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Old October 26th, 2008, 12:20 PM   #21
Grunnen
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Originally Posted by Svartmetall View Post
For interests sake, when did you live in this area and how old are these photos?
I lived there 2004 - 2008, the oldest photos are from 2005.
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Old October 26th, 2008, 12:44 PM   #22
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All do respect, the Ruhr area (excluding the whole, larger Rhein-Ruhr) has something like 5.3million people. This makes it an urban area larger than Sydney, Melbourne, Barcelona, Madrid, Vienna etc. In fact, it puts it in the same category as most of the major cities around the world except the extremely large ones like Paris, London, NY, Tokyo etc.

What above is anything special for an urban area of this size?

(...) I don't think there will ever be any strong focal point. This urban area of 5.3million people will never have to offer the wonders and sights of any other equivalent sized urban area in the developed world, i.e. it will never be a Madrid, Barcelona, Sydney, Melbourne, Boston, Rome, Berlin, San Francisco or Toronto. I don't think even it will ever be a Vancouver, Auckland, Perth, Lyon, Birmingham, Valencia or San Antonio despite being much larger.
That is very true, I think. It is not really one integrated urban area, it is more like every city for itself, where the cities themselves are quite small again, with several villages merged into the community as suburbs. All in all the population density is really quite low, so that things like subways are not economically feasible and would look totally out of place almost everywhere.

Furthermore, the cities barely have any service area around them, so that the service level is lower than you would expect from the number of inhabitants.

For example, I grew up in Groningen, in the Netherlands. That city has 180.000 inhabitants, but I think it has more touristic highlights and better shopping than Dortmund, where 500.000 people live!

However, I still found it a very pleasant area to live. You just have to look at it the other way around. You have an urban area with 5.5 million people, but in most places it just feels like a town with about most 75.000 inhabitants. That also has its advantages. There is no overcrowding, housing is cheap and easy to find, there are relatively few traffic jams, and parks, forests and pastures are never far away.

And there are surprisingly many tourist attractions and other things you can do in the vicinity, compared to other cities of 75.000.
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Old October 26th, 2008, 03:15 PM   #23
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Far be it for me to wade into this debate, but I'll just spew a few of my thoughts on here.

I guess I take a different approach to some in this thread about the Ruhrpott area. As I did earlier with the parallels between old, industrial English towns and the cities of the Ruhr, I do again. The Ruhr, however, has a few extra things going for it.

#1. The crime rate is pretty low considering all mitigating circumstances. Criminality is certainly not half as bad as most English cities of note according to the statistics I could find. Also, in none of these pictures (or others that I've seen of the various cities on Flickr or Panoramio) did I see the level of gates, window bars or other security measures that a trip into inner Manchester and Liverpool will show you. I used to stay at a friends house in Rusholme in Manchester near the Curry Mile and was shocked that they had to enter their house through a thick steel cage and had window bars on all their windows. There also doesn't seem to be the same level of barbed wire everywhere and no electric fences either (we have those all over the place in Auckland, a car park in Newmarket for example).

#2. The level of infrastructure is pretty amazing. Despite the level of decentralisation hinted at by Justme, in some ways this has lead to a very beneficial polycentric approach to infrastructure. The levels of passenger use on the public transport for the whole VRR actually surpasses PT usage levels in Melbourne, Australia for example despite this lower population density - making it quite a sustainable place as far as this element goes (116 passenger trips per head of population in Melbourne compared to 149.86 in the VRR region).

#3. Lots of the housing stock appears to be just needing a touch up and the suburban housing stock appears to be pretty nice indeed. In a lot of the city centres (just from browsing Flickr and Panoramio on Google Earth for example) you can see huge redevelopment projects as we saw in northern British cities and Birmingham beginning around 8-10 years ago. Now when I consider how Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and all of those other cities look, I think of how they were - quite similar in a lot of ways to the cities of the Ruhrpott. Birmingham in particular still has huge swathes of derelict, dangerous areas which are ripe for redevelopment - just taking a train to Walsall will show anyone that!

So yes, having seen redevelopment in lots of formerly horrible looking English cities I can't help but feel some affinity for this area of Germany and hold out some hope for the future. As long as industries in the Ruhr continue to move away from the more traditional primary industries and manufacturing we might see some scope for recovery and further redevelopment. Plus with cities like Düsseldorf and Köln nearby, I think it should have quite a drawcard (it does to me anyway)!
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Old October 26th, 2008, 03:46 PM   #24
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Very interesting points there, as usual Svartmetall.

I would personally see cities like Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds on a completely different level though now. Their redevelopment projects have really turned their city's around and although a lot of work still needs to be done with them, I feel they are at a more advanced stage than the Ruhr cities. Now places like Bradford in the UK are still pretty grim and probably below the Ruhr region in terms of quality of life.

