(SRP Gesellschaft für Stadt- und Regionalplanung mbH 2015)
Urban parks and inner city waters have diverse effects beneficial to humans; for example, their services extend to the areas of
- reducing the level of temperature while simultaneously increasing humidity,
- filtering particulates out of the air,
- (partly) reducing noise.
However, urban parks make a particularly relevant contribution as a pro-actively usable health resource. Thus, physical, mental and social health and individual well-being can be enhanced by spending time in nature through leisure, experience of nature and exercise. Public urban parks also provide spaces for social encounters, and by allowing children to play together, for example, they can foster the development of social behaviour and personality, along with motor functions, the immune system, general physical development and creativity. Public green spaces can attain great significance for the local identity of the population of big cities, and publicity beyond the region.
In considering the present situation in the planning areas, a distinction was made between near-residential (intake area of 500 m, approx. 5-10 min. walking distance) and near-estate green spaces (intake area of 1,000-1,500m). The classification into the respective type of open space was carried out according to the size of the area. For the open space type “near-residential”, which is directly associated with the residential environment, green spaces with a small area are generally sufficient; the open space type “near-estate” includes all green spaces larger than 10 ha. The analysis of the availability of open spaces for the population in Berlin is based on 6m² per inhabitant for the near-residential open space, and on 7m²/inhabitant for the near-estate open space in the intake areas, respec a degree of availability relating to the intake area is determined. In the availability analysis, the quality of facilities of a green space is not taken into account.
The planning area related determination of the availability of green and open spaces is based on the procedure “Availability analysis for the urban availability of green spaces” (“Versorgungsanalyse für die städtische Versorgung mit Grünflächen”, VAG), with four block-related levels of availability (I, II, III, IV) and on the programme plan “Recreation” in the landscape programme Berlin (SenStadtUm 2015f), which converts the content of the availability analysis into planning statements. For a detailed description of the complex method used here, see the accompanying text for the Environmental Atlas map “Availability of Public, Near-residential Green Spaces” (SenStadtUm 2013a).
The results of the analytic steps were transformed into three PLA categories of availability:
- good, very good
- bad, very bad, no availability.
On this basis, a three-level degree of availability (“bad/very bad”, “medium” and “good/very good”) related to the intake area was determined for the planning area related assessment.
An examination of the areal distribution shows that around half of the Berlin population (47%) has “good/very good” availability, a quarter (25%) has “medium” and a quarter (28%) has “bad/very bad” or “no” availability. Only 5% of the inhabitants with a “good/very good” availability live within, 95% live outside of the Berlin S-Bahn ring. The population with bad, very bad or no availability lives within the S-Bahn ring for the larger part (55%), but a significant part also lives outside (45%), though these planning areas can be assigned to the inner city according to their building structure (Wilhelminian-style block structures).
There is a connection between the PLA availability category and the average block-related population density. In the inner city as well as in the periphery the quality of availability decreases with increasing population density. This means that a dense development tends to reduce the availability of green spaces. However, it should be taken into account that even some planning areas with a higher population density have a good availability of green spaces. Thus, 18 planning areas of the inner city are in the “good” availability category 1 with a population density of 146 inhabitants/ha, while 48 planning areas in the periphery whose population density of 163 inhabitants/ha is just 12% higher are in the “bad” category 3.
The quantitative evaluation for a low social structure index together with bad availability of green spaces yields the following picture: In all, 27 planning areas with around 269,000 inhabitants are situated in this category. They are mostly in the inner city area, with concentrations in the districts of Wedding and Gesundbrunnen and in northern Neukölln. Further towards the periphery, some individual planning areas such as the Thermometer estate (Lichterfelde Süd), the Marzahner Promenade, as well as the Schwarnweberstraße and the Klixstraße (Reinickendorf) are affected. Often, these are planning areas which exhibit further loads (3-, 4- and 5-fold loads).