New rail city Opladen: Urban district planning on a climate-friendly track

In Opladen, a district of Leverkusen, in a former railway area, a new urban district measuring approx. 70 hectares is coming into being – the New Rail City Opladen (Neue Bahnstadt Opladen). Right from the start, the planning was focused on climate protection and adaptation to the impacts of climate change and on an environmental upgrade of the area. Thus, the sustainable development of the wasteland is enabling the achievement of a consistent reduction in CO2 emissions.

The former railway repair workshop has been undergoing a transformation since 2008: roads and playgrounds have been built, entire housing estates and a business park have been erected. The historic industrial buildings such as the boiler house, magazine and water tower were kept intact. The living urban district is being expanded steadily and should be completed by 2020.

Engine for progress:

  • Climate protection and adaptation to the impacts of climate change in district planning
  • Two certified NRW climate protection estates on the property
  • Energy-efficient local heat supply
  • 7-hectare “green cross” with an important climatic and environmental role
  • Best foundations for climate-friendly transportation

1 of 10

Photo: neue bahnstadt opladen GmbH

Industrial monuments as landmarks that create a sense of identity, magazine and water tower shown here.

A “green cross” as air conditioning system

An important component of the rail city is what is known as the “green cross”: Historic woodlands resembling parks have been retained in the area and expanded to form a green and play area measuring seven hectares. This has given rise to a fresh air lane, which performs an important climatic and environmental role for the entire surrounding area. The existing woodland and the additionally planted trees, hedgerows and flower-strewn meadows cool the air and reduce heat stress. The demolition of production halls and dismantling of the foundations meant the seepage area was enlarged. Thus, houses and infrastructure are protected from the impacts of heavy rainfall.

Sustainable energy concept

Two local cogeneration plants with eco-friendly and energy-efficient local heating will in the future supply the approx. 1,300 inhabitants, commercial enterprises and the Leverkusen campus of Cologne University of Applied Sciences (Technische Hochschule Köln). Compared to individual supply, the decentralised network reduces the CO2 emissions by 65 per cent. Sustainability is also high on the agenda in the urban district in other areas. For instance, small and medium-sized handicraft operations jointly use space and resources such as heat and ventilation systems in the new handicraft yard. In the New Rail City student halls of residence and a residential project for multiple generations, there are immediately two certified climate protection estates built to passive house standard on the property.

Short routes for climate-friendly transportation

The New Rail City Opladen is a district of short routes. All residents can reach public transport on foot and without barriers. Newly-built cycle paths are connected to the city’s cycle path network, and two new walking and cycling bridges ensure ideal access to the city centre. This also helps reduce car traffic and therefore CO2 emissions.

Project video new rail city Opladen

Video: KlimaExpo.NRW

Photo: Neue Bahnstadt Opladen GmbH

“The outstanding centennial project New Rail City Opladen has tremendously positive energy. Replacing the train repair workshop abandoned in 2003 is a new urban district with new life and activities – green, barrier-free, for young and old. Right from the start, climate protection and adaptation to the impacts of climate change were key objectives of the overall planning.”

Vera Rottes, Managing Director of neue bahnstadt opladen GmbH

Partners and sponsors

  • Stadtverwaltung Leverkusen
  • Region Köln / Bonn e.V.
  • Energieversorgung Leverkusen
  • Ministerium für Bauen, Wohnen, Stadtentwicklung und Verkehr (MBWSV)
  • Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz, Bau und Reaktorsicherheit (BmUB)

Further reading & downloads