Research Project

Visions for the Ruhr

IBA Emscherpark: Concepts, Projects, Documentary

In December 1988, the Internationale Bauaustellung Emscher Park (International Building Exhibition Emscher Park) was founded as a structural program of North Rhine-Westphalia for the duration of ten years. Unlike previous building exhibitions in Stuttgart and Berlin, the IBA Emscherpark was aimed at an environmental and urban renewal of a region affected by structural change in the northern Ruhr area: it was supposed to "spruce up the backyard of the Ruhr region " and show future prospects of the area . With the support of 17 municipalities between Duisburg and Hamm, the KVR, as well as numerous associations and private initiatives, more than 120 projects were developed and implemented until the "IBA-final" in 1999 . Projects which will be continued beyond the completion of the IBA, such as the ecological reconstruction of the system of the river Emscher, , will be completed in a few years.

The aim of the project, which was carried out until 2007, was to create a brochure on the IBA Emscher Park. In the centre of the project were the six main emphases of the IBA (construction of the Emscher Landschaftspark, the rebuilding of the system of the Emscher, working in the park, industrial monuments, living and urban developments as well as social initiativs) in addition to the principles, the organization and its financing. In a "historical section" the content of the programme was presented until the "finale" in 1999 by the help of documents from the Archive for Social Movements. The text contributions of the "current part" were written by regional institutions involved in the IBA project. Finally, the brochure ends with a longer interview with the former executive director of the IBA Emscherpark GmbH, Prof. Dr. Karl Ganser which was conducted bythe Ministry of Construction and Transport of North Rhine Westphalia..

The research results were published in the brochure entitled "Visions for the Ruhr" pby the Klartext publishing house Essen in January 2008. The richly illustrated publication, which comprises almost hundred pages, includes a CD-ROM that enables a faster access to archival holdings (files, documents and maps) for the IBA Emscher Park and is supposed to encourage further research about the building exhibition. The booklet was published by the Library Foundation of the Ruhr and funded by the Ministry of Construction and Transport of North Rhine-Westphalia.

For further information please contact:
Dr. Thomas Urban