You are correct in the crime levels being higher in those UK cities. Germany for some reason does seem to have lower theft and assault levels, though comparing international figures is always difficult as each country defines these things completely differently. However, I wouldn't use the visual appearance of bars on windows as a guide. This may also have a lot to do with the British nature of "fearing" crime rather than the crime figures itself. Afterall, nearly every home I have ever visited in the UK has smoke detectors yet I have never seen one in a home in Germany. This doesn't mean there are less house fires in Germany The British do have an unhealthy fear of crime which if you read their news reports takes everything out of proportion. For instance, headlining constantly in the news is youth murder crime. So much so, that globally the UK is getting a reputation that it is in the midst of a youth murder crime wave. Yet if you look at the statistics (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cr...ths-per-capita) You can see the UK near the bottom of the list, only slightly different from Germany. NZ on the other hand has a much greater problem but we don't ever hear of that.

But I won't disagree that it is a nice place to live. Pleasant, relatively crime free in comparison to many other parts of the world etc. It's still pretty grim looking though and nearly any other city of equivalent size in the developed world has more to offer.
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Old November 2nd, 2008, 04:15 AM   #25
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what did I miss about the world famous attractinons of san antonio?
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Old November 2nd, 2008, 04:21 AM   #26
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what did I miss about the world famous attractinons of san antonio?
The Riverwalk for one. The San Antonio riverwalk is amongst some of the best examples of urban regeneration in the world. It's a beautiful example of how even a small river can become a facinating place to visit.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Antonio_River_Walk
http://thesanantonioriverwalk.com/
http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=san%...r%20walk&w=all

It sure beats that bland mall shown in an earlier post.
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Old November 2nd, 2008, 08:55 PM   #27
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Surely beats that mall. In fact, it almost looks like the famous "Oude Gracht" in Utrecht (NL).

Unfortunately, most of the Ruhr cities are too far away from any river for such things. Only Duisburg has a slightly similar project at an old harbour, the "Innenhafen":

http://www.laar-am-rhein.de/duisburg.../INNHM0233.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...hnmuehle03.jpg

As you can see, the difference is that in urban renewal projects in the Ruhr region, they try to keep the heavy industrial feeling of the area. Many people do like the feeling of the Innenhafen and the Landschaftspark. But for people who just find them depressing, the urban renewal obviously doesn't work...
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Old November 2nd, 2008, 09:10 PM   #28
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I like the 1st image you showed in Duisburg. I am a fan of Industrial renewal, but I do prefer them to be completely done. i.e. keeping the historical structure but not keeping the grottiness. At least in that closeup first shot it looks pretty nice. I can't tell anything from the 2nd shot. Germany is extremely lucky to be blessed with many fantastic historical industrial architecture. It must have been amazing before the war and sad that so much was lost. But there is still plenty left.

Unlike many other country's, the historical industrial architecture in Germany is extremely detailed and of high aesthetic quality.

Of course, no place in Germany is better suited to this than the Ruhr Area, however, it does seem that many of the renovations opt for the option that I least prefer, either only partial renovation (an attractive project in the midst of an ugly undeveloped industrial wasteland) or only selective renovation where they still leave graffiti or unkept gardens (i.e. that idea of nature overtaking is beautiful... not to me, that just looks unkept when in an urban environment)

I have to admit, there maybe a lot more of the full renovations in the Ruhr Area than I know about. I can only go by examples as shown here or from other threads. If there are some really good examples I would love to see them.
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Old November 3rd, 2008, 12:37 AM   #29
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Just a few comments/opinions..

The cities of Koln and Dusseldorf have a lot going for them. Dusseldorf has a beautiful river front prominade, with lots of pubs/restaurants, and potted palm trees everywhere. They certainly do not need redeveloping. However, due to bomb damages in WWII a lot of the mid-sized cities have fewer historical buildings, and thus, tend to look very 60s/70s new-build...or rather, ugly. iE. Essen, Bochum. Where as, many UK cities suffer from dereliction, there are also many more beautiful historic buildings. Germany does a good job at reconstructing some new builds tat showcase the style of old buildings/period features.

The standard of living is definitely higher than in many UK cities, and the crime is definitely lower, when comparing cities of comparable populations.
Crime and violence in the UK appears to be a function of its social complexities...drastic transformations from industry to services, strong British nationalism which affects racial issues/gangs, mass immigration, alcoholism, different education systems, etc. There is more emphasis on class structure in the UK...people feel born into blue collar neighbourhoods, lives, and lack hope or opportunities, bound to their island.

