The initial plans concerned high-quality inner city housing with a dense architecture. But when the soil contamination was finally discovered in 1985, these initial plans had to be revised. New possible uses were determined according to the contamination threshold values and the resulting restriction categories. In this changed situation, the planning instrument of choice was an urban development outline plan allowing for gradual and flexible adjustments to altered framework conditions. In order to speed up the construction measures on the site, cleared-up areas were built on while the remediation activities still continued elsewhere. For the performance of the contaminated site clean-up, Nordhorn council developed a concept whereby the contaminated soil was dug up, chemically analysed and purified according to the degree of contamination determined, all directly on the site. Heavily contaminated soil was mixed with compost and deposited in foil troughs as biological beds. Any contaminants washed out would collect in the troughs as seepage waters which were then further purified via peat filters. Less contaminated soil was left to natural biological breakdown processes. The proportion of the soil which had to be transported to a special waste depot or combustion facility could hence be kept as low as 0,7 per cent. All in all, the remediation measures cost € 15 million. In parallel to the remediation of the site, the municipal planning department elaborated three town-planning outline plans for developing the quarter. This way the planners could react flexibly to any new findings concerning the contamination. The urban planning concept is characterized by the strictly linear quality of the waterways, streets and construction zones, as well as by visual and road connections to the town centre. Today, the site offers attractive dwellings for 750 individuals in predominantly dense housing types including apartment buildings and garden court buildings. A colourful mixture of resident groups was created by integrating council homes and apartments for the elderly. Approximately 400 new jobs have been created since 2000 in the office sector. In four construction stages, a new district with a unique water city character was created on the site. The fourth construction stage is currently being realized. Around 95% of all the measures have been completed. The former factory tower was preserved as a historic building and now houses a textile museum, in commemoration of the site’s former function. A modern culture and tourism centre was created in an old weaving hall.
|1979||Discontinuation of textile production|
|1980||Demolition of most of the old production halls|
|1981||The land is purchased by the council|
|1983||Urban design ideas competition|
|1984||Creation of legally binding land-use plans|
|1985||First soil analyses|
|1986||Contamination reconnaissance and dedication as a remediation area|
|1987-1990||Contaminated site remediation|
|1991-1992||Realization of the 1st construction stage|
|1991||The first residents move in|
|1993-2000||Realization of the 2nd and 3rd construction stages|
|1998||Awarded the “Fair Play Prize” by state building societies for future- and demand-oriented land-use policy|
|1999||Opening of the “Cross-Border Culture and Tourism Centre” in the old weaving hall|
|since 2000||Implementation of the 4th construction stage|
|2002||The district development “Wasserstadt Povel” wins the “DIFA-Award” for innovative town-planning and sustainable land-use.|
Source: FIRU mbH
- Interior development and re-utilization of an industrial brownfield
- Ecological urban development
- Quality town-planning via ambitious redesign and connection to the town centre
- Development of new infrastructures and mixed uses of housing, employment, leisure and local recreation
- Improvement of the quality of the environment
- Combining remediation requirements with town-planning objectives
- High transparency and cost efficiency of the contaminated site clean-up
Types of measures
Source: FIRU mbH
- Urban design ideas competition
- Urban development outline plan
- Legally binding land-use plan
- Contaminated site clean-up using new methods
- Intensive information and public relations activities
Source: FIRU mbH
The revitalization of the Povel site is successful and trend-setting in several respects. Virtually all of the „Wasserstadt Povel“ has been realized, is inhabited and lively. The residential district created is attractive, compact and mixed. The flexible redevelopment and town-planning strategy facilitated the establishment of a close link between the requirements resulting from remediation issues and the urban planning objectives. This way, the technical and financial feasibility of the remediation could be brought to bear on envisaged uses.
The success of the project was largely ensured by the project management. The planning process was cooperative and transparent and supported by vigorous public relations activities. The cost of the contamination remediation could be cut significantly by applying alternative methods. The contaminated soil was gently purified directly on the site, saving on resources.
- BBR (client), FIRU GmbH (contractor): Querauswertung von ExWoSt-Modellvorhaben zum Flächenrecycling, 2004 (Lateral Evaluation of EHUD Model Project for Area Recycling, 2004) (unpublished report)
- BMVBW: www.werkstatt stadt.de. Innovative Beispiele aus dem Experimentellen Wohnungs- und Städtebau (Innovative Examples of Experimental Housing and Urban Development), Berlin, June 2000
- Bundesministerium für Raumordnung, Bauwesen und Städtebau (Federal Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and Urban Development): Altlastensanierung und Gewerbenutzung (Contamination Remediation and Industrial Use), Bonn, 1991
- Bundesministerium für Raumordnung, Bauwesen und Städtebau (Federal Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and Urban Development) (ed.): Altlastensanierung und städtebauliche Erneuerung Nordhorn-Povelgelände (Contamination Remediation and Urban Renewal Nordhorn – Povel Site). – Bonn 1990
- Research institute “Institut für Stadtforschung und Strukturpolitik GmbH“:Stadtökologie und umweltgerechtes Bauen, Themenschwerpunkt Gewerbebrachenwiedernutzung und Altlastensanierung (Urban Ecology and Environment-Compatible Construction, Focus Brownfield Re-Utilization and Contamination remediation), final report, Berlin, July 1991
- Wiegandt, C.-C.: Altlastensanierung und Reaktivierung von Brachflächen (Contamination Remeiation and Reactivation of Wastelands). In: EXHUD information on the research field „Urban Renewal“ (Städtebauliche Erneuerung) nr.10.9 (1994), p.20-24
- Straßer, H.; Holland. K.; Rongen, P.; Schuller, D.: Bewertungskriterien für die Folgenutzung eines Altstandortes am Beispiel des Sanierungsfalles Nordhorn-Povel (Evaluation Criteria for the Follow-Up Use of Old Locations Using the Example of the Remediation Site Nordhorn-Povel). – Berlin 1985. = UBA-Texts 32/88
- Wiegandt, C.-C.: Altlasten und Stadtentwicklung. Eine Herausforderung für eine kommunale Umwelt- und Planungspolitik (Contaminations and Urban Development. A challenge for Municipal Environment and Planning Policy). – Basel 1989. = Current Urban Research (Stadtforschung aktuell). volume 25
- Wollmann, H.; Winkler, B.: Altlasten – Hemmnisse des Gewerbebrachenrecyclings (Contaminations – Hindrance for Brownfield Recyling), Stadtforschung aktuell (Current Urban Research), volume 41, Berlin 1993 Project sponsor: Stadt Nordhorn (Nordhorn Council), Bahnhofstraße 24, 48529 Nordhorn, tel.: 0 59 21 / 8 78 - 2 01, fax: 0 59 21 / 8 78 - 4 16
Poject site on Google-Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/5VzgCMwwv2x
The projekt site ist to be found at postal code: 48529 - town: Nordhorn - street: Am Museumsturm.
Last update: 05.03.2018