WAVE Team 6 Nuertingen 2021

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Area Baden-Württemberg
Place Nürtingen
Country Germany
Topics WAVE Project
Author(s) Gabriel, Yana, Digjam, Titiksha, Manasviben
Neckarhousen dike.jpg


  • The Neckar River in Nürtingen, part of the Stuttgart greater region is an ideal example to understand the impacts of global economic growth and industrialization on river landscape and ecosystems. At this particular location, the beauty of the valley carved by rivers flowing in harmony with surrounding hills, trees, orchard cultures, historical architecture, have always attracted many peoples and animals around this river.

The Nürtingen historical center is built on the top of a hill, safe from flood and the city englobe few villages around such as Neckarhausen, Oberensingen, and Zizishausen who are benefiting directly from the river.

The challenges for the future of the Neckar river ecosystems are multiples. For instance, the rapid economic growth of the Stuttgart region has led to industrialization and urbanization of the riparian's area. The agricultural economic growth model has created a large demand for industrialization and has damage to the soil and its water retention capacities. The use of synthetic chemicals has created pollution in the soil, groundwater, and eventually in the river.

The global warming crisis is also an alarming challenge, it will create more draught, more flood, an increased in water temperature, and finally greater stress on the river biodiversity and sustainability.

Location and scope

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Water as a natural system

Geomorphology, typologies and dynamics of water areas

  • Describe the water areas of your area in the context of the wider water system

The Neckar River is located in the central part of Europe. Its main source of water for the Baden-Württtemberg Province in Germany and the source is located in the Black Forest at 706m of altitude, not far from the Danube River source(35km away). It flows from south to north into a 362 km long journey to eventually reach the Rhine River in France at 90m above sea level and ultimately share its water to the North Sea in Holland. The Neckar River flows through the foothill of the Alps, in the Swabian Alb region. The valley could be 400m deep in some area and the water pass through Tübingen, Nürtingen, Stuttgart, Heidelberg, and reach the Rhine River at Mannheim Germany.

  • How does water appear in the landscape of your living lab? What types of water areas are common?

Water appears in many forms depending on the natural geomorphology, typologies, and dynamics of its flow. In a wider context watershed, drainage basin, catchment area or the cultural or built environment by humans is also responsible for its appearance, the River, Lakes, Tributaries, Streams, Puddle, Pond, Canals, and Floodplains are the types of water areas that are common in our living lab.

  • Please identify the water bodies' catchment areas, tributaries, and floodplains

Catchment: The catchment area dimension is 13,900 km2 and covers up to 40% of the Baden-Württemberg province.

Main Tributaries : Eschach, Prim, Schlichem, Glatt, Eyach, Starzel, Steinlach, Ammer, Echaz, Erms, Aich, Lauter, Fils, Korsch, Rems, Murr, Enz, Zaber, Schozach, Lein, Sulm, Kocher, Jagst, Elz, Ltter, Laxbach, Steinach, Elsenz.

Main Floodplains: Tributaries of river Neckar, Danube, Rhine, the Seine at the German state of Bavaria, Hessen, Rhine-Palatinate, Baden-Wurttemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia were affected floodplains

  • Which dynamics do these water areas have?

The elevation of the western black forest mountains and the south-east Swabian Albs have a natural influence on the flow of the water. The Dynamics of the Neckar River could be directed by the hills or into a meanders dynamics and open up into vast floodplains.

Human modification of the watercourse, such as urbanization and industrialization, have an impact on the dynamic of the river and we can observe that in some location the water trajectory has been sifted from its original position by long and straightforward channelization, resulting in an acceleration of the river flow during heavy rain or snow melting in the Alps Region and causing erosion of the banks.

  • Have there been any flood events in the past?

Flew major flood events in central Europe have happened in the last two decades: • 1993, on Neckar catchment. • 2002, along the river Elbe. • 2016, after continuous heavy rainfall.

Water as a living space

  • Which habitats can be found in and along the water areas of your area?

