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Northwest Frankfurt – A new urban quarter

Between the skyline and the Taunus hills – affordable housing in a well-developed district all of its own

Topic:
Preparatory studies
District: Local district:
7, 8
Size of area:
Untersuchungsgebiet 550 ha, voraussichtlich zu bebauuende Fläche max. 190 ha
Project management:

Mr. Antonius Schulze Mönking
Telefon: +49 (0)69 212 36107
Telefax: +49 (0)69 212 30731

Ms. Sabine Guttmann
Telefon: +49 (0)69 212 34351
Telefax: +49 (0)69 212 30731


Project description

What it is all about – the process in brief


Frankfurt urgently needs additional living space: new districts for people with new jobs, vibrant plazas and calm areas of greenery for recreation and relaxation. 

In December 2017, the Frankfurt City Council resolved to examine whether suitable conditions exist in northwest Frankfurt for an urban development measure. Specifically, this meant examining, among others, legal, urban planning and ecological aspects. These preparatory studies are currently being conducted. 

The first plans revealing what the new quarters could look like will be developed in the course of 2020. During this period local citizens will be involved in various ways.
It is anticipated that the final report on the preparatory studies will be presented to the City Council in late 2021. Only then can the councilors decide whether to implement an urban development measure – and if so where exactly this will be in the area being investigated.




More informations

Darum geht es in 180 Sekunden oder auf 40 Seiten

Frankfurt Nordwest - Neuer Stadtteil der Quartiere, © Stadtplanungsamt Stadt Frankfurt am Main


Weitere Informationen erhalten Sie in der ersten Sonderausgabe des kostenlosen Magazins IM DIALOG - Neuer Stadtteil der Quartiere - November 2019. Dort erfahren Sie alles über das Verfahren. Es berichtet über Untersuchungen, Veranstaltungen und liefert Hintergrundwissen.


Why does Frankfurt need new residential quarters?

The current situation
Frankfurt is growing continually. The housing market is permanently defined by shortages and forecasts predict that by 2030 another 90,000 apartments will be needed – the figure includes the current shortfall. Although people are looking for dwellings in all price classes, there is a particular need for more affordable homes. Many people are already unable to afford an apartment in Frankfurt – and the shortage is driving rents up higher still.
In order to address this shortage, areas such as those previously used for military purposes have been converted into residential quarters. Simultaneously, within the city densification measures have been and indeed are still being conducted: Gaps in lines of buildings are being filled with newbuilds and additional stories added to existing buildings. There are, however, limits to this internal development, especially as the area Frankfurt covers is limited and important areas of greenery such as Frankfurt’s Green Belt must remain intact. This means that the potential which conversion and densification measures offer is not sufficient to provide enough living space for all the people that need it. Major new urban developments such as Riedberg and the Europaviertel will be completed in the foreseeable future.




The idea
Several new urban quarters could be developed in the northwest of Frankfurt adjoining Nordweststadt and Praunheim, as well as to the west of the A5 interstate. This would allow the City of Frankfurt to meet the rising need for affordable homes in the medium to long term. Subsequent generations would thus also have the chance to live in Frankfurt.



The resolution
In December 2017 the Frankfurt City Council resolved to examine whether in the area “Northwest Frankfurt” suitable conditions exist for an urban development measure (sections 165 ff. German Building Code). This cannot be done overnight but ultimately, at the end of a long process, the complex studies will provide the political decision makers with the information they need to decide whether there should be an urban development measure, and if so, what scope it should take.



What could be realized here, and for whom?
Should the studies come to the conclusion that all the conditions are met, then up to 12,000 dwellings for up to 30,000 residents could be built in the area in question. With a view to ensuring a diverse range of housing, groups of developers and cooperatives would then also be taken into consideration. Parks, plazas, schools, nurseries, stores, sports and leisure facilities would create attractive quarters. The main aim is to create a new home for people of different ages and in different situations – including those on average and low incomes. New jobs would also be created in the quarters. In line with the resolution passed by the City Council, the extent to which housing can also be integrated in the planned “North of Heerstrasse” commercial estate needs to be assessed.


The locaton

Warum im Nordwesten?

Rot markiert: das Untersuchungsgebiet in Nordwesten Frankfurts, © Stadtplanungsamt Stadt Frankfurt am Main

In the northwest there is a large area of open land that could with relatively little effort be connected up to the existing public transport network. This would mean that the new quarters have a public transport system at their disposal that is as environmentally friendly as it is effective.
The area being investigated as regards its suitability for development covers a total of 550 hectares. If construction does go ahead the development area would likely take up 190 hectares at most – including roads, parks, schools and nurseries.


Das Untersuchungsgebiet

Luftbild 2016 mit den Grenzen des Gebietes der vorbereitenden Untersuchungen, © Stadtplanungsamt Stadt Frankfurt am Main, Luftbild: Stadtvermessungsamt Stadt Frankfurt am Main

The A5 interstate is the defining element of the area being studied, as the highway divides the area into a western and eastern section. To the north an important west-east link abuts the area in the form of Rosa Luxemburg Strasse.
The area being studied lies in the extreme northeast of the Frankfurt city limits and consequently not only borders on Frankfurt districts but also lies in the immediate vicinity of Oberursel, Steinbach and Eschborn. Within the area being studied, on its eastern periphery, there are roads and buildings that are located in Niederursel, Nordweststadt and Praunheim respectively. Praunheim’s commercial zone lies completely within the border of the development area.



The preparatory studies

One way cities and towns can realize large development projects is an instrument known as the “urban development measure” in accordance with sections 165 ff of the German Building Code. Before a development area is defined by a development by-law, the local authority must conduct preparatory studies in order to prove that all the criteria are met, and a development measure is justified (section 165 (4) German Building Code). The result of the preparatory studies provides the specialist information needed to determine the feasibility of the new quarters. The result only becomes binding when a City Council passes a resolution on the urban development measure (development by-law). Until such s time, the outcome of the decision about the urban development measure is open.
 
Experts have been tasked with conducting the preparatory studies for the area in question. This means that in the course of a long process they examine whether all the legal requirements and technical criteria that justify an “urban development measure” are met. They do this by getting expert opinions.
 
The preparatory studies are intended to answer various questions: Which areas are suitable for development and which not? How willing are the lessees, owners and tenants of plots in the area being investigated to become involved in the development of the new quarters?

A further important component of the preparatory studies are urban development concepts, in other words proposals as to what new residential areas and spaces might look like and how they could function. These are established by means of a process whereby five to seven planning studios are commissioned to develop urban development ideas of their own that ideally take all the challenges into consideration. The concepts prepared in parallel will reveal which different approaches and solutions there are, and their impact. Should one studio, for example, decide on less housing and more open space, correspondingly fewer nurseries would be required.
 
Only when the preparatory studies have been concluded, probably in late 2021, can the City Council decide whether the area being investigated, or parts of it, should be developed.


The challenges



There are many challenges. Among other things, whether, where, and how the new residential quarters can be built depends on whether the concept studies provide sound answers to the questions the challenges pose. Here are examples of the most important challenges the preparatory studies address.



The climate and cold air


At the moment a large part of the area being investigated is a cold-air production area. As part of the preparatory studies, the area and its surroundings are also being studied as regards climate-related aspects: What is the current situation, and what would development mean for the production of cold air, how would it be transported, and what would change in terms of the ventilation of neighboring districts? And most of all: What design or technical means could be used to counter this?



Nature and water


The meadows along the Urselbach and Steinbach streams are not only ecologically key and important in terms of local recreation, they also fulfill important flood protection functions. Shaping the streams’ valleys such that they serve both as a flood retention area as well as a recreational area for the new urban quarters and the neighboring municipalities is a challenge. Nor must the strictly protected species living there be forgotten in any planning measures.



Power lines


There are several overhead power lines in the area in question. These are stretches, along which one or several high-voltage lines run. Because these are of regional and national importance, they must be preserved as a matter of principle. What possibilities there are with regard to moving or reorganizing these lines, and what distances from residential buildings have to be maintained will be established through the preparatory studies.



Mobility


Up to 30,000 residents and also many new jobs all translate into an increase in the volume of traffic. This must be structured such that it is not an additional burden to adjoining districts. In order for people to be able to get from A to B easily and quickly, local public transport must be given a great deal of attention from the outset. In comparison with other undeveloped land, the area being investigated stands out for the fact that it adjoins existing subway and LRT lines, which can easily be extended. In addition, new quarters would need to have an extensive network of cycle paths that is linked to the surrounding municipalities.



The interstate and noise


The A5 interstate runs through the middle of the area in question. If, as planned, the number of its lanes is increased from the current six to eight, noise levels will increase still further. By means of a noise expert opinion, the preparatory studies will reveal exactly where the expected volume of traffic can result in particularly high levels. The fact that like the power lines the A5 has a separating effect represents a further challenge. The plans must come up with good ideas for meeting both challenges.


A look to the future

We have set ourselves ambitious targets. Should new quarters be built in the northwest, it is safe to assume that the development lead-time will be 10 to 15 years. For this reason, planning must be sufficiently robust and flexible to adapt to changed circumstances. We expect courageous concepts, which while taking a look at the future can be implemented today. We expect far more than high urban development and landscape planning quality from the future quarters:


Vibrant quarters are characterized by a good blend of everything: amenities, facilities building shapes, social services and cultural diversity.


Areas of greenery and plazas will play a pivotal role in the new quarters. They will be linked with one another and the surrounding countryside, be easy to access, and even offer value added to the surrounding municipalities.


Affordable land for commerce is intended to encourage businesses to settle here. Retail, medical practices, bars, restaurants, and other service providers will bring new jobs and life to the quarter.


Mobility of the future must be taken into consideration from the outset in the new quarters: short distances, lots of pathways and roads, on which pedestrians, cyclists, and local public transport do not play second fiddle. Should new quarters be developed it must not be at the cost of existing districts.


A sense of community and responsibility will be of paramount importance as early as the drawing board stage. Social and cultural facilities such as youth centers and civic centers, childcare facilities, schools, clubhouses, churches, religious facilities and sports grounds are the foundations of harmonious coexistence. However, amenities such as these should not only benefit the respective quarter but also the needs of neighboring districts.


The path to an urban development model

Much forward-looking expertise on the part of experts and citizens alike not to mention good ideas are needed if the new quarters are to be a success in every respect and become a new residential home for many. Several planning studios will be tasked with preparing concept studies based on expert opinions and citizens’ ideas which will also contain sustainable landscape planning solutions. Different solutions will then also be discussed with other experts such as the “Consilium”, and the proposals improved, amended, and substantiated. Members of the the public will subsequently have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the planners’ ideas and comment on them.
On November 11, 2020, a panel of experts will draw conclusions and make a recommendation. This will be included in the report on the preparatory studies, on which the City Council will make a decision in late 2021: Is the area being studied suitable for the construction of new quarters – or not?


The Consilium

A panel of consultants known as the Consilium is providing professional advice for the preparatory studies for the new quarters. It addresses questions relating to urban development, architecture, and open space planning and makes suggestions with regard to the participation procedure, the design stage, and indeed the entire process.



The Consilium is made up of eight experts from Germany, Austria and Switzerland who offer advice on the basis of their experience. They represent a wide range of disciplines that are of importance in the development of new quarters: urban and regional planning, ecology and landscape planning, organizational and process optimization, business and social sciences. Where necessary other experts can also be added.



The Consilium was established on the back of a resolution adopted by the Frankfurt City Council in 2017. The advice proffered by the Consilium will also be discussed with representatives of the neighboring municipalities and the local consultative councils 7 and 8. At least two meetings a year are envisaged. Furthermore, there are plans for a public event, at which the recommendations of the consultative council will be presented.


Equals: civic participation

During the entire process we will engage in dialog with citizens, organizations, and initiatives, in which all participants are equals. They will all be involved, and their experiences, opinions, and ideas will be listened to. And your local and specialist knowledge is also of interest!
Lots of different ways of finding out about things and participating are an invitation to you to get involved – using both analog and digital means. And we are nothing if not transparent at all times: We continually keep you up to date with the state of things and explain complicated matters such that anyone can understand them.
You can participate during the entire process. A decision by the city councilors in favor of developing the area being investigated will provide lots of opportunities for you to become actively involved in the process over the coming years.

Timeline – civic participation, © Stadtberatung Dr. Sven Fries

Information event on November 28, 2019



A wealth of facts will be tabled on November 28, 2019: At an information event the process team will present the procedure and provide background information about relevant issues. The team will also register initial suggestions with regard to the process and the urban development concepts. The event is a good introduction to the topic, a source of background information and creates a basis for coming events.



Citizens’ Dialog I on February 15, 2020



In workshops at the Citizens’ Dialog I you will develop visions and goals for concept studies. You will then pass these suggestions on to the planners.



Citizens’ Dialog II on May 8, 2020



At the Citizens’ Dialog II you will get to see the planning studios’ concept studies for the first time. You will be able to check what the planners have made of your suggestions and discuss it. The results will also be passed on to the planning studios, which wil subsequently revise their designs again.



Citizens’ Dialog III on November 7, 2020


At the Citizens’ Dialog III the planning studios will present the final results of their design process. Here too, we would like your feedback.

Participating in order to participate


Would you like or do you need a different form of participation? The “Participating in order to participate” scheme ensures that each and every citizen can participate.
Let us know what you want, and we will look into it.


The process – the most important dates at a glance

December 14, 2017: The City Council of the City of Frankfurt resolves preparatory studies conducted



November 7, 2019
: Pan-European application procedure for the commissioning of multiple contractors for the urban development plan 


November 28, 2019
: Information event in the Planning Department of the City of Frankfurt, Kurt Schumacher Strasse 10 


December 9, 2019
: Deadline for the pan-European application procedure



January 22, 2020
: Selection of the planning studios



February 15, 2020
:  Citizens’ Dialog I (input for announcement of the multiple commission)



May 8, 2020
: Citizens’ Dialog II with presentation of the first designs and public feedback



November 7, 2020: Citizens’ Dialog III (presentation of the designs, feedback)



November 11, 2020: Jury convenes (not open to the public)



November 12, 2020: 
Press conference


Downloads, an overview

Events

Presentation by Mike Josef, the Head of the Department of Planning of the City of Frankfurt/Main, 
outlining the planning ideas for the new district on August 23, 2017 in the Town Hall in Oberursel

Presentation by Mike Josef, the Head of the Department of Planning of the City of Frankfurt/Main, 
outlining the planning ideas for the new district on September 27, 2017 in the Titus Forum, Nordweststadt

Presentation by Mike Josef, the Head of the Department of Planning of the City of Frankfurt/Main, 
outlining the planning ideas for the new district on November 28, 2017 to the construction committee of the Town of Steinbach.

Presentation by Mike Josef, the Head of the Department of Planning of the City of Frankfurt/Main, 
outlining the planning ideas for the new district on January 24, 2018 to the construction and enviroment committee of the Town of Eschborn.

Presentation by Mike Josef, the Head of the Department of Planning of the City of Frankfurt/Main, 
outlining the planning ideas for the new district on May 3, 2018 in the Town House in Niederhöchststadt


Policy position


Questions and answers

  • Data and facts

  • Will the entire 550 hectares be developed?

    No, the area measuring approx. 550 hectares is the land being investigated. Around 190 hectares of it will be developed and will include roads, parks, schools and childcare centers.

  • Urban development

  • What is an urban development measure (UDM)?

    An urban development measure is an urban development tool (sections 165 ff. of the German Building Code (BauGB)) regulated by the German Building Code. With it the city can develop urban planning projects such as new quarters swiftly. A prerequisite for an urban development measure is proof that the urban development objective cannot be achieved with other urban development tools. Another significant difference from the classic development of land for construction is the obligation on the part of the municipality to acquire the plots of land in the development area at their initial asset value prior to being earmarked for development. Furthermore, the municipality is obliged to subsequently sell the plots of land subject to a construction obligation. The development facilities and the social infrastructure (schools, childcare centers, etc.) are financed from the difference between the purchase price of the undeveloped plots of land and the selling price of the building plots.

  • Living

  • Who will live in the new quarters?

    The aim of the urban planning is to create new homes for people of different ages and in different living situations by providing affordable housing.

  • How high will the proportion of subsidized housing be?

    The ratio of subsidized housing must be at least 30 percent. Groups of developers and cooperatives will also be considered so that a wide range of different living formats will evolve.

  • Is this going to be a satellite town?

    No, the City of Frankfurt will make certain that all the requirements future residents have of a proper modern district are met:
    A range of diverse forms of living in different types of housing
    Private open spaces which by virtue of being protected areas on the inside of blocks enable, for example, meetings with immediate neighbors
    Stores within walking distance
    Provision of doctors, bars, restaurants, and other service providers
    Wide range of mobility with a focus on public transport, pedestrians, and cyclists
    A broad range of childcare places from crèche to nursery, elementary schools and a secondary school
    A wide range of sports and leisure time facilities which encourage diverse club activities
    Religious facilities
    Well designed, clearly defined public spaces that enable residents to meet on lively plazas but also withdraw to quiet areas of greenery
    Jobs in the mixed usage and commercial areas

    Value added for surrounding districts and municipalities

  • When will the first houses be built?

    At this point in time we are unable to say whether they will be built at all. The City Council will make a decision on the mater probably in late 2021, when all the requisite studies and design ideas are available. Only then can concrete planning begin – in as much as the city councilors decide in favor of it.

