The Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning

Publication Image effects of urban developmental projects

Forschungen 150, Ed.: BMVBS, Berlin 2011

Series: Forschungen Published: November 2011

Project management BBSR:
Dr. Brigitte Adam


The subjects of this research were major urban developmental projects and new city quarters - mainly brownfield developments. The objective of the research project was to record and evaluate the concepts and effects of major urban developmental projects in their local, regional and supra-regional contexts. In order to do this, ten case studies in German metropolitan regions were empirically examined and comparatively evaluated. In addition, eight projects from other European countries were analysed to comparatively classify the situation in Germany in a larger context. The selected projects were noted for their special attractiveness to the public and/or their exceptional resonance in the media. The projects should be, as far as possible, in a central location and feature functional complexity and basic approaches to a mixture of functions.

A common feature shared by all analysed projects is that they all develop a great deal of publicity and have a strong image effect, also outside their own respective city, and that they demand major investments in terms of planning, financing and communication. Linked to this, major projects and new city quarters are in the public focus and at the centre of the discussion concerning urban development. Public relations, therefore, is of particular importance. The communication of the project usually belongs to the task area of project development and project management. These are frequently outsourced together with creative and technical planning, the coordination of the various public and private stakeholders as well as funding from the traditional administrative structures, and translocated into relatively independent projects groups or immediately transferred to development companies.

The analysis of the case studies shows that the new city quarters are generally well connected to existing traffic networks. The newly constructed buildings, however, form a marked contrast to the already existing quarters surrounding them. Their generally high population density combined with their typical lack - in newly constructed quarters - of signs of usage, as well as their modern architectural style lead to a definite setting-off compared to the already existing quarters. At the same time, the generally high sales prices and rent levels tend to lead to a concentration of a "high-income population". Thus the major projects and new quarters under examination are, so to speak, in an island position in various respects. Be that as it may, many quarters have developed into inner-city experiential areas with a variety of offerings and utilisations, and are frequented by a wider public. Due to the rather insular situation, it has not thus far been possible, in any of the cases under examination, to determine the larger effects of the projects on the immediate urban developmental environment. The feared displacement processes ("gentrification") have, so far, hardly taken place.

In addition, it can be stated that all projects under examination have provided economic stimuli and, moreover, created a strong momentum for internal development and a high level of public attention. These effects, however, face considerable personal and financial resources. The question as to whether the scale of resources needed is justified cannot be fully answered. In the future cities must assess whether a concentration of funds in individual major projects is necessary in order to support or make possible a positive development of the entire city and community. In any case, the opportunities and risks must be communicated at an early stage, openly and professionally - otherwise there is a danger that the projects will fail because of the opposition of the population.

The abstract is part of the German publication "Stadtentwicklung und Image", Forschungen 150, Hrsg.: BMVBS, Berlin 2011
ISBN 978-3-87994-478-1, urn:nbn:de:101:1-201111243155
Download (PDF, 6MB, File meets accessibility standards)

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