The formation of habitats on the territory of Nürtingen is a result of a combination of factors such as history, climate, geographical location, flora, and fauna of surrounding territories. The morphology of the territory also has a strong impact on the way of forming habitats. The city lies on the river Neckar, a mountain fast-flowing river, as well as a hydrographic network is represented by streams and small freshwater lakes. Leading development the city of Nürtingen, recapturing large areas of land, due to this, complex areas with alternating natural vegetation, farmlands, and urban territories are formed. Classification of habitats that can be found along and in the water of the river Neckar: Wetlands – marshy area, banks of the river, floodplain; Freshwater – riverine, streams, lakes; Urban – recreation, residential areas, gardening, and landscape design; Forest – old and young forests; Farmlands – pasture and orchards; Grassland – meadows, and slopes;

  • How is the water quality in your water areas?

The Neckar River in Nürtingen runs through 3 dikes that slow down the river’s flow. In some locations can be found the dense settlement, especially along streams, and sewage treatment plants. As a result, a high nutrient proportion can be recorded, which leads to the significant development of algae during the summertime. The lack of oxygen due to the degradation of this organic material can be dangerous for many wetland and freshwater species. The warning level of continuously recorded oxygen by the power station is below 4 mg per liters.

The level of pH of river water is also a very important parameter – the measure of hydrogen ion concentration. Low pH can be dangerous to immature fish and insects, while the high level of pH is also harmful to most organisms. The most optimal pH level which is considered for life – 7,4. The level with indicator 8.0 can be sufficient for most river species, but clams and snails usually prefer the higher level of pH. According to the last measurements the pH value in the river Neckar in the territory of the Nuertingen – 8,3.

  • Which areas are still natural, which are urbanised/artificial?

The structure of the river and streams bodies is a very significant parameter, which contains bed and bank structures, course development, transverse and longitudinal profiles and watercourse environment. This parameter must be recorded because of two important reasons: - habitats should be available for well-being in and around the river; - flora should be naturally occurring in and along the river and streams; Baden-Württemberg water structure map shows that structure which was considerably changed and significantly changed with the largest share of the total assessments. There are about 40% of the river structure in an unchanged, slightly changed, and moderately changed condition. The results of structural completely changed class are composed of the waters that as a result of the individual parameters piped sections, this corresponds to approximately 20% of the total rated.

  • Are the rivers permeable for fish or blocked by artificial elements?(approx 200 signs)

Since the Neckar river in the territory of the Nurtingen flows through 3 dikes it can block migration of fishes because these dikes have electro station and turbines, that dangerous for fishes’ lives. However, when analyzing and observing the river Neckar some artificial structures were sighted, next to the dikes, which provide an opportunity for free movement of fishes. These structures represented a new way for the fish migration separate from river flow towards to turbine. All calculations were done by specialists, according to the speeds of the river’s flow and observing the fish migration. These lots for the movement have stepped construction that allows fishes to have a rest after the long migration. In conclusion, the river Neckar has serious artificial elements that can block the movement of fishes, but some good solutions can be found along the river, so this part of the river is permeable for fish at this moment.

Blue and Green Infrastructure

  • What are the major potential elements of a green/blue infrastructure network? Are these likely to change/disappear? Why is that?

The green/blue infrastructure network provides living space for all beings. It connects the ecosystem together and ensures growth and food for the development of biodiversity.

The blue infrastructure quality could be altered due to multiples factors such as climate change, industrialization, urbanization, and economic needs.

The green infrastructure network in Nürtingen has been mostly altered due to human activities over time in Nürtingen such as wood logging, agriculture, and orchard plantation.

The green/blue infrastructure network needs to be connected to ensure life on earth. The grey infrastructure has a major role to play in the disruption of the network and the future of biodiversity. If not designed with proper consideration of a wider network, it can lead to a permanent loss in biodiversity and ecosystems.

  • You find my background material on green infrastructure in our reading list

Water as a cultural space

Land use and water

  • map the land uses along your water areas: settlements, infrastructure, agriculture, resource extraction, natural areas, energy production...
  • describe in particular the historical evolution of land use pattern, please make use of historical maps

Historically, Nürtingen center have been established on the top of a hill on the east shore of the Neckar River, preventing the populations from flood events. At that time, the landscape was transformed by local people involved into diverse kind of agricultures and wood logging activities.

