Connection of Huckarde Borough with the Renatured Emscher River and Deusenberg Sites

Connection of Huckarde Borough with the Renatured Emscher River and Deusenberg Sites
Area characterisation: 

The widely visible Deusenberg (900m long, 500m wide, 50m high) is located about 6 km northwest of Dortmund city center and about 1 km east of Huckarde. The recultivated landfill serves as an attractive location for different leisure activities. The view from the hill to all sides is gorgeous. Vast slopes with planted trees, shrubs, and grassland have well developed over the past 30 years. Today, the area is home of several protected species.

The actual dirt path is hidden at the southeastern slope toe and hard to be seen from the Emscher path in summer, as dense vegetation (trees, shrubs) hides the small “entrance” which is a cut out part of a fence. The new path will be about 120 m long and 2.5 m wide and will be designed as a combined path for walkers and bikers covered with sand. According to the adjacent path system, there will be no lightning. It will be constructed on a lot which belongs to the City of Dortmund but is administered by the EDG (Dortmund disposal company; affiliated to the City of Dortmund). In former times, when the landfill was actively filled, a road existed there but was deconstructed after 1992. Due to areas with neophytes and plants typical for succession as well as hikers or bikers using the dirt path its adjacent area is no living space for protected species. 


The former Deusenberg landfill has been recultivated since 1992 and was opened to the public in 2004. Since then, it has become a popular destination for various leisure activities like walking, jogging, cycling, mountain biking, birdwatching, etc.

Access to the top of the Deusenberg is mainly possible from the northeastern side via several paths and stairs. The other three expositions are “gated” by train tracks (west, north), a fenced maintenance and work facility as well as a fenced lot with a degassing installation for the landfill (south). In the northern area an unofficial trail connects the path system with the Deusenberg trails. A second unofficial trail exists in the southeast, connecting the Emscherpath with an existing paved road which is also accessible to workers to maintain the landfill via a gated property.

The Deusenberg will be part of the exhibition area during the International Garden Exhibition in 2027. It will be necessary to offer a barrier-free connection from an existing parking lot to the exhibition area. Therefore, the hidden, unofficial path in the southeast will be reconstructed. Until 2027, other gaps in the path system around the Deusenberg will be closed so that a complete network of foot and cycle paths will exist. 

In the past years, Huckarde citizens have been asking local politicians for a better connection between the Huckarde settlement and the Deusenberg leisure area. The path therefore meets their desires. 


The first step was to identify a realizable course. An existing north-south running dirt path parallel to train tracks would have been a shorter connection for the Huckarde citizens. Nevertheless, a barrier-free access would only have been possible by cutting a larger number of old trees. Moreover, the City of Dortmund was not the owner of the land. Therefore, the east-west running dirt path was chosen. A feasibility study was worked out by a planning company to identify the course minimizing impacts on nature and landscape. The use of the existing course with a little cutting at its higher parts turned out to be the best option. 

Due to time constraints planning could not be realized by the Department of Green Spaces at the City of Dortmund. Therefore, a company had to be assigned to work out the call for bids to hire a planning company. In the meantime plans for approval have been worked out and handed in. 

The next steps will be to get political approval for the construction of the path, work out the design plans and assign a construction company.

Potential impacts/benefits: 

Adjacent to the dirt track several about 50 year old trees, shrubs, and grassland are located as well as the leftover baseplate of a demolished building. They all have to be removed before constructing the path.

Today, the dirt track has its highest point in the middle of the path. With gradients up to 6% the path does not meet requirements for barrier free gradients (≤3%). Therefore, the top needs to be digged off up to 1.2 m so that it will run in a little cutting. The polluted soil needs to be dumped and cannot be reused for landscape modelling. Impacts on nature and landscape will be compensated by planting new trees and upgrading the new slopes by seeding tall forbs. 

After construction, the EDG GmbH (Dortmund disposal company) will take over the maintenance of the path. The company is located south of the path and in charge of maintaining all paths on Deusenberg.

In the long run the Huckarde citizens will have a well constructed and maintained foot and cycle path as part of the path network around Deusenberg.

Transferability of the result: 

Planning and constructing a foot and bike path has a high degree of transferability; closures of gaps in path networks lead to effective results with an excellent relation of revenue and expense.  

Technical and legal specifications as well as administrative procedures have to be adapted to respective requirements. Local settings have to be regarded. As they differ from project to project only the superior structure can be transferred.

Lessons learned: 

Being able to realize construction projects by integrating “usual” partners and structures is probably most effective. In our case, due to time constraints, it was for the first time that the respective department at the City of Dortmund could not support. It was time consuming to work out an alternative strategy. External project partners had to be identified and signed. It took almost one year until planning work could start.

At the City of Dortmund it is foreseeable that integration of external partners will occur again - lessons learned will help for future cases.


180.000 € from EU project proGIreg, 5.950 € from City of Dortmund (feasibility study), 1.450 € from South-Westphalia University of Applied Sciences for soil examinations, payments for vegetation removal will be paid by EDG


City of Dortmund,