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Capturing patterns of shrinkage and growth in postindustrial regions: A comparative study of the Ruhr Valley and Leipzig-Halle

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Existing Globalization reinforces transformations within urban societies and leads sometimes to the phenomenon of urban shrinkage. This is not only visible in small areas and cities. Often entire regions are facing similar causes, yet not all areas within them show similar developments. Apparently, other factors influence intraregional trajectories. To understand phenomena of urban transformations it is important to consider their inherent complexity. This study addresses urban and regional developments as processes and as complex systems of different inter-dependent multi-scalar networks. The aim is to capture patterns of growth and decline in post-industrial regions. Analysing the urban network of two German post-industrial regions - Leipzig-Halle and the Ruhr Valley - at multiple scales, this research explores how their network morphology relates to their present socioeconomic situation. By using the theoretical-methodological approach of Space Syntax and GIS methods, complexities between those spheres are revealed offering an insight into intra-network relations and their origin. The purpose is to understand to what extent industrialisation and deindustrialisation have affected the spatial structure of these regions influencing their patterns of growth and decline. The research reveals that in spite of similarities in the ways in which both regions have grown, their overall structures differ significantly. This difference relates to their present condition of regional shrinkage and partial growth and influences their future potential.
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SSS10 Proceedings of the 10th International Space Syntax Symposium
072
Capturing patterns of shrinkage and growth in post-
industrial regions:
A comparative study of the Ruhr Valley and Leipzig-Halle
Kimon Krenz
Space Syntax Laboratory,
The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
kimon
-vincent.krenz.12@ucl.ac.uk
Abstract
Existing Globalization reinforces transformations within urban societies and leads sometimes to the
phenomenon of urban shrinkage. This is not only visible in small areas and cities. Often entire regions
are facing similar causes, yet not all areas within them show similar developments. Apparently other
factors influence intraregional trajectories. To understand phenomena of urban transformations it is
important to consider their inherent complexity. This study addresses urban and regional
developments as processes and as complex systems of different inter-dependent multi-scalar
networks. The aim is to capture patterns of growth and decline in post-industrial regions. Analysing
the urban network of two German post-industrial regions - Leipzig-Halle and the Ruhr Valley - at
multiple scales this research explores how their network morphology relates to their present socio-
economic situation. By using the theoretical methodological approach of Space Syntax and GIS
methods, complexities between those spheres are revealed offering an insight into intra-network
relations and their origin. The purpose is to understand to what extent industrialisation and
deindustrialisation has affected the spatial structure of these regions influencing their patterns of
growth and decline.
The research reveals that in spite of similarities in the ways in which both regions have grown, their
overall structures differ significantly. This difference relates to their present condition of regional-
shrinkage and partial growth and influences their future potential.
Keywords
Regional morphology, urban shrinkage, post-industrial region, space syntax.
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1. Introduction
Globalisation, neoliberalism and post-industrialisation are reinforcing constantly transformations
within our urban societies. These transformations lead for some cities and areas to processes of
growth, while others suffer from declining developments (Figure 1). While the rapid growth of
manufacturing and production had a large influence on the structure of cities and regions, its decline
can leave people in physical realities, which increase socio-economic inequality. This is especially
visible in cultural and economic spheres, and it can lead to the phenomenon of urban shrinkage. The
shrinking city phenomenon is a complex multidimensional process affecting cities multi-scalar
(Pallagst, et al., 2013; Bontje & Musterd, 2012; Fol, 2012; Martinez-Fernandez, et al., 2012;
Großmann, et al., 2008). Difficulties do not only arise through the complexity of causes and effects of
shrinking processes, but also through the lack of comparable multi-scalar methodologies of analysis.
A problem recently highlighted by Pallagst et al. (2013) who call for an in-depth analysis of currently
occurring factors, which influence shrinking processes. A study by Turok and Mykhnenko (2007) on
European cities highlights that shrinkage was, as well as growth, always part of the history of spatial
developments. However only a small number of scholars have focused on the relation between
socio-economics and urban configuration within the complexity of declining regions.
