Actual Use of Built-up Areas / Inventory of Green and Open Spaces 2015


Information about actual land use is managed and processed at the ISU (Informationssystem Stadt und Umwelt: Urban and Environmental Information System). This makes possible a graphic data processing of the factual data on basis of a uniform spatial reference system.

The spatial reference system is provided by the Block Map 1 : 5000 of the Urban and Environmental Information System (ISU5), which is in turn based on the Block Map of the Statistical Office of Berlin-Brandenburg (AfS). Each statistical block is as a rule delimited by streets. The numbering and the limitation of blocks is handled by the AfS.

In the ISU block map, the AfS blocks can be further subdivided. The block segments constitute the smallest reference area here, and are delimited within a statistical block according to differing land use. The block segments are not part of the statistical block system of the AfS, but are shown only in the block map of the ISU. Thus, a total of 25,352 blocks and block segments result.

13,253 of these areas correspond to the statistical units of the Office of Statistics, while 3,137, mainly large and vacant blocks from the Statistical Office of Berlin-Brandenburg (AfS) map, have been subdivided into 12,099 ISU block segments.

The uniform reference system makes possible a clear spatial identification of all factual data. By means of a common key, which contains, among other things, borough, block and block segment numbers, these data are assigned to the spatial reference system.

The Environmental Atlas Map “Actual Use of Built-Up Areas” (06.01) and “Inventory of Green and Open Space” (06.02), record the actual land use in Berlin on the basis of 22 different categories, which are described in greater detail in the following sections. The procedure for the determination of the various land use categories is detailed in the report which documents the mapping unit and the updating of the database 2015 (SenStadtUm 2016a, German only).

Link to: Vergrößern
Tab. 1: Use Categories for the Environmental Atlas Maps 06.01 and 06.02
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin

The Maps ”Actual Use of Built-Up Areas” (06.01) and ” Inventory of Green and Open Space” (06.02) together constitute a comprehensive representation of actual land use.

For Public and special use, Utility area, Commercial and industrial use, Mixed use with commercial character and Traffic area, it is possible to simultaneously map certain green and open space use categories, in order to also permit ascertainment of any unusual vegetation-determined character of certain areas. Thus, in addition to their actual use, these areas are also characterized in terms of the type of their vegetation cover. As a result, for some areas with these uses, there is an overlap – so-called dual use – of the two maps1. For other uses, no dual use is allowed, since building use by definition, due to its high intensity, either excludes green use (e.g., core area use), or else may intrinsically include a large green or open space share (e.g., Weekend cottage and allotment garden-type area).

Examples of the application of dual use include:

  • the ascertainment of ecologically relevant urban stocks of ruderal vegetation or forest-like stocks on low intensity traffic areas, or commercial or utility site,
  • the ascertainment of public and special use, which also exhibits the character of green use, such as borough horticultural offices, the field experimental fields of universities, or sports fields; or
  • the ascertainment of linear stands of vegetation along rail lines, waterways and roads.

Since in many applications, only one piece of usage per area can or should be processed, it is necessary to aggregate the information of the two use mapping procedures in order to have only one piece of usage information per area throughout. For most applications in the environment area, green and open space usage is of particular interest, since this is the dominant feature of the ecological nature of an area (e.g., vegetation structure and evaporation behaviour). Other applications, however, are more interested in building use (e.g., when comparing the actual-use profiles for a proposed land use plan, or in assessing the impact of the effects of noise on people). Therefore, from 2015, the use has additionally been represented in the two maps “Actual Use” (06.01.1) and “Actual Use and Vegetation Cover” (06.02.01), in which both the uses of Map 06.01 and those of Map 06.02 are shown together. In Map 06.01.1, in case of dual use (currently 1,964 cases), the construction use is shown, i.e. the presentation exhibits construction priority. By contrast, in Map 06.02.1 the presentation exhibits green priority, i.e., in case of dual use, green and open space use is shown. Since when drawing a balance of the shares of the city’s territory occupied by the categories, each category can be taken into account only once, this procedure ensures that the area share can be calculated separately, depending on the goals of a particular assessment.

