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International Building Exhibition

The International Building Exhibition Emscher Park (IBA) was a project organised by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Federal Government and the local authorities. Between 1990 and 1999 the project worked on the Ruhr District’s ecological, economic and social renewal.

A total of 120 separate projects not only developed an economic, social and cultural impetus, they also addressed the area’s lack of green and open spaces through a programme of ecological development. This led to the creation of the Emscher Landschaftspark between Duisburg and Dortmund.

For brownfield sites such as today's Landschaftspark, new and economically viable uses have been devised which not only match the IBA’s ecological principles, but also economic, social and cultural principles.

As a first step the state of North Rhine-Westphalia acquired the site of the Landschaftspark with the aim of developing a large park from the industrial wasteland. In 1989 an international competition for landscape architects was announced and five renowned teams of architects from several European countries took part. In May 1991 Prof. Peter Latz emerged as the winner of the competition and he was commissioned to undertake the planning and realisation of the future Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord.

In the same year a commission of experts examined the fabric of the ironworks. Various options for preservation but also demolition were discussed, concluding that most demolition options would have been significantly more expensive than preservation of the works. With this cost analysis also in mind, Duisburg City Council finally decided in April 1992 to preserve the disused ironworks.

The Landschaftspark was to become a large open and recreational space for the population and to sustainably improve the quality of life in the surrounding areas. In addition to the preservation of the industrial facilities, the preservation of the flora and fauna that had developed since the closure of the works also played a significant part. The demands on the new project were many and varied: the Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord was to be a recreational area for the people of Duisburg, offer opportunities for sports and leisure, be the centre of cultural activities such as theatre and concert performances and, of course, remain a living witness to the history of ironworks technology.

The first areas of the Landschaftspark were opened to the public on 17 June 1994.

In the first few years the body running the project was the State Development Company North Rhine-Westphalia (LEG) on behalf of the city of Duisburg. In 1997, with the creation of the Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord GmbH, a city-owned company was founded that was responsible for the park’s fortunes from then on. Today the Landschaftspark is still managed by an operating company (Duisburg Kontor Hallenmanagement GmbH).

With continuous support from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Ruhr Regional Association and the city of Duisburg, the Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord is being maintained and developed not only to preserve the site, but also to create more and more new opportunities to open up the industrial history of the disused ironworks. This is and remains a major and ongoing challenge and obligation for all the institutions involved.

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