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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

Creative intervention in a dynamic city: A sustainability assessment of an interim use strategy for brownfields in Leipzig, Germany

Rall, Emily Lorance; Haase, Dagmar


Urban shrinkage affects many cities across the world, especially former industrial areas. One of the most dramatic areas of population decline has been in eastern Germany since the of the Berlin Wall. In 1999, the City of Leipzig started a program to revitalize its declining neighborhoods. Taking over the development of private brownfields and waiving property taxes in return for a promise of regular maintenance in a program called interim use, the city has vastly increased public greenspace in these neighborhoods. Despite regional acclaim and imitation, the strategy has thus far lacked a comprehensive evaluation: How successful has the interim use strategy been? This study approaches that question in the context of the city's sustainability goals and public use and perception of the sites, thereby providing insights for planners into the efficacy of this planning tool for neighborhood revitalization. Our sustainability assessment of the interim use sites uses a triangular integrated evaluation method combining indicator-integrated surveys and questionnaires with expert interviews. The results show that interim use sites scored higher overall than their closest counterparts, recently demolished brownfields. They also have a much greater usage rate. However, most people using the sites do not recognize the sites as being a result of city intervention, and many complain about the lack of site maintenance and benches. We conclude that public acceptance and support for interim use can be strengthened with more seating, punitive measures for property owners and increased communication about the strategy and its potential as a planning tool. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Interim use strategy; Neighborhood redevelopment; Sustainability; Greenspace; Brownfields; Indicator assessment

Published in

Landscape and Urban Planning
2011, Volume: 100, number: 3, pages: 189-201

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences

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