However, from 1824 to 2021 in Nürtingen, we can observe a large transformation of the landscape and a very strong growth of the settlements. Some urban has sprawl down to the floodplain’s areas, and the agriculture field have become less diversified, wider and closer to the river.

  • description evolution, status quo and driving forces, is the land use likely to change? Why is that? (approx 200 signs)

The strong economy of the Stuttgart region is a major driver of change in the urbanisation of the Neckar River. The industries have grown very quickly and create a rising demand for transport on the river. Electricity plants, construction of road and highway along the river, industrialization of agriculture have become common in the landscape.

The Stuttgart region significant and steady growth of its population and the scarcity of homes available is creating opportunities in real estate market to develop more space for living. And the Covid pandemic increase the demand of the population to relocate themself away from major urban centers.

The land occupation will change accordingly to the economic success of the Stuttgart region. New technologies such as electricity production will have an impact on improving the river ecology. Agriculture will also change eventually to a more nature base approach and allow biodiversity to occupy more of the territory. Due to the pandemic, working from home into the services industries will led to more urban sprawl. Hopefully, people will get in touch more with the river and the land so it can create new driver of change toward bio-diversified landscape and ecosystems balance.

Cultural and spatial typologies of water areas

  • Which spatial patterns have evolved in relation to your water areas?

With Reference to the famous Novelist Mark Twain. The Neckar River has nearly always been used in Europe as transport ways. The technical transformation was undergone to fit the requirement of rafting logs & millers. The Neckar in many places so narrow about (27-37 meter wide). In the historical period, It was in the most natural state, their needs were water transport, potable water supply, hydro-electric energy, agricultural water supply, disposal of wastewater, cooling of thermal power plants, as well as providing relaxation and leisure activities along the river banks.

  • What is the role of water areas within the overall urban morphology? (approx 200 signs)

One of the oldest historical background St. Laurentius is a Landmark that dominates the town of Nutingen, stands on the hill jutting to Neckar River. The church originally was said to be built in the 10th or 11th century.

The Wuerttemberg Railway network via plochingen to Tubingen line got connected to Nurtingen in 1859. Which lead to develop the Oberamtsstadt Nurtingen in to an industrial city during late 19th century. Initially the textile industry was predominant which changed to metal processing industry. Then after a long time Nurtingen was called as the city of gray roof because amount of cement was produced in Nurtingen during the period of 1872 to 1975.

Since 1998, around 600 plus communal domestic sewage treatment plant have been operated in the catchment of Neckar River in which some of them are also for industrial waste treatment, as a result the number of aquatic species rose from 33 species in 1972 to100 species in 1998.

Sacred spaces and heritage

  • Which places/elements hold cultural value and to whom?

In the 6th Century origin of the place name (Niuwirit-Ingen: "with the people of Niuwirit") 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).

  • You may add a map and some images, please also explain in your caption why these elements are valuable

Visual appearance and landscape narrative

  • Which elements are essential for the landscape character?

One of the most fundamental elements of the Nürtingen landscape is the Neckar river valley, its streams, and its riverbanks. The city lays on multiples hills, which are used for different purposes, such as agriculture fields, vineyards, and pastures. Some remaining of a larger forest area can be found observed in the north and in the south of the city, which are very important habitats for animals and vegetation diversity. Citizens enjoy hiking and cycling, using unique routes which cross these beautiful landscapes.

  • Has the landscape been painted or otherwise depicted, when and whom? Which elements are essential?

In 1638, Andreas Kieser, a german cartographer painted a view of the city of Nürtingen from the forest near the river Neckar. This painting can be found in Andreas Kieser's warehouse books. This view contains a representation of the central church tower, the historical center of the city, and the view of the river Neckar with two streams.

  • Which narratives exist? Who has written about this landscape or depicted it in some way?

