The face of the Emscher region is changing. It is more than a hundred years since a sparsely populated meadow landscape was transformed into an industrial metropolitan area, and the unbounded Emscher became a manmade system of open wastewater channels. With the decline of mining, a further structural change has set in, with traditional heavy industry making way for new sectors such as services and science. These developments are reflected in a changing Emscher. Wastewater will be removed in closed sewers, and the river and its subsidiary waterways are progressively being restructured into near-natural waterways.
The conversion of such a large river system is an intergenerational project, and is about a great deal more than transforming spaces people previously avoided into attractive recreational areas. The aim is to decisively enhance the quality of the Emscher region through projects that extend far beyond the waterway.
The Emscher Conversion is more than restructuring a body of water – its vision is a New Emscher Valley. This is about defining a new outdoor space, which extends far beyond the banks of the river and the open expanses of the Emscher Landscape Park.
The New Emscher Valley incorporates the housing developments, infrastructure, business parks and industrial plants of the region: spaces where the urban development of the waterway conversion acts as a catalyst for stakeholders outside the Emschergenossenschaft.