More than the term ‘shrinking cities’ suggests, not only cities, often entire regions such as the Rust
Belt in the United States, the region around Greater Manchester and Liverpool, the Ruhr Valley or
the region Leipzig-Halle are facing the impact of structural transformations. It is these industrial and
post-industrial shrinking regions that are especially characterised by successive stages of industrial
growth and decline. While within a region all cities are facing the same global cause, some of them
develop differently or even in contrast to the overall population loss and economic decline.
Apparently, intraregional shrinkage and growth follow other more complex patterns of influence
than the aforementioned global causes.
Figure 1: Total Population in thousands for selected cities from 1850 to 2010, global context. Source: US Bureau
of Census 2000, Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth, ISTAT, statistisches
Landesamt des Freistaates Sachsen, Landesamt für Datenverarbeitung und Statistik NRW, Statistical Bureau of
Essen. Total Population in thousands for selected cities from 1850 to 2010, Leipzig-Halle. Source: statistisches
Landesamt des Freistaates Sachsen, statistisches Landesamt Sachsen-Anhalt. Total Population in thousands for
selected cities from 1850 to 2010, region Ruhr Valley. Source: Landesamt für Datenverarbeitung und Statistik
NRW, Statistical Bureau of Essen, Statistical Bureau of Bochum, Statistical Bureau of Dortmund, Statistical
Bureau of Oberhausen, Statistical Bureau of Herne. (Diagram by author)
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Josje Hoekveld (2012) supposes in this context, that these differentiations are caused by regional
and local specificities and emphasises the importance of geographic scale in the analysis. Shrinking
cities should be analysed as cities embedded in regional structures, containing growing and shrinking
districts, rather than independent ‘shrinking cities’ (Laursen, 2013, p. 80). Laursen hypothesises the
phenomena as a ‘dynamic patchwork of growth and decline’ and calls for a more network-oriented
approach in the analysis. Space and spatial strategies seem to be generally understudied in the
complex phenomenon of urban shrinkage (Weidner 2007, p.345). This situation is among others
based on the lack of satisfactory morphological descriptions, especially when analysing large areas
such as regions.
Addressing cities in a simplified way using abstract statistical space rather than real space, omits ‘any
detailed account of the internal structure of the system’, and is therefore not able to express the
inherent complexity (Hillier 2009). This difficulty can be informed by a syntactical model, such as
Space Syntax, a theory and method that describes configurational characteristics of street networks
and relates them to patterns of use, social activity and cultural meaning (Hillier & Hanson 1984). As
such it allows humanising infrastructural networks - which are often seen as devoid of social
dimensions - and relating them to socio-economic factors. Moreover Space Syntax can - by using the
notion of spatial sustainability - identify statistically the structural potential of emergence,
adaptability and self-organisation within cities and regions (Hillier, 2009). Authors such as Psarra et
al. (2013) have recognised the structure of real space and its relation to socio-economic
characteristics in view of patterns of growth and decline. Their study of Detroit analyses spatial
patterns of shrinkage and shows significant relationships between the spatial configuration and
social and economic activities. Their findings suggest that space can play a powerful role in the social
functioning of cities.
This is especially of relevance in post-industrial regions since their rapid growth might have
developed stronger to industrial distributional networks than being shaped by the ‘natural
movement’, the flow of people generated by spatial structure itself (Hillier et al., 1993). One can
thus conjecture how the structure of industrial regions can be influenced by industrial developments
and how the emerge of spatial patterns might differ from non-industrialised areas. A consecutive
process of industrial growth, subsequent settlements and the emerge of commercial land-use at
configurationally beneficial positions might characterise those regions and shape their ‘foreground
network’ of centres and sub-centres linked together and placed into a ‘background network’ of
residential spaces (Hillier, 1999). This can lead subsequently to major regional impacts once
deindustrialisation occurs and places of attraction disappear and leave people in physical realties
shaped by industrial land-use.
A disconnection between the residential ‘background network’ and the ‘foreground network’ could
be an indicator for such a process. A detachment between these two networks by industrial areas,
infrastructural connections or top-down introduced spatial configurations, such as planned company
towns results in a fundamental decrease in movement potential between scales and reduction of
social co-presence and social interaction (Hillier and Hanson, 1984), which can be seen as the
foundation of self-organisation processes.
