Analysis and evaluation of Ruhr Metropolis’ CultNature potentials - instruments for a sustainable and cost-efficient strengthening of non-marketable land area / CultNature II

Aims and tasks

The so-called CultNature approach was developed in the first CultNature project at the IAT between 2012 and 2015. It uses biomass, wind and photovoltaics in an economically viable way to raise the attractiveness of land area where higher purposes such as trade or habitation cannot be developed. The necessary know how for the planning and implementation of this approach was developed, checked and defined with reference to specific area potentials in municipal and area projects.

This knowledge is to be used in the CultNature II project for a sustainable and cost-effective strengthening of non-marketable land area in the Ruhr Metropolis. These areas could be developed in the long term, but are currently no part of regional or municipal development strategies. This strengthening strategy also incorporates the option for later high-quality land area development. The area potentials are to be identified in co-operation with the Regional Association Ruhr (RVR) and the Business Development Agency Ruhr (wmr). The resulting set of areas is to be coordinated with the communities concerned. The remaining areas will be developed using the CultNature approach.

The long development period offers particular opportunities to create attractive and productive park landscapes. To make a long-term development strategy for land area credible and attractive for municipalities and land owners, the strategy is to be linked with concrete development scenarios and production models for the relevant areas. The production models will illustrate, how area design, energetic use, and business operation as a CultNature area will change with the development of the area over time. This analysis will be itemized and enhanced for the value chain “climate protection economy”.

To link innovation activities with practical area and location activities, the CultNature approach should be utilized as a strategy for the Business Development Agency Ruhr. In addition, the CultNature approach can help to upgrade areas without an expedient development perspective into compensation areas. These areas can be exchanged against areas with a more straightforward development perspective.

In doing so, these areas are to be designed more attractive in an urbanistic and ecologic way. At the same time, they must earn as much money as possible to cover their care-giving expenses. With the same goal, the CultNature approach helps to make temporary use of plant extension areas and permanent use of spacing areas.


1st Project Phase

For each of the selected areas, their possible uses for renewable energies are to be collected, along with restrictions, spatial embeddedness and other area characteristics. This compilation will base on regional geodata of the cooperating partners, on the mining survey of the first CultNature project, and, if necessary, on further databases.

Restrictions should include soil conditions (for biomass), topographical conditions (for solar and wind energy), planning regulations and infrastructural deficits (e.g. accessibility for plant construction and biomass harvesting).

The analysis of the possibilities for refurbishment should sound out all options to improve the development feasibilities of these areas. Analysis results and area characteristics are brought together in area dossiers, which form an essential basis for further project work.

Regarding detail depth and depth of effect, the information contained in the area dossiers does in no way replace the examination procedures for the legacy situation or the examination of species protection rights stipulated in the course of the final business plan procedure, e.g. in the case of former mining areas. The area dossiers are internal working tools of the project partners. In the third project phase, they are to be coordinated with the planning-relevant actors, especially when it comes to integrating and deepening the planning intentions of the municipalities.

The result of this phase is the combination of all the data needed as a basis for the work in the second project phase.

2nd Project Phase

Using the CultNature planning tool, design alternatives are to be run through, calculated and displayed for all involved areas – under the present conditions. The goals of regional and subregional planning and the spatial embeddedness of the areas are considered as framework conditions. For these tasks, the CultNature planning tool must be enhanced and adapted in its software functionality and design.

A production model (for biomass, sun, wind) is developed for a selected design alternative. It will show how an area is designed, used energetically, and operated economically as a CultNature area. This phase bases on the current conditions defined by the German Renewable Energy Law (EEG) and its possible short-term changes.

The result of this phase is a static design concept for each of the areas involved, plus a corresponding production model for the temporary or the final use of the areas.

As a basis for the third project phase, lead market developments in the Ruhr area are identified, which may be of special interest to the development of CultNature areas. As a cross section market, the value chain “climate protection economy” is also included as a focal point. For each of the identified development trends, it is necessary to determine which types of companies or investors will fit and which demands they make on the areas. Based on this, attribute profiles with the demand side oriented characteristics of feasible areas are created. These profiles are used for group formation of the areas involved.

3rd Project Phase

In the third project phase the analysis will be made dynamic. An example will illustrate how the areas involved can be developed stepwise in the future – according to their attribute profiles.

On this basis, sample scenarios are developed for the area groups, which were determined in the second phase of the project. In these sample scenarios, the best possible development is presented with its individual steps and prerequisites.

For the individual areas it is described, how design, energetic use and commercial exploitation as CultNature areas change throughout the development of business, industrial and special purpose zones within these areas (classified as GE, GI and SO according to the German Federal Building Use Ordinance – BauNVO). In addition, it is shown how to react on these changes to ensure the highest possible economic and ecological yield for CultNature use.

For each area, the result of this phase is an exemplary illustration of a longer-term development opportunity, basing on the CultNature approach.

4th Project Phase

In the fourth phase, the analysis for the “climate protection economy” is consolidated.

There is a study by the Business Development Agency Ruhr (wmr) on the value chain “climate protection economy” in the Ruhr area, which proves that this complex constitutes a significant potential for innovation and growth for the Ruhr area. It is also interesting for the region in an economic structural way, because it is strongly medium-sized structured. Moreover, it has specific, highly application-oriented patterns of innovation with a high growth potential.

Within a strategy for linking innovation activities with concrete area and location projects, the CultNature approach can be used to upgrade areas ecologically and in terms of urban development. Additionally, with interesting offers of renewable energies, attractive sites for climate protection economy and corresponding innovation activities can be generated. Moreover, CultNature itself can be subject to innovation activities, e.g. for decentralized energy supply, mobile heat supply or energetic waste utilisation. Such activities can also be linked to municipal biomass strategies.

To develop concrete concepts for such a strategy, suitable areas are selected on the basis of the analyses of the third project phase. For the selected areas, a detailed concept for the development of these areas as attractive business and innovation sites for the climate protection industry will be devised exemplarily. These area concepts are to be integrated into an overarching regional strategy concept.

The area concepts and the regional strategy concept are the result of the fourth phase.

5th Project Phase

In the fifth phase of the project, the results of the entire project are to be digested into a report in the form of area dossiers.