DRESDEN>> Weißeritz area

Characteristics of the area
During the middle ages the area was outside the fortress walls of Dresden. It was largely dominated by a varying river bed of the Weißeritz. Small settlements existed along trading paths of supra-regional importance. In the 19th century Dresden grew into the area and landscape features declined. The bed of the river was relocated outside the city centre in 1893.
The industrialisation introduced by a railway system turned the area into an industrial zone, densely built with living quarters for workers. A number of hospitals in the area were crowded with people suffering from poor living conditions.
The bombings of the World War II almost totally destroyed the centre of the area, namely the heart of the industrial zone which is the most problematic zone in the case study area. But it also affected the adjacent living quarters such as Löbtau. A formative aspect of the area is its impact on the urban region as a whole due to its radial location within the city and its large dimensions. The area Weißeritz is located in the southwest of Dresden. It includes a part of the city centre, the (former) industrial zone, railway and road infrastructure, former workers living quarters of the 19th/20th century as well as a landscape reserve close to the city border. The river Weißeritz as well as its old river bed are substantial components of the 1000 ha sized area.
Furthermore the Weißeritz area is characterised by an accumulation of problems, mainly by an interrelation of environmental, economic and social problems as well as problems of urban structure. The case study area consists of a centre with the major problems as well as of adjacent areas with a better status. With this choice of borders, problems and isolation of the centre shall be solved in relation with neighbouring facilities and functions.

One of the major problems is the low or not existing land use pressure from the private sector. A reason for this is the low image of the area due to its destroyed urban structure caused by the World War II and by giving up further land uses after 1990. The low demand on land uses causes a large amount of inaccessible wasteland, empty housing and land uses which are not appropriate for their central location within the city. The flood protection which will only be granted gradually after some years is another necessary condition for investment.

Other problems impressing the quality of life are the links to the city centre e.g. a poor infrastructure for biking and walking and bad cross-river interrelations between the neighbourhoods (Löbtau – Plauen).
The redevelopment of the site is problematic through the contamination of the ground, a lack of priorities to force investment, a lack of consent between the owners as well as between the planning departments of the city.

A potential of the area is its central role in connecting the city centre and adjacent living quarters. It has a sufficient infrastructure offering access to major roads, trains and the local public transport system. A huge amount of wasteland is a potential to set priorities regarding permanent and public open space for existing functions as housing, recreation as well as connections for pedestrians and bikers. Also it offers space for a future economic development. The river Weißeritz and its banks are the link between the different territories of LUDA and a potential for accessible green open spaces and perceiving nature.
Still existing remnants of urban structure such as parks, squares, industrial monuments and historical sites can serve as initials of investment and further development.

Visions, chances for the development and drivers for change
The vision for the area is to gain a site equally attractive for business and for living. This shall be realised by developing quality open space by the green connection as a key project with an overall impact. The development of the area is dependent on communication and cooperation between land owners, existing and possible investors as well as the municipality. Existing potentials and the planned future development need to be communicated more strongly in order to attract investors and suitable land uses. Therefore it is essential to link marketing and urban planning as well as research on how to attract wanted land uses.
Key actions to enable a development of the area will be a close cooperation with the land owners as well as the moderation of their private interests. Furthermore it is important to realise public-private partnership and use alternative financial resources apart from public finances.

There are already some development plans and programmes like plans of urban renewal (Löbtau, Friedrichstadt) and the framework plan Dresden Weißeritz.
In a short term pilot projects are carried out in cooperation with stakeholders in order to point out existing potentials. They have a positive effect on public relations as well as on the image of the case study area and they visualise the long term development.

In a long term the establishment of the green connection between the city centre and adjacent living quarters is meant to be realised. This key project implies a number of aspects such as: flood protection, infrastructural development, securing existing urban structures – and initiating new economical structures by improving quality and accessibility of open space.
To realise pilot projects and to ensure the long term development including the green connection a moderation of differing interests and an intensive continuous cooperation with stakeholders is planned, concentrating on the priority action areas.

Other projects
Regional Flood Protection
Initiative "Weisseritz - Regio"

from the Forum under the Title: "Flood Protection and Urban Development
- a contradiction?" from June 2003