This study proposes in this context Space Syntax as a method, which enables the analysis of regional
structures on different scales, as it deals with distance on three levels, namely topologic, metrical
and geometrical distance (Hillier 2009). This allows analysis of spatial relation within the system. One
can thus define maps of integration and choice over the whole region from the global to local via
intra-regional scales. Integration is an indicator for accessibility or closeness and allows to measure
to-movement potentials, while Choice (mathematical betweenness) constitutes a measure for the
potential of passing through spaces, or simply through-movement (Hillier & Vaughan 2007).
Structures with strong hierarchies tend to lack in complexity and generate lower movement
potentials determining emergence, adaptability and self-organisation processes. In a regional
context especially choice forms the opportunity to evaluate and understand intra-regional networks
and allows relating socio-economic trajectories to regional structures.
This study will focus on the regional structure of two shrinking regions in Germany and investigate
their development historically over time. The two regions, Leipzig-Halle and the Ruhr Valley were
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chosen, due to their similar trajectories during the industrialisation and current developments of
shrinkage and growth. The urban network of the two regions is analysed and explored to understand
how their morphology relates to their present socio-economic situation in the context of urban
shrinkage. The purpose is to investigate to what extent industrialisation and deindustrialisation has
affected the spatial structure of these regions. An understanding of how the spatial configuration
relates to present socio-economic activities, developments of growth and decline can create insights
in the structural functioning and potentials for future developments of post-industrial regions. The
focus here lies on the investigation of the development of the regional structure and its present
morphology. A diachronic analysis of the regional spatial structure does not form a part of this
paper. This is due to the size of the model and the lack of accessible historical maps covering a
regional area on a detailed local scale.
To grasp patterns of growth and shrinkage this study uses the framework defined by the Shrinking
Cities International Research Network (SCiRN). According to the SCiRN, a city is shrinking if the
population decreases within at least 2 consecutive years. Following Hoekveld (2012) the period
under observation will be extended to 5 years to grasp if the occurring shrinkage can be considered
as a structural phenomenon rather than a coincidence. The base for this study is formed by the
European Urban Atlas, a local component of the GMES/Copernicus land monitoring services. The GIS
data constitutes reliable, inter-comparable, high-resolution land-use maps for Large Urban Zones.
The size of the model is defined by the administrational border of each region and the available land-
use data of the EUA. The syntactical analysis will draw on recent knowledge in normalising least
angle choice NACH (Hillier et al. 2012). The regional foreground network will be examined on four
different radii from a local to a global scale in order to understand intra-regional distributions
and the relationship between parts and the whole. The socio-economic analysis includes information
about total population, total number of ‘Non-German’ population as an indicator for migration and
percentage of unemployment rates from the period of 2006 to 2011. Depending on the population
size the number of statistic districts ranges for each city between 5 and 62.
2. Historic Background
The region Leipzig-Halle is the largest agglomeration and economically one of the most productive
places in Eastern Germany. It is dominated by the two largest cities Halle and Leipzig, which first
gained influence during the industrialisation. In this regard especially Leipzig formed the seed of
growth, due to its central position in the German Empire. The introduction of the first railway
connection in Germany 1839 between Leipzig and Dresden strengthened this position. Furthermore
the region took advantage of its large coal deposits and Halle as well as Leipzig grew excessively
during this period.
In the 1930s Leipzig reached its peak in population and strengthened its monopoly as a centre for
trade, while at the same time the surrounding region started to aggregate more population. A view
on the regional distribution of industrial facilities from 1927 highlights the variety of different
industries, which are aggregated in proximity to the cities Delitzsch, Eilenburg, Wurzen, Grimma,
Borna and formed a large network of industrial interdependences with Leipzig as its centre (Figure
3).
With the foundation of the German Democratic Republic 1949 the decline of the region started. Due
to the political and economic isolation of Eastern Germany, brown coal, chemistry and energy
production was set in the focus of promotion and investments of the GDR regime. This was mainly at
the expense of the diverse structure of midsize production facilities in Leipzig and Halle and large
numbers moved out. Investments were not sufficient to modernise the industries and compete with
the global market. Moreover the factories were operated on the principle of deterioration and their
physical and technical standard ran down. This lead to a situation, which constituted one of the main
reasons for the massive economic decline after the reunification (Rink, 2005, p.634).
