Research Area:
Landscape Change and Management

Green City Lab Dresden – Compact City in the Ecological Network

Photo: Stefanie Rößler

What is at Issue
Environmentally friendly and sustainable urban development poses challenges now and for the future, generating ever greater awareness of how important open spaces are in the city. Urban shrinkage and surges in growth, new demands on open-space planning in the face of climate change, the need to protect urban biodiversity and enhance awareness of healthy living conditions and environmental justice have provoked a fundamental debate on identifying and re-programming the role of open space in the city. This debate calls for well-founded knowledge on the (potential) services urban open spaces can offer in meeting demands, not least to spell out the relevance of the subject matter for society. Urban development that is more strongly oriented on open space can also require a different approach to control and planning, not to mention greater political awareness of the issues.

The aim of the Green City Lab project is (1) to generate a basis of knowledge for open-space oriented urban development and (2) to analyse, assess, and develop planning and implementation approaches. The focus is on the potentials and limits of open space as a new lead structure for urban development. The project examines the form such a lead structure could take and how it can be underpinned by concrete measures in developing open spaces. It also investigates what control and planning approaches are necessary or suitable for implementing open-space oriented urban development.

The first step is to conceptualize open space in the city theoretically in the context of current urban development visions. On the basis of selected ecosystem services of urban open spaces, planning and development measures are examined with regard, for example, to their importance for climate adjustment. Research adopts an approach that is both institutional and actor-related in developing and assessing control and planning procedures for open-space oriented urban development and in formulating recommendations for action.

What is to be achieved
Input is to be developed for the debate on the optimum density of settlement structures and the feasibility of open-space oriented urban development visions in the context of climate and demographic change. A basis and methods for assessing selected ecosystem services of urban open spaces are to be elaborated. Analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of current planning processes and thus the potential of and limits to planning control will contribute to formulating concrete implementation aids. The project hopes to give scientific and practical impetus to the international debate on open-space oriented urban development.


January 2011 to
June 2014