WAVE Team 3 Nuertingen 2021

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Area Baden-Württemberg
Place Nürtingen'
Country Germany
Topics WAVE Project
Author(s) Ali ALBANNA, Arbil Nasr ALKUBATI, Ahmed ESSOUNNI, Moussa OUARHIM, Shabnaz TABASSUM
Nuertingen WAVE Team 3.jpg


In the beginning, it's very important to understand the Neckar as a water landscape and its surroundings. How is the state of the river now and how it was before? Did it improve or not by time? How many locals and foreigners are living there? Which opportunities for interaction are there? Is it sufficient? How and where we can make interventions along the Neckar and its attributes in Nürtingen? The area we choose has a lot of potentials. It has an amazing location close to the city center and is located next to a river. Yet those spaces are barely used because they are either hard to access and the different social groups are rather socially isolated from each other. We see the challenge in connecting the different groups and residents to the river. The challenge is to bring them together in a landscape that allows people to interact with each other and with the landscape itself, improve and increase seating places along the river, enhance the river embankment since it is not well developed. Also as a challenge for the Neckar river ecosystem in Nürtingen as an example we trying to reduce the flood danger in this area especially near the city center that suffered many times from the flood. Many villages on the Neckar have had to contend with floods, extreme weather conditions, and heavy rain events in recent years. Nürtingen was affected by flooding in 1978 and 2013. It was particularly devastating in 1978 for the old town and the district of Zizishausen.

Location and scope

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Water as a natural system

Geomorphology, typologies and dynamics of water areas

  • In Germany, the Neckar river flows through the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, with smaller banks through Hesse. It is 362 kilometers long and 706 meters (2,316 feet) above sea level.It rises in the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) near Schwenningen am Neckar, near the Danube River's headwaters.It flows through Nürtingen before discharging an average of 145 m3/s of water into the Rhine at Mannheim, where it is 95 m (312 ft) above sea level.
  • The main attraction for our living lab is the Neckar river. Since Nürtingen is located on the Neckar River, the main goal of our lab is to connect the Neckar River with the people.The Neckars River flows from the edge of the Swabian Jura (Schwäbische Alb) to Tübingen, Nürtingen, and a few other small towns.Aside from the Neckar, other rivers include the Tiefenbnach Steinach, Aich, Marbach, and Aischenbach.They are Neckar river branches.The most common water sources in our living lab are flowing water such as rivers, tributaries, and standing water such as lakes.
  • Nürtingen's main river is the Neckar river.Aside from the Necakar river and its tributaries, there are four lakes: Oberer Fischersee, Unterer Fischersee, Beutwangsee, and Tiefen-loch-see in Nürtingen.The catchment area or river basin of Necakr is 13,928 km2. Flood is the most frequently discussed topic in our living lab. Since Nürtingen is located near the Neckar river, some areas are prone to flooding. Some residential, commercial, and industrial settlements can be observed in floodplain areas. The municipality of Nürtingen has some flood management schemes in place, such as flood protection zones and dams to drain water.Aside from that, our primary concern is how to manage the flood and use this threat (food) as an opportunity ( flood water for irrigation).
  • Black Forest Mountains and Swabian Albs have the direct natural influence to the river’s flow according to difference of the height level. This is also explaining the floods in the area due to the water speed in heavy rains periods. Also as an artificial and man-made influencing the dynamics of the water area there are the urbanization and settlements in the floodplain areas, building dams and changes in the canal structure itself.
  • In Nürtingen, there are four flood events. In the years 1926, 1978, 1990, and 2013. The most severe flood in the Neckar area occurred in October 1824, among others. The estimated return period for an HQ4000 is 4000 years.
  • Water areas of Nürtingen

    Water areas of Nürtingen

  • Flood-prone areas of Nürtingen

    Flood-prone areas of Nürtingen

  • Settlements in flood-prone areas

    Settlements in flood-prone areas

Water as a living space

  • Orchards and trees along the Neckar, wetlands, natural lakes, natural vegetation, farmlands, water species, birds, ducks, and bats are the most habitats in and along the river legally protected biotopes.
  • The quality of water varies according to location, time, weather, and the presence of pollution sources. Generally, the Neckar's water quality is deplorable these days according to the mercury, oxygen, nitrogen, pH levels.
  • As shown in the map, we can see how dramatically Neckar river changed in too many places and lost a lot of his natural structure through the years. At the city center area, Tiefenbach and Steinach rivers are totally changed as an example. We can clearly notice that the river stays natural as long as we get away from the town itself which is generally show human interventions on river.
  • The Dikes and walls, which were established along the river as a result of the "Special Flood Protection Programme", do not protect the city up to an HQ100, as originally thought. As a result, natural flooding is nearly impossible, also those walls and dikes blocked fish movement and migration as well behind it because normally it’s dangerous for fish to go through them. However our part of the river is permeable for fish at this moment in spite of the artificial elements along the river.

Blue and Green Infrastructure

  • The Neckar is difficult to access in many places, especially in the heavily populated and industrially used core area between Stuttgart and Plochingen.

