Actual Use of Built-up Areas / Inventory of Green and Open Spaces 2020


Berlin is a modern metropolis that continues to grow. In the last 10 years, the city has grown by some 400,000 inhabitants. Prognoses predict further growth until 2030, albeit at lower rates (cf. SenStadtWohn2019: Population Prognosis Berlin 2018-2030). Since 2017, the previous high growth rates have slowed down somewhat, with the slowest rate in 2020 due to the pandemic (cf. SenStadtWohn2019: Bevölkerungsprognose (Population Prognosis) Berlin 2018-2030, Amt für Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg 2021a; only in German).

The competition for space arising from population growth and the resulting increasing pressure on certain types of land use are defining the challenges urban planning is currently facing. The ever-increasing demand for affordable living, working and commercial space as well as appropriate infrastructure stands in contrast with the need for sufficient urban green space and areas for recreation. Urban green space is not only indispensable for recreational purposes in a city worth living in, but also essential for counteracting the metropolis’ burdens caused by climate change and for connecting biotopes throughout the city. Last but not least, a strategic distribution of uses is crucial both for implementing the mobility goal of the “city of short distances” and for strengthening Berlin’s polycentric structure (cf. SenStadtWohn 2020a: FNP-Bericht (Land Use Plan Report) 2020; only in German).

Knowledge of the current land use is absolutely essential in order to identify areas with competing land uses and plan the land use distribution sustainably. The impact of urban development and construction processes on the environment depends to a large extent on the type and intensity of the actual land use. For this reason, the effects on the environment, and also the natural and urban space potentials, are closely linked to uses and structures. The actual-use and urban-structure mapping procedures of the Environmental Atlas go back to concepts and strategies from the early 1980s, and have since become increasingly important. In terms of spatial and substantive differentiation, these maps are important especially for city-wide higher-level analyses, models and programmes in the areas of the environment, urban development and landscape planning. The content of the actual-use maps discussed here is closely linked to that of Environmental Atlas Maps “Urban Structure” (06.07) and “Urban Structure – Area Types Differentiated” (06.08), which further differentiate the actual-use mapping. Particularly for the use category “Housing”, which includes a broad spectrum of urban structures, a further differentiation is of particular interest, in order to be able to derive various urban and environmental indicators and parameters. Since not all data required for certain calculations or plans are available, or can be collected with reasonable effort locally, an approach has been adopted that can be described as that of “urban-structure typology”. Under this process, indicator values are derived on the basis of random samples, data obtained from the literature, or expert assessment, and parameters are assigned to the mapping units. Since the utilisation and urban structure have been mapped completely, these indicators can then be transferred to the entire city for many applications with a sufficient degree of accuracy.

Especially for the tasks of urban and landscape planning, an understanding of the actual land use is vital. Thus, an evaluation of the needs of the population for recreational opportunities near their homes requires information on the location of residential areas and of open spaces. Also, the close proximity of certain pollution sources to sensitive areas, such as commercial areas in the vicinity of housing or allotment gardens, can provide indications on existing conflicts (noise and air pollution, heavy-metal pollution of the soil), and strategies for solutions can be developed. Similarly, without detailed knowledge of various urban structures, the development of planning concepts for adapting to climate change would not be possible.

Furthermore, the actual-use mapping data contained in the Urban and Environment Information System (ISU) is used in the everyday planning process, as a result of its use as a base of information for landscape care plans, environmental reports as part of the construction planning process, and for other environmental impact assessments and statements.

The maps “Actual Use of Built-Up Areas” (06.01) and “Inventory of Green and Open Spaces” (06.02) together constitute a mutually complementary comprehensive presentation of actual land use in Berlin, and should, in terms of their content, be considered a single map. For methodological reasons, these maps partly overlap. Therefore, beginning 2010, two additional maps (“Actual Use” (06.01.1) and “Actual Use and Vegetation Cover” (06.02.1)) are being provided, in which the information that had hitherto been separated is combined, so that the actual use is comprehensively represented across all use types. The following text always refers to all maps, unless reference is expressly made to one particular map.