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Figure 2: Regional overview of Leipzig-Halle and the Ruhr Valley (Map by author)
‘Decongestion’ and ‘functional order’ dominated the planning ideas of the GDR regime and large
‘Plattenbauten’ estates (pre-fabricated housing estates) developed, Halle-Neustadt formed in this
respect the largest example of GDR’s socialist urban planning. The entirely purpose build city
provided 25.000 dwellings for worker of the chemical industry. At the same time the historic building
stock got almost entirely neglected. This led to situations were people started to move out of the
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inner city cores. Apartment vacancies increased massively. In parts of Leipzig this led to even up to
20% of vacant flats (Rink et al., 2012, p.167).
Figure 3: Industry facilities with more than 10 employees 1927, metal industries (red circles), chemistry
industries (blue circles), textile industries (yellow circles), coalmining industries (brown hexagons), Leipzig-Halle.
(Source: Regionalpark Mitteldeutschland, 2013)
Due to the environmental pollution, the industrial decline and the neglected inner city cores a large
emigration wave started after the German reunification in 1989. People did not see any perspective
in the regional development. An intensive drop of birth rates consolidated this development. The
introduction of the capitalist system brought mainly deindustrialisation. Mass layoff and factory
closures dominated the years after the reunification. The strong regional network of industrial
relations started to dissolve within this process. A suburbanisation process triggered by West
German capital expenditure and the introduction of western ‘lifestyles’ accompanied this and the
city cores were unable to compete with the attractiveness of suburban areas. Although the
renovation of inner city areas had started, the prices of the few already refurbished blocks were too
high in comparison to the hinterland. This process took place until the end of 1990, when Leipzig and
Halle managed to renovate 75% of their pre-war apartment stock. In 2000 Leipzig and Halle showed
signs of growth for the first time since 1930s (ibid., p.169).
The Ruhr Valley on the other hand is the fifth largest agglomeration in Europe and the densest
region in Germany. It first gained influence in the medieval period. Along the trading route ‘Hellweg’,
a series of cities were founded. Duisburg, Essen, Bochum and Dortmund formed in this respect the
most significant ones and all of them were in a distance of one-day journeys. Beginning in the 18th
Century the area in the south around the river Ruhr became a place of coal production. At that time
the production was mainly based on surface coal seams and the river formed the main way of
distribution. This brought growth to the already established medieval cities, along the trading route,
due to their proximity to the river Ruhr and places of production. Especially Essen took advantage of
its closeness to the distributional network and its development of extensive growth started first.
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Figure 4: Positions of coalmining in the Ruhr Valley in 1825 and 1850. ‘Mergelgrenze’ in (red line), coalmines
(yellow), soft coal area (light grey), hard coal area (dark grey), river (black). (Source: Michael Tiedt, 2013)
This situation changed drastically through the introduction of railways and drilling techniques,
allowing to break through the hard surface in the north and overcome the ‘Mergelgrenze’, a
geographical boarder between the southern soft coal and northern hard coal types (Figure 4).
Subsequently a sudden spread of coalmines took place, which due to the technological and
mechanical expenditure was restricted on few producing wells. The positions of those producing
wells followed a certain inner logic. Hence a distinct distance to existing wells, a cost-efficient land
plot and proximity to a railway was advantageous (Reicher et al., 2011, p.42).
While the site criteria for production wells did not match the existing centres, they were mainly
founded on green fields away from existing structures. This was followed by a connection to the rail
network and aggregation of settlements, which furthermore created a complex network of intra-
regional connections. Subsequent commercial land-use settled down next to roads of intra-regional
significance (ibid., p.45). The ‘Mergelgrenze’ influenced crucially the regional development. During
the industrialisation in the 19th century the region emerged further to an agglomeration with a high
population density.
