International SummerSchool Amsterdam/Hamburg “European Masters 2009”

“Altes Land” is the case study area situated in the delta area of the river Elbe. It is an example for a productive and efficient agricultural landscape in the former marsh areas of the Elbe near Hamburg. It is highly influenced by and connected with the water dynamics of the river. The area has a very heavy and fertile soil of former sediments of the river and is characterized by waterscapes, linear one-street villages and fruit production.
Dutch settlers cultivated the low-lying and periodically flooded marsh- land, introducing and adopting an ingenious water management system. They used techniques that worked with the fluctuations of the Elbe. The system was changed and upgraded – water management, cultivation system, agricultural engineering, apple plant selection – to match the aim to high production rates and market demands.
Today the region „Altes Land“ is still one of the largest and most productive fruit-growing areas in Europe due to the specific physical situation near the river Elbe. Situated in the growing metropolitan region of Hamburg it is a highly developed and mechanized agricultural industry of fruits, mainly apples and cherries only 40 minutes by bus or light rail to Hamburgs city center.
It is based on an ancient, historically developed land management system and therefore a cultural landscape of cultural relevance, that also attracts tourists and visitors from far away, especially in springtime when the apple trees blossom.
This delicate system is nowadays threatened by various contrary challenges on different scales:
– water management systems are not sustainable any more – functional capability of the system is suffering from changing conditions due to climate change (higher tides in the delta, more salination, change of rain falls,…) – demographic changes – demand for integration of new uses next to traditional farm use: tourism, ecology, local recreation, new settlements and housing – requests for conservation of historic landscape elements as cultural heritage – mono-functional agricultural production causes high environmental pollution (pesticides & fertilizer) that are answered with stricter environmental laws – high pressure on the farmers to stay efficient and keep up in the global competition for fruit products. The future of this landscape is investigated.

Hosting: Leibniz Universität Hannover, STUDIO URBANE LANDSCHAFTEN:  Antje Stokman, Martin Prominski, Anke Schmidt,  Sigrun LangnerInvited University’s and Faculty: Academie van Bouwkunst Amsterdam: Noel van Dooren ENSP; Versailles: Karin Helms; UPC Barcelona: Marti Franch, Pepa Moran Nunez; GSD Peking University: Quio Quian, Dihua Li, University of Virginia: Kristina Hill, Julie Bargmann, Jorg Sieweke

Participating students University of Virginia: Andrea Parker l Julia Price l Chloe Hawkins l Erica Thatcher l Ryan Ives l Serena Nelson l Sonia Brenner l David Malda l Kate Goodman

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