Mark Twain known as the father of American literature have visited the Neckar River. He depict how much the river being on the river was a peaceful and resourceful experience : “Germany, in the summer, is the perfection of the beautiful, but nobody has understood, and realized, and enjoyed the utmost possibilities of this soft and peaceful beauty unless he has voyaged down the Neckar on a raft. The motion of a raft is the needful motion; it is gentle, and gliding, and smooth, and noiseless; it calms down all feverish activities, it soothes to sleep all nervous hurry and impatience; under its restful influence all the troubles and vexations and sorrows that harass the mind vanish away, and existence becomes a dream, a charm, a deep and tranquil ecstasy. How it contrasts with hot and perspiring pedestrianism, and dusty and deafening railroad rush, and tedious jolting behind tired horses over blinding white roads!”. ― Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad "

  • You can add text and images

Water and People

Accessibility and usability

  • Where are your water areas accessible, and where not? How strong are spatial obstacles preventing access?

According to survey, only a small part of the river Neckar in the territory of Nürtingen is accessible for people: – a cycling and walking path from the center to the sports area on the southern part of the river and a small area on the northern part of the riverbank between two pedestrian bridges.

Other parts have serious problems with access to the river, especially in Neckarhausen, where the people and biodiversity are separated from the river by Neckarstrasse road, a noisy traffic road. Wild vegetation cover could be also an obstacle to the vast majority of people visiting the river.

  • Who is using the spaces and how?

Citizens of Nürtingen enjoy walking along the river, such as older people and young families with children, people who love to do sports and outdoor activities, such as cyclists and joggers can be found in the territory of riverbanks. Also, fishermen choose the south side of the river for fishing because this area has a quiet atmosphere.

Community Mapping

What is to be mapped here?

  • Social groups from within the community, for example the youth, kids, students, parents, the retired etc. Typically, these groups have specific needs, which you can also make explicit on the map. These people might not be organized in any way, but they are usually present in the context you are observing
  • Local stakeholder groups: these groups are organized in one or the other way. They only exist within the community context you are observing. For example: the local community center, local churches, local interest groups, the landowners, small businesses and retailers
  • External stakeholder groups are not necessarily present in the environment you are observing, but they may have strong stakes and interests. These can be local authorities, politicians, associations, care services etc.
  • For each group, you may identify their needs, objectives, power and capacities
  • You may also identify gaps and power conflicts
  • Please try to redepict these elements in an integrated way and in relation to your water landscape. What is the relationship between these groups? Are they close or distanced from each other? Who is more powerful? Which voices are hardly heard? Do they have any shared concerns?

Possible Futures

  • You can summarize your findings with a SWOT diagram and a DPSI(R) Model

In our DPSIR Model, we have identified that economic growth and agriculture needs are 2 drivers that can lead to disruption of ecosystems in Nürtingen. For now, we have elaborated few responses to address change before it impacts permanently the landscape environment. We propose to link the ecosystem in a better way, create ecological corridors, reforestation projects, monitoring biodiversity, and restrict further settlements over floodplains.

  • Link back to the Sustainable Development Goals: Which goals are at risk?
  • What is your worst case scenario for this landscape?
  • What is your best case scenario for this landscape?

Collaborative Goal Setting

  • Define strategic planning objectives based on the evaluation findings from your analysis
  • Ideally, involve the community of your living labs into this process
  • Link back to your original targets from section one and the Development Goals
  • 150 words text contribution

Our analysis of Nürtingen have been pointing our few majors driver of change in the region : Economic Growth, Industralisation, Agriculture and Urbanisation. Theses change over time could lead all kind of pollutions, lost of landscape uniqueness, ecosystem disruption and lost of biodiversity.

To address these challenges an pressions, we have been fixing goals of relinking the blue and green ecosystem together. We want to implement protected areas that could connect the communities, towns, landscape and ecology into a more natural scale. One of our goal is to improve the knowledge of citizen to landscape architecture and make them participating in solving problem of sustainable agriculture along the rivers and streams. A solution could be to create a cocreative studio along the river connected to a natural walking path. This particular place can serve also as a market for local agriculture and a meeting point for future international landscape architecture student and community.