Beside the large-scale coal production, steel treatment was one of the main economic pillars. As the
coalmines moved northwards heavy industry followed in a subsequent way. First existing structures
were expanded and positions next to the rivers favoured. Essen, with its aggregation northwest to its
historic core and the centre of trade and its diverse economy in the south, shows an exemplary
development. The centre of industrial production shifted to the north and aggregations of industries
were founded in proximity to distributional key points. Duisburg in the West, with its extensive
waterfront area, formed the connection to the global economy. The intensity of this process can be
grasped with a view on the difference in urbanised areas of 1830 and 1930 (Figure 5).
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Albeit having suffered of massive bombings during the WWII, the dominant type of industry has not
changed after the war and the area could benefit from the German Wirtschaftswunder. This
situation persisted until the coal-crisis 1957. Due to the ending of subsidies by the German
government, industrial monostructure and a lack of technological invention as well as a decreasing
demand of coal in Germany, the Ruhr Valley experienced a heavy socio economic impact. In 1966,
only half of the employees worked in the mining and steel industry and the economic growth
disrupted completely. Within 20 years the coal production dropped from 115.4 tons in 1960 to 69.1
tons in 1980 and resulted in a huge demographic decline (Gebhardt, 1957, p.580).
Figure 5: Ruhr Valley, detail area 1830 (urbanised areas highlighted in red) (Source: Lange-Diercke Sächsischer
Schulatlas, 1930 image altered by the author)
The coal-crisis can be seen as the starting point of shrinkage and is present up to now. While some
areas could slowly recover, the overall region is strongly characterised by shrinkage and decline.
Nevertheless steps to a structural change are made, the region is now aiming mainly for knowledge-
based economies and has, with 19 different universities, a strong base for future developments.
3. Syntactical and Socio-Economic Analysis of the region Leizip-Halle
Beginning with the global (Rn) configurational analysis NACH of the region Leipzig-Halle, one can
identify a dominant 1.4 structure (thick yellow lines) of highways forming in combination with a
number of 1.3 radials (thinner yellow lines) a deformed wheel around Leipzig (Figure 6). These roads
reflect primarily potential for vehicular movement and can be seen as the regional generic structure,
a concept developed to describe the relation between a foreground network of centres and sub-
centres linked together and placed into a background network of residential spaces (Hillier, 1999).
The structure of the region formed as interaction between regional centres and their periphery was
established. While Leipzig appears to be the dominant centre within the structure on a global scale,
Halle has not established a comparable structure.
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Figure 6: NACH Rn, R30,000, R10,000 & R2,000 segment angular analysis, highlighted 1.4 and 1.3 structure
(yellow), Leipzig-Halle
This impression changes slightly on a radius of 30,000 metres. The highway network loses its
domination in the system and more intra-regional connections are accentuated. Additionally the
radial system gets enforced and reaches out to a greater number of surrounding cities, while almost
no structural laterals are present. Furthermore Leipzig and Halle, with the latter now presenting a
similar structure as Leipzig, are connected through radials and form together with Merseburg a
triangular circuit. The overall lack of structural laterals within the region emphasises the importance
of both centres of Leipzig and Halle on a to-movement relation with their surroundings. Additionally
the area south to the medieval core of Leipzig is characterised by more dense lines as well as a
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lateral connection. Halle in contrast has no line densification and shows a strong linear connection to
Merseburg.
Even on the metric scale of 10,000 metres Leipzig appears to be the dominant city in the system. In
contrast to larger radii the network now shows besides intra-regional radials, lateral connections and
line clusters in the surrounding cities. While Leipzig is characterised through an irregular natural
structure, especially the south is following what Hillier described as ‘ideal geometric structure’
(2012, p. 181), a structure where radials form the potential for centres to interact with the periphery
and vice versa, while laterals form the opportunity for interaction between different parts. Without
lateral structures it is argued that locations tend to be to-movement destinations rather than
through-movement destinations. Such ring connections, which allow parts to interact with each
other, can be found in reasonable numbers in the south of Leipzig. Halle in contrast seems to have
established a grid like structure, with an assertive connection to the industrial centres Merseburg
and Leuna. Also highlighted by the model, in terms of high value lines are apart from those two
cities, especially Eilenburg, Wurzen and Borna. Altogether cities with an economic past related to
industrial production.