Due to human activities over time in Nürtingen such as urbanization, population growth and the settlements increasing, the green and water infrastructure have face many changes. Also there is another various factors like the global warming and climate change. In the end, the green and the blue infrastructure have to be well connected to each other to enhance the quality of life for locals and foreign.

Water as a cultural space

Land use and water

  • Some ecosystem services we found along the river are: Regulation services: Water, soil and air quality; Soil Erosion; Lake protection; Natural regulation...etc. Cultural services: Green recreations; Natural heritage; Flora and fauna...etc. Provisioning services: Water drinking; Water for other uses; Food; Energy production...etc. Supporting services: Life cycle; Biodiversity...etc.
  • One of the potentials we could have from the Neckar river is: energy production. Nürtingen has 2 hydroelectric power plants in the Neckar river that have a limited potential of growth and they could produce 5850,79  MWh / year and one control structure that could produce 53,06  MWh / year. This limited potential of growth is mainly because of the settlements surrounding the power plants

It is clear to observe the enormous transformation of the Nurtingen city landscape through the years such as the large growth of the settlements construction including floodplain’s areas, also the changes made to the rivers canal that tightened it in so many places.

Cultural and spatial typologies of water areas

  • The spatial pattern is the distribution of individual entities in space as well as their geographic relationships. In this sense, Nürtingen's water areas have a variety of spatial characteristics. For example, if we're talking about the Neckar River, there's an urban garden, buildings, schools, arable land, recreational facilities, and so on. On the other hand, tributaries of the Neckar, such as Steinach, are more industrialized and urbanized. Besides this, there are several arrangements near waterscapes in accordance with the entire Nuürtingen. Hiking trails, seating areas, playgrounds, and, most importantly, the landscape all draw people to water areas.
  • Water bodies' size, shape, and connectivity (lakes, ponds, and wetlands) can impact ecological communities and ecosystem processes. Nürtingen is a city with a large number of churches. Some of them are pretty ancient. Nürtingen is well-connected by rail, bus, road, and bridge. Because of more industrial and commercial settlements are sometimes referred to as the "city of gray roofs." Waterbody alteration during urban development, such as construction, sewage, and industrial waste treatment, may select specific morphometric characteristics and influence the types of water bodies present in the Nürtingen. On the other hand, These treatment plants help to protect the aquatic species of Nürtingen.

Sacred spaces and heritage

The city name takes its root from the allemannic culture and row grave finds indicate Nürtingen as an early Alemannic settlement. In 1634 Conquest and devastation of the city in the Thirty Years' War. Half of the population fell victim to the plague that followed. In 1750 A city fire destroys 133 buildings in the city. The subsequent reconstruction still has a strong impact on the inner city of Nürtingen.In 1816 Start of the first industrial company. However, it was not until the 1880s that the industry broke through on a broad front (knitwear, mechanical engineering, wood and cork products, cement works).In 1919 incorporation of Oberensingen.1948 The population of Nürtingen increases from 10,000 (1936) to almost 17,000 due to the admission of numerous expellees. From 1966 construction of the new district of Rossdorf (today more than 4,000 inhabitants).1973/74 incorporation of Hardt, Neckarhausen, Raidwangen, Reudern, and Zizishausen.

There are many places with cultural values for citizens (old town, Centre of Nürtingen, Block tower, Townhall, much historical Church, and many other cultural heritage places).

Visual appearance and landscape narrative

The city lays on multiples hills, and the old Nurtingen city was settled in the middle of the hills to get benefits from the river, after wile the settlements were expanding to the forest area and had had land use changes Famous cartographer, Andreas Kieser, painted and mad several maps of the city of Nürtingen from the forest near the river Neckar. There are also postcards which shows landscape of Nurtingen

Water and People

Accessibility and usability

The water area is one of the most popular attractions in Nürtingen. There are several lakes in addition to the Neckar River and its tributaries, the Steinach and the Tiefenbach. Sitting places, walking paths along the river, and hiking trails all attract and connect people to the water. Because of its proximity to the roads, the Neckar river is quite visible to the public. However, because of the scarcity of nearby amenities, Steinach is virtually unnoticed by the general public. The area around Steinach has become more industrialized. As a result, people enjoy the natural spaces near Neckar. The community (residential, commercial, industrial) who lives near the water areas are the direct users of the spaces. Besides this, there are hiking facilities, some sports centers and also cycling paths. Besides that there is rudderclub, so people who love rowing enjoy the summer with the boats.

Community Mapping

What is to be mapped here? Our community consists of many people and organizations their main concern is how can they benefit from their landscape, and how can it enhance their quality of life.

