Sustainable Cities™

Theresienhöhe: A new dense and green neighbourhood in Munich

Theresienhöhe is a former fair site in Munich transformed into a dense and green neighbourhood. As the city's trade fair activities moved to the former airport area, an area of 47.1 hectares close to the city centre, named Munich Riem, became vacant. This allowed for the development of a new neighbourhood.

Maximilian Dörrbecker Wikipedia Creative Commons

Theresienhöhe is approximately one third the size of the historical centre of Munich. The area has optimum access to public transport and is located 1 km from the main railway station and 2.5 km from Marienplatz, the main square in the heart of Munich. The area was municipally owned, as the urban development process began.

The strategy for Theresienhöhe was to implement the city's guidelines on 'compact urban-green' development.  In addition, Theresienhöhe sought an economically sustainable proposal that would generate revenue to build the city's new fair site. A large number of lots were divested through sale of real estate and the project has been an economic success for Munich.

An overall master plan for Theresienhöhe was laid out in an international design competition, won by architects Steidle Partners and landscape architects Thomanek Duquesnoy. Prior to the architectural competition, area residents were invited to a workshop on ideas for the future Theresienhöhe. The results of the workshop became an essential part of the competition's mission statement. The goal for Theresienhöhe was to create a unique and autonomous district integrated with the surrounding urban areas.

steidle architekten

A wide range of demands and wishes from the neighbours of Theresienhöhe such as schools, facilities for children and youth, and better public urban spaces became a part of the area's master plan. Numerous meetings of the project's advisory group as well as workshops and public events were held throughout the planning process. Some of these sessions involved real estate financing and business. The open planning process led to results with a high degree of acceptance, although not all wishes were fulfilled. This planning process has now become a permanent part of planning procedures in Munich.

Today, Theresienhöhe is a dense and green urban area with mixed residents and ownership. The district has 4-5,000 workplaces and 1,400 apartments of which 50% are publicly subsidised rentals. Approximately 25 hectares of Theresienhöhe's 47.1 hectares are public acreage of which 11.2 hectares are green and public spaces.

Compact urban-green

Overall planning in Munich is based on the city's strategic development plan, 'Perspective Munich'. Perspective Munich consists of ten guidelines with objectives of economic, social, spatial and regional development. The 10 guidelines are based on the interplay between the three key elements - compact, urban and green - which define the future city.

Compact through space-saving planning, density defined by the specific urban area, and short travel distances.
Urban through a varied, dynamic and mixed use.
Green through parks and play areas close to residential areas and the preservation of the open spaces of the city.

Perspective Munich was adopted in 1998 and has undergone continuous refinements.

Last updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014