A view on the regional distribution of industrial plots explains an additional reason for the scattered
morphology of Leipzig (Figure 7). Especially the east adjacent of Leipzig’s core and parts west to the
river are characterised by large industrial areas. Industrial aggregations next to city cores are also
present in the surrounding cities around Leipzig. Moreover a pattern of relations to the railway
network is visible. This network show similar structural features as the NACH analysis showed, thus
Leipzig is the centre of the region and a ‘tree-like’ structure connects the surrounding cities with it.
The triangular circuit visible, especially in the NACH R10,000 analysis, is also formed by the rail
network between Halle, Merseburg/Leuna and Leipzig.
In consideration of these observations an investigation of the population, migration and
unemployment distribution unveils a comparable picture. The maps show hereby population
densities, calculated on the base of statistical districts in relation to the actual residential plots
within the region (Figure 8). The analysis of population densities locates those in areas, which were
highlighted before in the analysis of integration. In 2011 both centres of Halle and Leipzig gained a
higher population density, while Merseburg/Leuna and Borna appear to shrink at the same time.
The distribution of ‘Non-German’ population shows a slightly different picture. Aggregation appears
around the city cores as well as in areas, which were before highlighted as industrial clusters. Yet the
overall region is characterised by very low migration rates and foreign population, while the
population agglomerations of Leipzig and Halle can be seen as diverse places with higher percentage
of immigrants. The degree of shrinking migration populations do not follow a visible pattern.
Furthermore the areas in the north with significantly high unemployment rates in 2006 changed
almost completely in the year 2011. It might be assumed that the situation is more strongly linked to
the global economic market than to structural inter-regional relations.
Similar to the region Leipzig-Halle, the NACH pattern in the Ruhr Valley highlights on a global scale
(Rn) the highway system, yet the region established an entirely different structure (Figure 9). The
highest value (1.4 structure) forms long linear west-east connections in the north, as well as a
parallel running road in the south passing by the cities of Essen, Bochum and Dortmund. From these
main roads a number of north-south connections (1.3 structure) reach out in the regional centre and
form a global grid along a centrally positioned west-east road. This generic structure is able to
distribute equally vehicular car movement over the whole region and can therefore be seen as more
complex with the ability to generate higher movement potentials across the region. However within
the grid there are areas with large distances to high value clusters and differences are apparent.
While the global scale was characterised by an evenly distributed grid, this is changing on the metric
scale of 30,000. The grid density and highest values shifted to the south along the ‘Hellweg’, the
medieval trading route, and highlight the centres of Duisburg, Essen, Bochum and in parts also
Dortmund. The grid now starts to scatter towards the north and areas without proximity to one of
the high value roads. This increase already indicates a regional uneven development.
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Figure 7: Industrial units (black) and rail tracks (red), Leipzig-Halle and Ruhr Valley
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Figure 8: 2006-2011 Percentage difference in population density per km2 of residential and mixed plots, Leipzig-
Halle and Ruhr Valley
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Figure 9: NACH Rn, R30,000, R10,000 & R2,000 segment angular analysis, highlighted 1.4 and 1.3 structure
(yellow), Ruhr Valley
4. Syntactical and Socio-Economic Analysis of the Ruhr Valley
This picture is entirely different on the metric scale of 10,000. Through centralising radials a number
of centres are highlighted. Beside the centres of Essen, Bochum and Dortmund, eminently
Gelsenkirchen is visible. These structural radials are meeting each other in the areas between the
historic and industrial centres and form a peculiar deformed grid network of connected centres, yet
some of the peripheral areas are lacking of lateral ring structures to establish connections between
parts. In contrast to the peripheral areas, the cities Essen, Bochum and Dortmund are characterised
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by clusters of high value roads forming more complex structures and movement potentials within
and around their historic cores.
Clustering of high values is also visible on the local scale of 2,000 metres. This is significant in the
medieval centres of Essen, Dortmund and Bochum. Again towards the north the intensity and
density of high values and therefore local centres is decreasing. Furthermore the central regional
areas are characterised by linear continuous agglomerations, as also seen in the region of Leipzig-
Halle, of local centres reaching out to the north and a certain amount of areas with only very few
short lines.
