The Annual Meeting 2011 was held in Germany. In the last two weeks of august, 60 participants from 18 different European countries came to Germany to join our round trip through five major cities around the country. Under the topic “energetic landscapes” we emphasized the issue of changing landscapes through energy production and urban development.
Starting in Munich, we went to a hydro power plant at the border of the German alps. This power plant showed the relationship between energy production and landscape as its constructions almost 100 years ago led to massive changes in the surrounding landscape through the redirection of rivers and creation of huge dams. But even if the changes were immense, the visible impacts on the landscape nowadays are rather small and the power plant is a historical monument in the landscape today.
From Munich we continued to Leipzig, crossing the former inner-German border between East- and West-Germany. On a short stop we visited the former death zone between the two parts of Germany and conducted a short sketching-workshop on how we perceive this landscape, today known as Green Belt. In Leipzig we focused on the recultivation of the huge areas that have been destroyed through brown coal mining and visited modern energy production sites like a solar field. In a one day workshop the participants created ideas of how to reshape unused industrial sites or housing gaps.
At our next stop in the capital city Berlin we visited different examples of contemporary landscape architecture like the former airport Tempelhof and the newly created nature park Südgelände. We also were among the first visitors on the not yet opened park Gleisdreieck, where we got a guided tour with the responsible landscape architects.
In Hamburg we concentrated on issues of alternative urban development, which includes the inhabitants of a city quarter into the redevelopment of their neighbourhood on the one hand and the modern Hafencity business quarter on the other hand.
The next city on our travel map was Duisburg. This city is well known under landscape architects, thanks to the famous Landschaftspark Duisburg Nord. We stayed in a youth hostel right next to the park, which allowed us to explore it on our own again after the guided tour with members of the park administrative. We also took the chance to use this special scenery for various workshops. One of them was the theatre workshop carried out in the huge machinery hall which created amazing results. But of course we also couldn’t miss the chance to visit other spectacular sites in the region that is well known for its long history of coal mining which had undoubtful impact on landscape and people in the Ruhrpott.
Our last days we spent again in Munich, concentrating on the intensive two days workshop where the participants created drafts how to increase the value of existing power plants in the city or developed ideas for new forms of energy production in the future. A speech of Mr. Wartner, Bavarian chairman of the German Landscape Architects Association gave us the perfect input into this topic.
Finally, after two weeks of intensive traveling, sketching, field trips, lectures, workshops, chatting and lots of fun the meeting was over and we had to say goodbye to each other. Everybody went on his way back home, but keeping those two weeks in mind as something very special.