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Das Ruhrgebiet: Erneuerung einer europäischen Industrieregion; Impulse für den Strukturwandel durch die Internationale Bauausstellung Emscher Park

The Ruhr Region: renewal of an European industrial region; impulses for the structural change from the Emscher Park International Construction Exhibition
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Faust, Heiko

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Abstract Evaluations of the recent structural change in the Ruhr region differ. On the one hand, modernisation and innovative combinations between the economy, culture and science are praised; on the other, the sustainability of the programme and projects, which are maintained with high subsidisation, is in doubt. It is doubtless true that, in recent times in the Ruhr region, there have been strong changes in the economic, job market and social structures. In addition, it is not only true that the centre of the European coal and steel industry has changed in terms of the sector as a whole, e.g. to become the area in Europe with the greatest density of universities, but also in terms of the landscape. It is now regarded as being Europe's greenest industrial region. The restructuring of the region is also revealed in a change in the cultural landscape, which, in changes in the use of industrial land, places the main importance on the production of open spaces, on the networking of green belts and on recultivation in order to do justice to the increasing demands of the inhabitants and visitors for life quality. The "culture economy" and tourism as image factors have been given the more importance than ever, not least in order to remain competitive with regard to soft location factors in the corporate decisions of where to locate. For a long time, the only purpose of the structural political measures in the Ruhr region was to improve the competitiveness of the German rock coal mining and the Ruhr economy. Especially after the removal from power of the settlement association of the Ruhr region in 1970, cross-regional planning was the exception. It was not until the "International Construction Exhibition Emscher Park" (IBA) was established in the Emscher zone in 1989, that an attempt was made to network the decentral structures of the region, as well as to achieve a modern "reconstruction" of the (industrial) landscape. It is the first construction exhibition which is not related to a city, but to a region. The pilot projects are the Emscher Landscape Park, the ecological reconstruction of the Emscher system, the new use of industrial areas and buildings to house cultural institutions, work in the park as well as new housing and integrated city district development. The projects which are pursued by the International Construction Exhibition Emscher Park contribute considerably to the improvement of the economic, cultural and recreational-orientated life in the region. This is why political discussions currently centre on the establishment of an as yet unnamed "Ruhr region agency", which is intended to continue the network of the IBA and represent a national co-ordination office for decentral projects and the cultural economy. Although the Ruhr region is far from being modernised and additional assistance is necessary in order to continue the initiated developments, the current approach is constructive, worth subsidisation and is exemplary for the industrial region. Therefore, IBA is not one of many measures, but rather represents the acceptance and consideration of regional problems, and also shows new approaches to planning and conception.
Keywords Federal Republic of Germany; Ruhr District; North Rhine-Westphalia; structural change; industrial region; economy; effects of technology; area utilization; economic development (on national level); landscape; population density; mining; economic sector; gainfully employed person; structural policy; tourism; culture; regional policy
Classification Area Development Planning, Regional Research; Technology Assessment; Sociology of Economics
Free Keywords Landschaftspark; Bauausstellung
Document language German
Publication Year 1999
Page/Pages p. 10-18
Journal Europa Regional, 7.1999 (1999) 2
ISSN 0943-7142
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications