Current issues in urban development - Students of the Institute for Environmental Planning visit Wolfsburg on a field trip

The Autostadt site attracted great interest as a development of a city within a city.

On Thursday, November 25, a group of the Institute of Environmental Planning of Leibniz Universität Hannover visited the city of Wolfsburg. The excursion took place as part of the english-language master's module "Challenges and Opportunities for Urban and Rural Spaces". The participants from a total of ten countries from three different continents are students of environmental and regional planning, architecture and urban planning. The excursion was accompanied by the two lecturers Jonas Lamberg and Alistair Adam-Hernández. The event took place in compliance with the current regulations in place locally to contain the coronavirus.

To welcome them, Wolfsburg showed its sunny side in the morning. As soon as the group arrived at Wolfsburg's main train station, it visibly cleared up and bathed the city in a warm light. The now blue sky also contributed significantly to the good mood.

On the forecourt of the Science Center Phaeno, the urban dimensioning of the quarter was discussed.

First on the agenda was a guided tour of the city. Using the examples of Phaeno, Autostadt and Designer Outlets, the design of various urban spaces and architectures was discussed. The book "Städte für Menschen" (Cities for People) by Jan Gehl, which had already been used intensively in the previous seminar sessions, served as a particular reference. The heterogeneous composition of the group was also a great enrichment. The different professional backgrounds of the students made it possible to gather a variety of perspectives on urban space.

The tour then continued through Porschestraße to the Hallenbad cultural center, a former swimming pool. Here, the focus was on the topic of after-use and conversion of urban buildings. Anna Deileke from Hallenbad gave a tour of the premises and answered the students' questions. The group was very impressed by the diverse cultural program that is realized here in combination with the extraordinary premises.

In the former swimmer's pool of the cultural centre Hallenbad new perspectives opened up.

After a lunch break in the city center, Wolfsburg's public transportation system could be tested - the bus took us to the new Steimker Gärten neighborhood. On Siemensstraße and Berliner Ring, it was also possible to gain an impression of the planning paradigm of the car-oriented city by driving past. Also on the drive-through, the Steimker Berg was thematized as an example of the garden city concept.

Finally, in the Steimker Gärten, the focus was on current urban developments. Manuel Windmann of Volkswagen Immobilien had provided extensive material on the new urban district at the entrance. Equipped with this material, the students explored the urban design and the layout of the open spaces. In addition, the strategic embedding in the Wolfsburg housing offensive and the planned connection through the alternative green route were discussed on site.

These topics could be discussed in more detail during the subsequent visit to the city hall. André Nissen from the Department of Strategic Planning, Urban Development and Statistics welcomed the group to the council meeting room. After an entertaining presentation, he got into conversation with the students. They were very interested in the work of the department and had many questions. Finally, it was important to put the impressions of the day into a strategic urban development context. They also asked about possible career prospects with the City of Wolfsburg. In particular, the outstanding trainee program of the City of Wolfsburg was recommended, which both speaker André Nissen and lecturer Jonas Lamberg had completed in the administration before his current work at the university. The visit to the city of Wolfsburg was crowned by a walk on the roof of the city hall. From here, all of the day's program points could be experienced once again from a bird's eye view.

Finally, a visit to the market hall was scheduled for late afternoon. Christian Cordes from the city gave a guided tour of Wolfsburg's new showcase project. The students were particularly impressed by the many opportunities for digital learning and working in Wolfsburg.

Full of new impressions, the return trip to Hanover by train was finally on the agenda. Many of the students have already planned to return to Wolfsburg again, for example to get to know the Autostadt, the Phaeno and the Designer Outlets even better. Many also showed interest in the Allerpark. A great basis for another excursion to Wolfsburg in the coming summer semester.