Spatial Strategy and Transect

  • translate your strategic goals into a vision
  • develop a spatial translation of your vision
  • exemplify your vision in the form of a transect with concrete interventions
  • add map(s) and visualizations

The Turquoise Belt is a long-term vision for the Nürtingen Water Landscape. Turquoise is Blue and Green living in harmony. We want to create a Belt of 26km around Nürtingen for encouraging wildlife to florish. The turquoise Belt will improve the local community's quality of life and secure access to nature for future generations. Also, it will generate learning opportunities for future students of landscape architecture In Nürtingen.

We have identified two wetland spaces inside of the flood plains of Neckar River, that have the potential of becoming wildlife sanctuary by providing quality food for local animals.

It could have the potential of bringing the people back to their river. Encourage the next generation of getting closer to nature. Improving the health of nature and peoples who walk into the Turquoise Belt will rediscover the beauty of the local biodiversity.

From Theory of Change to Implementation

  • For implementing your vision: Which partnerships are needed? Which governance model is required?
  • Who needs to act and how? Draw and explain a change/process model/timeline
  • Which resources are needed? On which assets can you build?
  • add 150 words text and visuals

Implementation of the Turquoise Belt would need basic resources such as time, people, and money. We have developed a 3 Step model over a period of 9 years to realize the 26km Belt, the revegetation of the riparian zone, and the creation of a community center on the water for cocreation and promotion of local agriculture.

As a first step, we would need to involve the local community, farmer, HfWU School of Landscape Architecture, and environmental conservation agency to initiate the base of the cocreative project.

Secondly, we will make use of social groups to create pressure and generate changes. The city of Nürtingen would also be a key player and we will look at opportunities to buy key pieces of land or have an exchange with farmers to ensure the connectivity of local forest to water.

We would also contact industries and business people or Investissement and the possibility of eco-business along the Turquoise Belt.

We are asking for basic resources such as time and money from all the actors and we want that everybody can benefit from the Turquoise Belt. For instance, local farmers who are willing to create a space for the Turquoise Belt on their land could have the opportunity to sell their local products to the River Market and would have trees planted for free on their land.

We wish that everyone could also benefit from this community experience of building projects together and generate the feeling of doing something good for the next generation.


  • give a full list of the references you have used for your case


Fresh Surface Water – Vol. III - Sustainable Industrial Water Use in Southern Germany J.Giesecke, Institute of Hydraulic Engineering, University of Stuttgart, Germany


Nürtingen Stadt : https://www.nuertingen.de/de/nuertingen-fuer-alle/startseite

EEA : https://www.eea.europa.eu/

Copernicus : https://www.copernicus.eu/en


Designing Extreme Landscapes: Antje Stokman at TEDxStuttgart https://youtu.be/t4BvdyseTqo

Jon Bergmann Channel - about water systems https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8oHpCxTqt2HmATxM5pvUPg

Der Südwesten von oben - Unsere Seen | Geschichte & Entdeckungen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vpgWb5cnmQ&list=PLHOeTnjM6Kurinsbaa3GGwP4a6rrX27VX&index=19&t=673s

Arte Decouverte : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCL_cZf5sHKQHMRIEax5o3sg

Reportage "Le Rhin, visages d'un fleuve" : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SroFn_qbtFI

Disparition des oiseaux : une perte immense | ARTE : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UNme611doQ&t=1508s

Process Reflection

  • Reflect in your intercultural and interdisciplinary team on the outcomes of your study
  • Which limitations were you facing?
  • What have you learnt from each other?
  • What did you learn in the Living Labs?
  • What would you do differently next time?
  • You can also use diagrams/visuals
  • 250 words text

The international experience was quite fruitful in terms of learning about how to work in an international environment. It also points out the difficulties of working online with multiple actors located in different time zone. One of my favorite parts was to learn about other projects and challenges, I was hoping to help them somehow in resolving issues. Working Internationally make us understand how landscape can be stress at a different level and that landscape architecture is part of the solution. I really enjoy receiving feedback from other teachers and students from another university, it made the IMLA program very distinctive compare to what I experienced before. It makes us a better leader to have that international picture of landscape architecture.

Some points that could be constructive:

-having an open room for chatting with other students just after the lectures -having some break time to consolidate the learning

Thank you !