Institute Studies Teaching internationally German-French Planning Seminar Seminars
Franco-German planning seminar 2018 to Potsdam, Havelland and Fläming

Spatial and environmental planning in the Havelland-Fläming region and in Potsdam

Dr. Frank Scholles,
Dipl.-Ing. Magrit Putschky,
Dr. Eric Thomas

The Franco-German Planning Seminar, sponsored by the Franco-German Youth Office, is an annual exchange between students and teachers from the Spatial and Environmental Planning Department of the Engineering School of the University of Tours and the Institute for Environmental Planning of Leibniz Universität Hannover. The seminars take place alternately in a German or a French region on current planning issues. Here, the participants not only get to know the peculiarities of the countries, but also learn a lot about the planning systems and politics.

This year, the exchange took place from 7 to 13 October in the Havelland-Fläming region, mainly in Potsdam. A total of 38 students and three teachers took part. The group from Tours picked up the Hanoverian group at noon on 7 October at the Großer Garten, and then they travelled together by coach to Potsdam. After allocating rooms and moving into Haus Hochlland, they explored Potsdam's city centre together.

On the other day, the first visit was to the Brandenburg Ministry for Infrastructure and Regional Planning (MIL), where the Joint Brandenburg-Berlin Regional Planning Department presented the preparation of the state development plan for the capital region and the Havelland-Fläming Planning Association presented regional planning. The main topic of discussion was the possibilities for controlling energy production. Afterwards, experts from the State Office for the Environment introduced flood risk management and watercourse development in Brandenburg. After lunch in the ministry canteen, the group drove to Neustadt/Dosse to see what they had heard about the Dosse between Wusterhausen and Neustadt and the Rhin near Rhinow in reality. On Tuesday, the focus was on the Westhavelland Nature Park. From Havelberg, the tour went by boat across the Havel, and the Nature Conservation Union (NaBu) presented the project "Havel Renaturation"(Projekt „Havel-Renaturierung“). After returning and having lunch together at the Mühlenholz inn, the focus was on the organisation and tasks of the nature park, agriculture in nature reserves and direct marketing at the Gülpe agricultural cooperative in Wolsier, municipality of Havelaue.

Photo: On the vineyard terraces of Sanssouci Palace. Photo: On the vineyard terraces of Sanssouci Palace. Photo: On the vineyard terraces of Sanssouci Palace.
On the vineyard terraces of Sanssouci Palace (Photo: Josefine Reitmann)

Wednesday was dedicated to the World Heritage Site of the Palaces and Gardens of Berlin-Brandenburg (Weltkulturerbe Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg). Alumnus Prof. Dr. Michael Rohde presented the World Heritage Site, the protection of the environment and the significance for tourism as well as the added value created by the gardens. This was followed by a guided tour of the Sanssouci Park in the Central Route and the Southern Route, and many participants took advantage of the beautiful evening to visit the park and buildings further. On the last two days, the focus was on urban development and urban renewal in Potsdam. The Department of Urban Planning and Urban Renewal presented the landscape planning and urban development of the state capital Potsdam, the Bornstedter Feld urban development measure and the Bornstedter Feld environmental planning. The development measure was then explained on site. After lunch in the refectory, the Foerster Garden, the Bornimer Feldflur, Neumann's Harvest Garden (direct marketing of fruit) and the Krampnitz conversion area were visited or walked through in bright sunshine, guided by the Potsdam colleague Kneiding. Impressions (and cooking cultures) were exchanged over dinner. The next day, after an intercultural discussion, the redevelopment areas Holländisches Viertel and Potsdamer Mitte were on the agenda. While the Dutch Quarter is mainly about the preservation and redevelopment of the building fabric, in the Mitte the focus is on the (re)creation of an urban structure. Afterwards, most of the participants took the S-Bahn and explored Berlin-Mitte. On Saturday, the excursion ended and they returned together to Hanover and Tours.

Photo: In Neumann's harvest garden in Potsdam. Photo: In Neumann's harvest garden in Potsdam. Photo: In Neumann's harvest garden in Potsdam.
In Neumann's harvest garden in Potsdam (Photo: Kathleen Dahmen)

The students received a very friendly welcome from all institutions and lecturers in Potsdam and the surrounding area, and overall had an educational, interesting and enjoyable time together. The week in Potsdam quickly became a collaborative journey of discovery for French and German speaking students. Potsdam and its surroundings are amazing and complex in terms of history, landscape, people and culture.

The great thing about these seminars is that the exchange between the students works directly on a professional basis. Any hurdles can be quickly overcome. Thus, in addition to the professional input, there were great, bonding encounters, be it while cooking (unforgettable is that the supervisor tested the function of the fire alarms on the last day) or while freely exploring Potsdam and Berlin.

And the diverse professional insights enable the students to directly experience everyday planning, be it in the planning process or in the execution. Insights into everyday life like these help with personal orientation and networking as well as professional reinforcement.