Lots happening on the Western Front
Campus West: City submits latest plans; politicians deliberate.
Campus West is one of the City of Aachen’s greatest planning projects. In close cooperation with partners at the RWTH Aachen, the company Campus GmbH as well as on the state level, it is pursuing an ambitious goal: to create – together with Campus Melaten and Campus Central – a research landscape that will set standards throughout Europe and at the same time achieve a harmonious combination of science, commerce and urban living.
The City Council last year adopted many resolutions that have flowed into the further planning for Campus West. These include a pedestrian-and-cycle bridge as a further connection route to Campus West, the development of a “green draft” and the elaboration of a concept that will secure architectural standards for the area. Politicians very much want to see Campus West making a substantial contribution to a vibrant urban landscape in the future. This is why great value is placed on buildings – especially their ground floors – offering suitable spaces for a wide range of uses for the general public, from cafés and bistros to shops and business premises. The idea goes hand in hand with the plan to create residential housing in the Campus West area. This is what the politicians want, that all of this should flow into the Campus West master plan. The outcome of these deliberations and the further steps now envisaged have been presented by the City Administration. Over the coming weeks, various committees will be consulting intensively on the proposals.
A bridge to connect the campus grounds
One point that often features in the public debate is the development of access to the area – the so-called “Northern Connection”. One plan is a bridge from Melaten to Campus West. Other variants proposed by a citizen’s initiative have also been evaluated by the experts. In addition to aspects of urban development quality, other considerations also play an important role in the eyes of the City of Aachen, particularly factors relating to planning certainty, the suitability of access routes for special transports and the potential option of a rail-based local public transport route.
Provided that further procedural hurdles can be negotiated without complications, the hope is that the urban development planning process will be completed by the end of 2020.
Last year, the RWTH Aachen bought the 170,000-sqm site in the west of Aachen from the State Building and Infrastructure Service (BLB NRW). The plan is to develop the RWTH Aachen’s Campus Central and its two outliers Melaten and West into one of the most extensive research zones in Europe. In addition to the purchase contract itself, a so-called “Trilateral Development Agreement” was notarised between the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the RWTH and the City of Aachen. This includes, among other things, agreements relating to further continuation of development planning, provisions regarding traffic and development zones, and fundamental agreements regarding costs incurred and the risks of cost increases during the development process.
The first stage of expansion, the development of Campus Melaten, kicked off in 2009. Since then, six research clusters have been established there, with a further three in the pipeline. The surface area designated for construction of buildings on Campus West is an impressive 110,000 sqm – ample space for six more clusters as well as the so-called “Innovation Factory”.