Updating the Geometry and Usage Data

In addition to the update of Block Map 1 : 5,000 (ISU5) of Berlin, the focus of the continuation of Edition 2016 was on the research and analysis of digital data collected by the sections of the Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment and beyond that in other contexts, by means of which a more extensive, semi-automated update and review of the entire data set could be accomplished. In this context, the mapping units of both the actual-use and the urban-structure mapping processes were adjusted slightly in isolated cases. The rules on the admissibility of combinations of various land uses and types of areas were also slightly revised, and, based on these rules, plausibility checks were implemented for the entire data base.

Update of the Digital Map of Berlin 1 : 5000 (ISU5)

The block boundary changes carried out between 2011 and 2015, including the current area key of the Berlin-Brandenburg Office of Statistics, have been adopted into the geometry of the ISU5. For all newly created blocks, and for the area monitoring areas of the Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment (only in German), a use mapping procedure was carried out with the aid of aerial photography and other documents (see Statistical Base). In this process, a further subdivision of the block areas into homogeneous-use block segments was implemented where necessary, corresponding to the presentation in the land-use and area-type system of the Environmental Atlas.

There were also correction areas, where “random observations”, e.g., during examinations of adjacent areas, local inspections, analyses of aerial photography or local knowledge on the part of persons involved, etc. had revealed that the land use had changed.

Plausibility check and comparison with various spatial data bases

Plausibility checks were performed using a database analysis, in which areas with unacceptable combinations of land uses and area types were identified and reviewed.

In addition, various spatial data bases were analyzed that have in recent years been compiled in the Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment and other departments for a variety of specialized tasks. These data bases were either already available as ISU block data, or they could be merged and compared with the information of the ISU map, and thus provided indications of particular cases in which the use data needed to be examined.

In addition, all areas categorized in Edition 2011 as Fallow area, Traffic area, Allotment garden, Meadow and pasture/ farmland, Tree nursery / horticulture and Cemetery were subjected to a check, because they were subject to greater change dynamics with respect to structure and vegetation.

Scope of the update

The updated ISU5 map consists of a total of 25,352 areas: 13,253 of which are main blocks and 12,099 block segments. A total of 18,128 areas with built-up use and 9,188 with green and open space use were mapped. Thus, 1,964 areas showed dual use.

Extensive checks were carried out. In this context, areas were also identified, which were covered in more than one of these checks, as well as areas adjacent to areas under review, which were therefore also checked. Thus, the complete update results in a total of 7,159 areas, which were checked for their use. 1,346 blocks were assigned a new key and 147 block segments were deleted. Of 5,666 checked blocks which retained their key, 1,945 blocks received a new use assignment and for 3,721 blocks the use was confirmed. This revision covered about 27,370 ha or 34.5 % of the total block area (without roadway areas).

Independent of the use check, 213 main blocks and 760 block segments were dissolved based on AfS information, and 376 main blocks and 970 block segments were newly defined. For 36 main blocks and 279 block segments of these, it was only the key, not the area, that was changed.

In 720 cases, more than 20 % of the block segment area was changed, due to boundaries that had been moved, e.g. to include a new building outside a block segment.

A detailed documentation, which contains not only the report on the current continuation of the real use and urban structure mapping, but also a representation of the conceptual basis, mapping instructions, and a comprehensive description of all mapping units, can be downloaded at the following link:

/umweltatlas/_assets/literatur/nutzungen_stadtstruktur_2015.pdf (only in German)


1 For example, in Map 06. 01, a sports field is marked as a Utility site and in Map 06. 02, as Sports use. Also, a median strip may be recorded either as a Traffic area (Map 06. 01), or as Fallow area (Map 06. 02).