Similar to the region Leipzig-Halle the rail network is connecting almost all industrial areas, yet it is
much more complex and does not follow a present hierarchy. Due to the dependency of coalmines
to certain geographic locations the network did not develop along existing roads. A rather reverse
process took place where railways connected coalmines and the settlement structure grew
accordingly around them. Therefore no visible relation between the rail network and the NACH
R10,000 1.3 structure is present.
With this in mind a view on the population densities of 2006 shows first of all a similar observation
as the integration R2,000 analysis. So the highest densities are distributed around integration cores
and the main cities, Essen, Dortmund and Bochum. Furthermore a large agglomeration is found in
the centre of the region and the patchwork pattern, which was highlighted in the measure of
integration and the NACH analysis and is visible in the actual population distribution as well. In the
period of 5 years one can start to grasp how the overall regional population density shrinks, yet
some of the areas show more extensive signs of decline, while others appear to maintain their
situation. Highlighting that there is, contrary to the regional average, a large variety in local
trajectories.
Compared to the pattern of industrial plots a similar observation to the Leipzig-Halle region can be
made in terms of ‘Non-German’ populations. The percentage of ‘Non-Germans’ is much higher in
proximities to industrial land-uses. Clusters of immigrants can therefore be found in the northern
centre of the region as well as in northern proximity of the city cores of Essen, Bochum and
Dortmund. Furthermore very high densities are along the harbour areas in Duisburg. The
unemployment rates do follow a similar pattern in the Ruhr Valley, where the highest rates are next
to industrial aggregations. The northern part was characterised by higher rates, similar to Leipzig-
Halle 2006, yet this situation changed entirely in 2011 and can therefore be considered as a global
phenomena rather than strongly related to structural properties, such as the central areas and the
Harbour areas of the city of Duisburg (Figure 8).
5. Comparative Analysis
These previous observations are getting consolidated if one looks at the quantitative correlations
and proximities. A view on the proximity of Industry to NACH R10,000 1,3 structures as well as
railways, identifies a very close relation between both structures in the region Leipzig-Halle (Figure
10). While on the one hand a very large number of lines from the 1.3 NACH R10,000 structure is in
proximity to industrial plots, on the other hand almost all of them are close to the railway network.
Yet an additional logic is revealing out of this analysis, namely the densification of industrial usage in
areas where both are present, for example in the east of Halle, the west of Leipzig as well as in
Eilenburg, Delitzsch und Wurzen and moreover in Merseburg and Leuna. Apparently the southern
region of Leipzig does not reflect this pattern as strongly as the other areas. This is mainly due to the
fact that this area is known for its surface brown coal production, which through time slowly
swallows the towns within proximity to the brown coal basin. The outcome of these developments is
also visible in the density of the street network, where large wholes indicate mineral extraction sites.
The rest of the region however is characterised by a visible relation of industry, railways and intra-
regional connections reflected by NACH R10,000.
A look on the proximity of industrial plots and the 1.3 NACH R2,000 structure unveils an additional
pattern of industrial areas in proximity to local centres. This might be due to a much larger number
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of small-scale centres, which automatically leads to a higher chance of being in close distance. Yet
one can observe how 1.3 roads aggregate within industrial areas as well as in historic cores. Two
things can be assumed out of this observation: firstly industrial aggregations are stronger related to
local centres, because they inform the emergence of them. Secondly within the system a certain
number of local centres developed close to industrial areas and are not positioned on or next to the
global network. This would imply a disconnection from the global movement for those centres and a
challenge once industry as a to-movement generator disappears.
Figure 10: Industrial plots in proximity to NACH R10,000 roads (yellow) with values of 1.3 and higher
superimposed with industrial plots in proximity to railways (red), Leipzig-Halle and Ruhr Valley
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Table 1: Percentage of industrial areas in proximity to NACH 1.3 roads and railways on different radii, Leipzig-
Halle
The overall percentage of industrial areas in proximity to NACH structures and railways also
highlights this pattern statistically (Table 01). 37.82% of all industrial plots are in proximity of 50
metres to NACH R10,000 1.3 roads, which can be considered as immediately next to the road and
already as a reasonable high number. This relation is even stronger with a slightly larger radius of
350 metres. 53.93% of all industrial areas are now in proximity to the 1.3 structure. Compared to
that, the NACH R2,000 1.3 structure presents more significant relations, 10% more industrial areas in
proximity of 50 metres and even 21% on a 250 metre radius than the NACH R10,000 1.3 structure.