  • Environment and climate

  • In what way will the issue of the climate be taken into consideration?

    At the moment the land being investigated is to a large extent a location where cold air arises.
    The preparatory studies include a climatic study of the land in question and the surrounding area. This will involve an analysis of the current situation, and the impact of construction work on the generation and transport of cold air and on air circulation.
    Possible optimization measures include keeping cold air corridors (valleys and brooks) well clear of obstruction, flow-optimized positioning of buildings, and roof and facade greening.

  • What will happen to the drinking water wells on Heerstrasse?

    The Praunheim II water works’ drinking water wells will remain in operation in the future, too. The idea of shutting down the water works, which was mooted a few years ago, has been abandoned. You will find more detailed information about the situation with regard to water supply in this flyer published by Arbeitsgemeinschaft Wasserversorgung Rhein-Main
    Situation Analysis with Regard to Water Supply in the Rhine-Main Region
    and in the detailed report:
    Updated Situation Analysis with Regard to Water Supply in the Rhine-Main Region - July 2016

  • What approach will be taken to the power lines?

    There are several power lines of regional and national importance running through the area in question. As a matter of principle, the functionality of these must be preserved. The preparatory studies will determine what opportunities there are to relocate the lines both horizontally and vertically (underground cabling) or to reorganize them. How to deal with the required distances of 200 meters or 400 meters from residential buildings will also be clarified in the course of further proceedings.

  • Agriculture

  • What will happen to agriculture?

    The owners as well as tenants of land used for agricultural purposes will be affected by new building land and the land that will then be offered in compensation.
    The preparatory studies will explore the extent to which such persons will be affected, and together with the farmers possible solutions will be elaborated on how to take the possible consequences into consideration in an appropriate manner.

  • What measures will be taken as compensation?

    Construction work involves interventions in nature and the countryside. Legislation states quite clearly the extent to which these interventions can be avoided or minimized must be examined. In other words, compensation measures such as areas of greenery or the planting of woods must be envisaged. Replacement biotopes must be of the same standard.  Should this not be possible, compensation land in a natural setting must be found elsewhere. Ecological aspects will be taken into consideration in the construction project from the outset. What form construction takes will not be discussed just from a construction technology or cost point of view, but always taking environmental compatibility into consideration.

  • Mobility

  • Wow can the new quarters be accessed?

    In the event of the development going ahead, access can only be via the existing road network in the districts and neighboring municipalities abutting the area in question. In this context the capacity of the existing road network must be examined in detail in order to rule out congestion as far as possible even at this stage. Particular attention must be paid to a good and efficient public transport system with sensible connections to the one already in place so as to keep motorized private transport as low as possible. An extensive network of cycle paths will also help avoid journeys by motorized private transport.

  • What will happen to the Praunheim by-pass?

    The resolutions adopted by the City Council with regard to the Praunheim by-pass are still in place. In future its northeastern section will also serve as access to the new district and will no longer not be built up.

  • What will the response be to the fragmentation caused by the A5 interstate?

    In the concept studies the multiple players commissioned must come up solutions to this issue. Design-wise the dividing effect of the interstate must be handled carefully.

  • How will the noise from the A5 interstate be dealt with?

    Because of the high volume of traffic, which given the planned widening is set to increase, the A5 interstate causes a lot of noise.
    As part of the preparatory studies an expert opinion on noise will be complied, which on the basis of the volume of traffic forecast will identify the areas affected and examine possible noise protection measures.

  • Information and involvement

  • How can landowners and those affected participate?

    As part of the agreed preparatory studies the city will approach the landowners and tenants in the area in question with a view to determining the extent to which they are willing to get involved in the proceedings. As a rule, if the plot of land is in the developed area of Niederursel, Praunheim or Nordweststadt, no further development of it should be expected. In this case discussions with the owner are superfluous.
    You can make suggestions and ask questions at any time using the contact form on the website. Further information events for citizens will be held during the course of the preparatory studies.

  • Bei weiteren Fragen freuen wir uns, Ihnen weiterzuhelfen. Kontaktieren Sie einfach die untenstehenden Ansprechpartner.

Mr. Antonius Schulze Mönking

Telephone: +49 (0)69 212 36107
Fax: +49 (0)69 212 30731

Ms. Sabine Guttmann

Telephone: +49 (0)69 212 34351
Fax: +49 (0)69 212 30731