  • Locals: They are the primary beneficiaries of the area and the major influencers in the area they consist of: Kids , Elders, Students, Working Class and Youth. They exist eveywhere in our landscape but powerless in comparison to other members. We could: Ask them for feedbacks; Arrange some meetings with them; Try and connect them to the landscape so that we could get feedbacks from them; Try and build a non physical connection with them; Ask for professional input in the project.
  • Buisness owners: They are important in the landscape because they hold huge benefit from the area and they are the one offering their services to the locals. They consist of: Small buisnesses, Shop owners, Beer Garden, Coffee houses , Clubs. Their power is linked to their business so when designing we shouldn't affect their business badly. They are located only in their business areas which means they are spreaded accross the city and they are close to the river but in multiple small areas distributions. We could: Ask them for feedbacks; Arrange some meetings with them; See how can we make them benificiate from the landscape for their businesses; Trying and build non physical connection with them; Ask them for future collaboration and if needed some financing.
  • Municipality and state: They are the controlers of the area, the law gives them power to do so and they are the most powerful influencers in the area. They consist of: Municipality, State and representatives. Their power is absolut because they hold the control over the city but we shouldn't forget that their role is to help the community have a better life. They are the less distributed actors in the city, their number isn't great but their power on the other hands isn't limited on an area. We could: Ask them for feedbacks; Arrange some meetings with them; See what are their vision for the water landscape in Nürtingen; Trying and build non physical connection with them; Ask them for futur collaboration and if needed some financing.
  • NGOs: They are the helpers, they help people get a better look at their problems and how they solve them. They consist of: Urban Gardens, Charity works, Associations. Their power is beset to help others and motivate them to change. So in this, their power reigns. They are distibuted in small areas separately but their power less than that of Business owners. We can see them all accross the city. We could also: Ask them for feedbacks;Arrange some meetings with them; See how we can facilitate their work by enhancing the landscape; Trying and build non physical connection with them; Ask them for futur collaboration; We could also adopt their vision.

Possible Futures

  • The area we are studying holds a lot of challenges concerning our blue infrastructure. This is the main reason why we have created these case scenarios that forcasts our analysis on the spatio-temporal scale. The good case scenario presents our vision for the area which is a healthy connection betweed the river and the community by: Increasing green spaces near the river; Creating new lakes to enhance the biodiversity condition; Link different existing areas near the river together which will allow people to spread all over the city. Our solutions holds values:
  • Social: Sustainable livelihoods, social cohesion
  • Environmental: Climate change adaptation, water and soil protection, green and blue enhancement.
  • Economic: Flood risk prevention.

Those could be linked to different social development goals: 3. Good health and wellbeing; 9. Innovation and infrastructure; 12. Responsible consumption; 13. Climate action; 15. Life on land; 17. Partnerships for the goals. So to make that concrete we are going with different concepts: The first will be the enhancement of connection by creating green and blue belt and the second is creating the artificial lakes that will reduce the flood in settlement area and will create more recreational areas in zones and enhacing the biodiversity.

Community Mapping and Goal Setting

Our main focus is to involve the community throughout the process. For this reason, we have thought about the postcard invitation. We will invite the community and lead them to identify their problems and needs. after that with the help of voting, we will select our goal together. For this reason, we have decided on the collaboration model.Through the collaboration model, we will involve the community in the design and decision-making process.

Spatial Strategy and Transect

Implementing our conceptual map for the green aquatic dream movement needs a collaborative process involvement from partnerships to achieve our vision like locals and stakeholders. We specified the intervention areas along the river by detecting the problems, strengths and potentials related to each area for every scenario. We created DPSIR framework model for water, healing, urban and recreational landscape to reach the responses and actions that we need to implement. Depending on fundamental resources like people involvement, time management, financial issues and donations we can proceed wisely in the implementation process to achieve our set goals perfectly. In the end, the strategy to achieve our holistic approach to enhance the river and the surroundings will get done by a well-planned timeline to the whole process to know who and when partnerships can involve.

From Theory of Change to Implementation

  • For our project we need the help of multiple community members and the more they are integrated the better. So we will need different resources like: people's works, purchasing soils, donations, construction materials, seeds, tools, construction personnels, grants... etc.
  • First we start with our vision and objectives in this we will need our stakeholders intakes, we will do an initial assessment of future conditions which are the scenarios, we start doing our planning processes by inviting our stakeholders to participate in it, then we implement the project and last but not least we have a monitoring session with evaluations.
  • By linking both these aspects, we will get to agree on the implementation of our project in the area. So the main concern we have is whether the population agrees or not. This is the main reason why we did a study of the locals so in this case we will get to meet them in real life and we will chat with them to understand better their concerns and to better design to enhance their water landscapes.

Process Reflection

I think we had a wonderful experience with this wave seminar because we got to learn the basics of water landscapes. This was an amazing experiment because we learnt a lot of things through all the lectures. One lecture that marked me was the Design with Nature because we got to understand many ways to have a concept that is at the same time beautiful and eco-friendly. We had some difficulties concerning team management and work distribution, because as we discovered some of my colleagues had other priorities which was confusing many times so we had differences a lot of times but we figured out how to fix everything in the end. I think if we had an opportunity like this one again it will be a great way to learn new things in the future. The international experience is always a good idea because we get to know how others think and by that we learn new communicative patterns and abstract. In addition, the more experience we have with ideas and concrete works the more we have a rich spiritual and cognitive background which will help us in our future with experiences and works. It was one of the amazing things in learning I had with this seminar. I wish you all good luck and a fruitful life full of great knowledges and experiences. Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts.