From steelworks to nature reserve, in Germany

The North Duisburg Landscape Park in the German Ruhr area is an example of how local action can transfer a polluted, disused steelworks into a cultural and environmental attraction.  The transformation of the former Duisburg-Meiderich blast furnace into the North Duisburg Landscape Park is a remarkable achievement and an illustration of how ecosystem restoration can help the local community.

North Duisburg Landscape Park Photo: IUCN

The 200 hectares of park are more than meets the eye.  Where once the chimneys of a steel smelter left off industrial smoke, visitors can now relax and enjoy a variety of recreational facilities.  The Landscape Park is an open air museum of industrial history; a sports centre with scuba diving and rock-climbing attractions; it is a theater and concert stage and it includes a recreational nature walk.  More information about the North Duisburg Landscape Park at:

The park is one of the key attractions in “Route of Industrial Heritage” which covers the wider Ruhr area, and a landmark in the Masterplan for the Emscher River Landscape Park.  IUCN’s Regional Director for Pan-Europe, Dr Hans Friederich observed: “The Emscher Landscape Park, when completed, will create an east-west green corridor along the Emscher River, linking a network of green areas in the Ruhr area.”  More info about the Emscher Landscape Park:

Dr Friederich visited the North Duisburg Landscape Park during the meeting of the Board of the Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS) of Arizona State University, a Member of IUCN.  The Board of Trustees for Sustainability GIOS were hosted for the two-day meeting at the Headquarters of Henkel in the city of Dusseldorf to review progress and discuss plans for the future.  European Commission Director-General for Environment Karl Falkenberg joined the Board for an inspiring lunch time discussion, comparing EU approaches for climate change mitigation and adaptation with the efforts in the USA and in Asia.  Dr Friederich discussed the role of civil society in the sustainable development agenda, and made the case for closer interaction between different sectors of society.

During the meeting, the Board was briefed about changes in the leadership of the Global Institute, and some new and progressive expectations for the years to come.  Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University explained: “the Global Institute is working to become the leader in a new way of dealing with Sustainable Science. We are moving the boundaries of current thinking, and developing new, innovative ways of creating and producing knowledge about sustainable development. The meeting of the Board of the past two days was the moment to get support to move ahead, and I am pleased to say that we are all together in this endeavour.”

One initiative underway is that the Global Institute of Sustainability is distinguishing 150 of the ASU faculty by naming them “Sustainability Scientists” to provide the necessary structure to rapidly advance scientific discovery and address sustainability challenges in collaboration with global partners.

For more information about the Global Institute of Sustainability see: or contact

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