Development of the Wasserkamp Urban Quarter: A Blueprint for Green Housing with Public Participation

© Stadt Hildesheim – Vermessung und Geodaten
The German city of Hildesheim develops a new residential area of 46 hectares – and the citizens are invited to bring in their ideas and participate in the design of the new neighborhood.
© [Translate to English:] MLA+
Many green spaces and multiple housing solutions. This is how the new Wasserkamp neighborhood could look like.

In the middle of the action and actively involved: The city of Hildesheim is planning a new residential area – and it uses a citizen questionnaire to bring the citizens on board even in the planning phase. More than six hundred local residents and interested persons gave feedback on the future urban development concept, and their ideas will actively influence the development process for the Wasserkamp residential area. The city has commissioned three offices with the preparation of an urban development design and a district-based mobility, energy, water and biodiversity concept with the participation of the local population. Among the developers is the Stuttgart-based consulting company Drees & Sommer SE.

Public participation offers a great opportunity for cities and local communities. Participation and transparency are increasingly being brought into focus in urban development and urban planning. Citizen questionnaires enable interested citizens to play an active role in the improvement of their local communities and to influence current projects with their opinions – for example in the planned Wasserkamp residential area on the southern outskirts of the city of Hildesheim. The benefits of early public participation are a reduction in public outcry, greater understanding and the opportunity for people to contribute their own ideas and wishes to the concept.

Public Participation as an Opportunity

‘The Wasserkamp project aims to create a varied and yet individual neighborhood for housing, life quality and working. To this end we need a concept which meets the needs of the local population and covers many aspects to ensure a pleasant place to live in. We do not want to simply plan everything on the drawing board, we want to actively integrate the ideas and wishes of the people of Hildesheim,’ explains Sandra Brouër, Head of Urban Planning and Urban Development at Hildesheim’s city administration. More than six hundred people took part in the municipal questionnaire for the planned development area and expressed their wishes, suggestions, misgivings and fears.

Wasserkamp is situated on the southern outskirts of the city, between Hildesheim’s Itzum district and a special conservation area for flora and fauna, and is currently mainly used for agriculture. A wide strip of the special conservation area is situated along the Wasserkamp, and the Innerste river meanders along through the planned new neighborhood. From the hill at Marienburger Höhe, the quarter offers a view down into the adjacent special conservation area and beyond that the fertile Börde landscape near Hildesheim, so this residential district offers housing that is both close to the city and surrounded by nature. The highest priority in the planning of the new urban district is the protection of the nearby special conservation area for flora and fauna.

Find more information in our press release.