Small and smart: Bottrop
At the other end of the scale, Bottrop, with a population of just 117,000, is one of Germany’s smaller cities. In 2010, Bottrop was selected by the InnovationCity Ruhr competition as a “typical town” to become a role model for the renovation of the entire Ruhr region, the largest conurbation in Germany with more than five million inhabitants. The initiative comprises 300 projects in a neighborhood of 70,000 citizens.
“The Ruhr region has long been home to heavy industry such as iron and steel foundries and coal mining,” says Rüdiger Schumann from Innovation City Management, which runs the project. “However, the industrial landscape has changed and now Bottrop is pursuing a rigorous program of urban redevelopment that respects its industrial heritage,” he continues.
“Many of the buildings in the project area were built between the 1950s and 70s, so we’ve had a strong focus on energy-efficient building renovation. Other central elements are energy storage and new renewable generation capacity, e-mobility and new ways to reduce freight and passenger traffic, as well as to create an attractive cityscape and develop climate-resilient land use.”
The project has seen 1,000 buildings undergo energy-efficient renovation and the installation of a heat network and 100 cogeneration plants. Green façades and living roofs are being created to assess their ability to reduce the heat island effect, where urban areas are significantly warmer than surrounding rural areas. “Model City Bottrop has proved a great success in so many ways,” says Schumann. “It has now been rolled out to 20 further areas and that’s something we’re very proud of.”
“Perhaps most importantly, civic engagement has been at the heart of both projects,” Compton notes. Germany’s living labs are being watched closely and will help shape the future of cities around the world.