The strongest relation can be observed at railways. Even on the smallest radius of 50 metres there is
already a very high percentage of 65.82 close to rail tracks and this is getting even stronger on higher
radii. 71.76% of all areas are in proximity of 250 metres. This appears reasonable since the
introduction of the railway system can be seen as the catalyst of industrialisation and facilitated the
mass production and transportation of industrial goods.
In the Ruhr Valley this phenomena even amplified. The proximity of Industry to NACH R10,000 1,3
structures and railways, highlights also in this region a very close relation between both. Coal and
steel production depends more on railway transportation than other industries. This explains why
almost all industrial areas are in proximity to the rail network. Yet at the same time an additional
structural network emerged. A very dense NACH R10,000 1.3 structure covers more than half of the
industrial areas in the region, forming a distributional sub-network for people and lighter goods. This
network developed in a reciprocal process with industrial developments and population allocation in
their proximity. It therefore reflects, how substantial the intra-regional network is based on
networks of industrial distribution.
The analysis of local centres NACH R2,000 1.3 structure also shows a comparable picture and a
significant relation to industrial areas. The difference between the radius of 2,000 and 10,000 is not
as big as in Leipzig-Halle. Assumingly the industry in the Ruhr Valley is characterised by a smaller
disparity between local centres and intra-regional connections. This might be an indication for a
coincidental process during their emergence. A situation, which would imply a stronger adaptability
to future developments, since centres positioned on intra-regional connections are maintained
through natural movement within the system.
Table 2: Percentage of industrial areas in proximity to NACH 1.3 roads and railways on different radii, Ruhr
Valley
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These observations are also highlighted, as afore mentioned in the region of Leipzig-Halle by the
statistical analysis. 55.67% of all industrial areas in the Ruhr Valley are immediately next to NACH
R10,000 and simultaneously 57.72% are in proximity to the NACH R2,000 1.3 structure. Again this
picture gets enforced within a radius of 350 metres. Now 83.50% of all industrial areas are next to
NACH R2,000 and 72.62% of the areas to NACH R10,000 1.3 structure.
From these results a strong relation between the street network and industrial plots can be affirmed
for both regions. These findings are not obvious observation, as a relation between the spatial
structure and industrial land use and distributional networks, are not the case for every industrial
city and more rarely for entire regions. Furthermore it can be assumed, that where neither the
railways nor river form the main way of transportation the street system constitutes an additional
distributional network not only for goods, but also for people and grew in a lived process. This
process was much stronger in the Ruhr Valley, as the spatial network was not already established
and could grow in relation to the industry. The region Leipzig-Halle moreover maintained and
enforced its structure.
6. Conclusion
This study forms part of a larger research on the impact of regional structures on transformational
processes. The main focus is on the structure of post-industrial regions in the context of urban
shrinkage. The empirical Space Syntax analysis has given an insight into the complex multi-scalar
morphology of both regions. The analysis of space is extended to the scale of regional distances. It
was shown that industrialisation and deindustrialisation has affected Leipzig-Halle and the Ruhr
Valley intensively. Both regions have established strong intra-regional spatial networks of industrial
distributions during the industrialisation and post war period, which are reflected in the present
spatial configuration of the region and affect their self-organisation. Despite their similarities path
dependencies in growth, the networks themselves differ significantly. This can be explained through
the different types of production and the morphology of existing medieval road networks, which
have an impact on emergence patterns and self-organisation.
The syntactical analysis has furthermore highlighted structural differences in both regions, which
are, to some extent, reflecting their current socio-economic development. Especially the analysis of
the regional foreground network gave valuable insights into the regional relations and their
emergence patterns. Following these findings, one conjecture is, that space might be an influencing
factor to the complex process of shrinkage and that perceiving cities as centralities in a regional
context forms a relevant role in understanding them. This paper highlights the need of further
investigations on regional structures especially in the context of diachronic analysis of the spatial
structure and industrial networks.
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