Building Heights 2023


There are several Environmental Atlas topics that detail Berlin’s urban development and its effects both on the residential structure and the distribution and use of non-built-up areas:

In addition to this information, the Urban Structural Density maps assess the degree of building use.

These individual separate findings, however, only provide limited insight into the vertical extent of the natural or artificial structures in the city. For this reason, the Environmental Atlas presents the height development of buildings (“Building Heights” map (06.10.1)) and that of vegetation (“Vegetation Heights map (06.10.2)) in two topics.

Precise and detailed information on the height and structure of buildings and of vegetation areas may prove to be important in many a situation. There is a multitude of applications for these datasets. For built-up areas, for example, they may provide information for

  • expert evaluations, e.g. registers of solar or green roof potential, or heat registers,
  • urban climate modelling in the context of microclimates,
  • detailed assessments of the extent of air and noise pollution in residential areas, and
  • visualisations for a variety of planning projects.

The accuracy of each model strongly depends on the quality of the input data. For example, to enable a detailed calculation of the course of air channels and ventilation conditions, accurate information on the aerodynamic surface roughness, including its geometric dimensions, has to be available. Elevated objects, such as buildings or entire blocks of buildings, as well as high and dense tree structures present obstacles. They may have a wind-breaking effect or eliminate wind completely; or else these obstacles may have a channelling effect, accelerating the wind flow.

The first joint “Building and Vegetation Heights map (06.10) was produced in 2009/ 2010, as part of a project with the Institute of Optical Sensor Systems of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Today, an official, regularly updated 3D building model in LoD2 is available for Berlin’s building stock. The Environmental Atlas’ two-dimensional geodatabase “Building Heights” (06.10.1) was developed using this model as a basis. The “Vegetation Heights” (06.10.2) map that complements the “Building Heights” map, however, is still based on the Environmental Atlas’ own analysis of aerial photography data obtained during the respective summer flights.