Guide to good practice
kronsberg masterplan
Kronsberg masterplan

Kronsberg; Hannover

The Kronsberg district (Hannover, Germany) presents a comprehensive example of visionary urban planning and construction. Kronsberg is a settlement with exceptionally high ecological standards, buildings offering above-average quality of accommodation and semi-natural open space design. The district represents one of the largest and most advanced settlement programmes of its kind in Europe.

Overall Concept

Kronsberg solved the serious housing shortage that existed during 1990's in Hannover. Today comprises 3000 dwellings and is home to around 6600 people. Almost 3000 jobs are located in the immediate vicinity. The development of Kronsberg followed the regional planning principle, according to which residential development should in the main expand along local rail public transport routes and be concentrated at urban densities in the catchment areas of the stops and stations. The EXPO 2000 World Exposition was the occasion to apply this planning approach to the Kronsberg area. On the basis of two planning competitions and with the help of the Kronsberg landscape plan, a concept was devised in 1994 for the entire area that covered the EXPO grounds, the new settlement and the countryside.

Compact Structures and High Building Density

The appearance of the district is shaped by its wide-meshed rectangular grid layout, which creates frames for very varied block structures. Low land take by means of high-density construction (or Transport Development Area's in other words) was the primary planning aim. The built-up, urban quality of the townscape is the result of design parameters that set the number of storeys, building heights and building lines along the streets. Along with the demand for compact structures, an important condition was that all corner plots should be built on.

Varied Architecture and Accommodation

The grid layout of the blocks, the avenue-like streets and the open space planning unite many different construction forms and archi-tectural styles in a harmonious townscape. Over forty architectural and open space planning offices applied very different approaches and design solutions, in many cases after design competitions.

Environmentally Sound Transport Concept

Environmental compatibility and the compact community were the paramount aims of transport planning for the Kronsberg district. A new direct light rail transit service (Stadtbahn) links the settlement with the city centre. Three light rail stops are so located that nobody has to walk more than 600 metres to catch a tram.
The main motorised traffic flow is channelled along the edge of the development beside the light rail line to minimise nuisance to residents. Planning of the residential street layout permits no through traffic. Narrow sections on the roads, 30 kph zones, and priority to the right at junctions, are effective traffic calming measures. Car parking spaces are mainly arranged in small areas, either set into the hillside or at ground level. Around a third of car parking is underground. To reduce the parking space needs in the inner courts, a parking space ratio of 0.8 per apartment was set at Kronsberg. A cycle-friendly street layout with a designated cycle street running the length of the district offers, together with a dense network of rural and urban footpaths, an attractive alternative to private motorised transport.

light rail kronsberg

Light rail stop at the Kronsberg district in Hannover

Complex Use Profile and Infrastructure

The new residential area on Kronsberg, the adjacent commercial areas with their numerous new service industry jobs, and the neigh-bouring countryside create an urban spatial unity. Currently around 6,300 people live on Kronsberg in the first two development phases, Kronsberg-Nord and Kronsberg-Mitte.
Along the light rail line and the main access road, an attractive location for shops and offices has developed. At the mid-point of the present settlement these uses are concentrated with a shopping centre, a district square, the 'KroKus' arts and community centre, a health centre and a church.
Across the main road, around 3,000 office jobs have located at Kronsberg in the new buildings of the LBS and dvg banking and data processing companies. To these can be added in the immediate vicinity 700 jobs at IBM, employment at the Deutsche Messe AG trade fair company and new commercial uses for the Expo grounds on the Plaza and the Eastern Pavilions Area.

Balanced Residential Profile and Social Infrastructure

It is intended that in each development block, the wider aim of a broad social mix for the district should be applied on a small scale.When applied to the individual construction projects, this meant that grants and subsidies were used as incentives to provide a mixtureof types and sizes of accommodation. As was expected, property developers applied for subsidies in diverse forms, thus ensuring the desired social diversity.

Socially Compatible District Development

Urban development at Kronsberg was preceded by interdisciplinary dialogue between specialists in the City's Construction and Social Services directorates, the results of which were fed into a catalogue of social planning needs to be addressed by the urban development projects. Among the central requests were flexible accommodation to cope with changing housing needs, a mixture of large and small apartments, and apartments suitable for families and for new lifestyles. The objective was to avoid social segregation by mixing various forms of housing finance and ownership and limiting the proportion of apartments on which the municipality had an option to place socially or financially disadvantaged tenants.