Crime is not as big of a social issue in Germany...you don't generally see chavs sitting on the street corners drinking and panhandling; however, there are issues mostly with native Germans and Turkish immigrants. Also, there is greater emphasis on education in Germany, especially some form of post-secondary...most learn some english, and strive to live outside of their own country at some point, gaining a more global perspective than the average British citizen, who doesn't tend to leave the UK...partly due to language barriers, and thus, it appears that the mobility of mainland Europeans offers them greater employment opportunities, since many know several languages, and most people do not stay in their same town their entire life.
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Old November 3rd, 2008, 02:18 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KidGibNick View Post
Just a few comments/opinions..

The cities of Koln and Dusseldorf have a lot going for them. Dusseldorf has a beautiful river front prominade, with lots of pubs/restaurants, and potted palm trees everywhere. They certainly do not need redeveloping. However, due to bomb damages in WWII a lot of the mid-sized cities have fewer historical buildings, and thus, tend to look very 60s/70s new-build...or rather, ugly. iE. Essen, Bochum. Where as, many UK cities suffer from dereliction, there are also many more beautiful historic buildings. Germany does a good job at reconstructing some new builds tat showcase the style of old buildings/period features.
I don't believe Köln & Düsseldorf are part of this discussion as they are within the wider Rhein Ruhr region, not the Ruhr area itself.

That said, they are the nicest of the major cities in the Rhein Ruhr. Düsseldorf's riverfront is ok, but nothing special when compared to great riverfronts around the world such as on the Thames, the Seine etc. It's not bad though.

Quote:
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The standard of living is definitely higher than in many UK cities, and the crime is definitely lower, when comparing cities of comparable populations.
Are you taking Eastern German cities into account here? As the Eastern ones should be the ones to compare with the worst UK cities. Crime statistics when comparing across nations have to be taken very carefully. Each country has a completely different method of defining crime itself. I remember a few years back, the UK changed some of it's methods for recording these statistics and the Assault crime figures rose 28% in one year. The tabloid media (which most people reads) made a big deal about the increased crime figures without pointing out that it was to do with the way statistics were handled. Assaults I know are recording very differently between Germany and the UK, one example I read somewhere was that in the UK if 3 people assaulted a man, each person would be charged for assault and three assaults would have been registered (based on the three charges) but in Germany three people would be charged but one single assault would be recorded for the statistics (based on the act of crime). Murder definitions are much closer and this is reflected in that the German and UK murder rates are almost identical per capita.

I would agree though that in most crimes, according to statistics and not taking into account the differences in how they are recorded, Germany does as a whole have lower crime rates.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KidGibNick View Post
Crime and violence in the UK appears to be a function of its social complexities...drastic transformations from industry to services, strong British nationalism which affects racial issues/gangs, mass immigration, alcoholism, different education systems, etc. There is more emphasis on class structure in the UK...people feel born into blue collar neighbourhoods, lives, and lack hope or opportunities, bound to their island.
I agree with this, one of the major problems in the UK is it's class structure. Not so much the middle classes, but the lower classes themselves. It is their own class that holds themselves back. This isn't for everyone in the working classes, but a large proportion.

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Originally Posted by KidGibNick View Post
Crime is not as big of a social issue in Germany...you don't generally see chavs sitting on the street corners drinking and panhandling;
Different country here, instead you see Turks and other immigrant youths sitting on street corners often intimidating people.

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Originally Posted by KidGibNick View Post
however, there are issues mostly with native Germans and Turkish immigrants. Also, there is greater emphasis on education in Germany, especially some form of post-secondary
Greater emphasis on higher education? Only because it takes so long here. Most people stay in University until the late 20's and often into the 30's before they start in the work force. Universities here are slow and terribly inefficient. People may have "greater emphasis" on higher education, but only because it takes up so much more of their lives. On top of that, it is extremely restricted here for people to move to jobs outside of their education. If a trained accounted wanted to move to a completely different field this would be much harder in Germany than in the UK.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KidGibNick View Post
most learn some english, and strive to live outside of their own country at some point, gaining a more global perspective than the average British citizen, who doesn't tend to leave the UK...partly due to language barriers,
Most learn English because a) it is taught to everyone in school, and b) while learning English in school they are singing along to all of their favourite songs in that language. You NEED English to travel globally, German simply won't get you as far. Learning English is also an extreme advantage in employment.

As for Germans travelling more than the British, have you travelled at all? I have lived in 5 different country's in my life, and there has always been more British expatriates than Germans. In 95% of the country's in the world, I am sure you will find more British citizens than German citizens. The British are famous in Europe for buying property and moving to other country's. There are more shows on UK television regarding this than half the rest of Europe combined.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KidGibNick View Post
and thus, it appears that the mobility of mainland Europeans offers them greater employment opportunities, since many know several languages, and most people do not stay in their same town their entire life.
Negative. The advantage of being a native English speaker far out weighs knowing a few words of another language. Many Germans know good English, but few speak it very well, and most of those are younger Germans.

An Englishman can move to Germany without knowing a word of the language here and get by with very few problems. A German moving to England without a word of English would have a lot more problems.
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Old November 3rd, 2008, 01:12 PM   #31
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I don't believe Köln & Düsseldorf are part of this discussion as they are within the wider Rhein Ruhr region, not the Ruhr area itself.

That said, they are the nicest of the major cities in the Rhein Ruhr. Düsseldorf's riverfront is ok, but nothing special when compared to great riverfronts around the world such as on the Thames, the Seine etc. It's not bad though.
Düsseldorf is really nice indeed, especially for shopping.

But I found the riverfront quite disappointing. It really misses the liveliness you find in Köln at the riverfront, I think. It feels a bit too empty and too quiet.

Quote:
Different country here, instead you see Turks and other immigrant youths sitting on street corners often intimidating people.
Here I disagree. Most of those "immigrant youths sitting on street corners" are harmless. When my sister came to visit me, she was quite surprised about that.

I've been intimated by Turks twice though, both times on the train. Not very surprising considering that many trains don't have conductors any more because DB wants to save costs.
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Old November 3rd, 2008, 01:19 PM   #32
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Every year I visit Cologne and Dusseldorf with Christmas. It's wonderfull! Only a few weeks left
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Old November 3rd, 2008, 02:48 PM   #33
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Here I disagree. Most of those "immigrant youths sitting on street corners" are harmless. When my sister came to visit me, she was quite surprised about that.
Oh, of course most of them are harmless. Most are probably quite nice young lads just hanging around, killing time.

But that's just like the "hoodies" in the UK. I have never been bothered personally by any of them, and on a couple of occasions had to ask directions and had nothing but friendly responses.

But they are the direct comparisons.
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Old December 27th, 2008, 03:43 AM   #34
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The Riverwalk for one. The San Antonio riverwalk is amongst some of the best examples of urban regeneration in the world. It's a beautiful example of how even a small river can become a facinating place to visit.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Antonio_River_Walk
http://thesanantonioriverwalk.com/
http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=san%...r%20walk&w=all

It sure beats that bland mall shown in an earlier post.
Im sorry for answering a little late, im not here that often.
but are you really trying to sell me that as anything special, even world famous?
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Old December 27th, 2008, 06:10 AM   #35
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I have visted quite a few of those places coming from Holland. It's as ugly as I experienced it. Even Koln was dissapointing. Travelling by train it's indeed shocking how poor the stations and surrounding areas are maintained. The only thing I like(d) are the old industrial buildings.
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Old December 28th, 2008, 02:56 PM   #36
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intresting photos.
my cousins live in gelsenkirchen, it would be great if u put gelsenkirchen photos
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Old December 28th, 2008, 03:44 PM   #37
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intresting photos.
my cousins live in gelsenkirchen, it would be great if u put gelsenkirchen photos
Hu, Gelsenkirchen, my hometown, the capital of unterschicht






the "rest" of the beautiful Gründerzeit buildings surrounding the former central station building




Former Post Office building, today a court building



we're loving green trees - even in Gelsenkirchen



the heart of Schalke 04



Refinary by night

image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr



Nice underground station - reminds to the big coal mine "Consolidation"
(closed now)



Theatre


view from north to south

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Old December 28th, 2008, 06:21 PM   #38
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Thanks for that! Shows that the Ruhr isn't all doom and gloom. Those underground stations look pretty cool too.
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Old December 28th, 2008, 11:53 PM   #39
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Im sorry for answering a little late, im not here that often.
but are you really trying to sell me that as anything special, even world famous?
compared to the waterfrontage in the Ruhrgebiet, yes it is. Compared to the waterfrontage of Rio, San Francisco or Sydney no. But let's start at the bottom ok ;O)
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Old December 29th, 2008, 08:55 AM   #40
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compared to the waterfrontage in the Ruhrgebiet, yes it is. Compared to the waterfrontage of Rio, San Francisco or Sydney no. But let's start at the bottom ok ;O)
Perhaps the San Antonio river-front is a successful development, but overall it's an ugly, mexican-plaza-sprawling, and forgotten city (in my opinion).

Despite it's industrial past there are nice districts and neighbourhoods around Duisburg/Dortmund even if you don't consider Dusseldorf or Koln part of the immediate Ruhr.
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