Dark railway underpasses are barren places and sometimes they are even located in deprived areas. The "Lebendige Stadt" Foundation has initiated an illumination program to revitalize these public places.
31 railway underpasses in 24 German cities were permanently and artistically illuminated. Thus, the area was enhanced, the urban separation which manifested in the underpass was overcome, the sense of safety of the citizens was increased, and the use of the latest lighting technology reduced the energy consumption and the energy costs at the same time. The project does not only constitute a cultural and artistic component but it also contributes considerably to a sustainable and resource-friendly handling of energy and funds.
Initiation of the pilot project and the documentation of know-how
The illumination project consisted of three phases: In the course of the first phase, the Foundation initiated the artistic illumination of SternschanzenbrÃ¼cke in the Hamburg district of Altona with Deutsche Bahn AG, the Hamburg Chamber of Crafts, Philips, and the district office as implementation partners. The Foundation was responsible for the planning and implementation process and therefore bore the respective costs of 25,000 euros. Michael Batz, a renowned lighting artist, designed the artistic concept and supervised the realization of the illumination. In the second phase in 2011, the Foundation documented all stages of the pilot project in a hands-on manual and provided the gained know-how to the planning offices of all cities as a guideline for their own permanent illumination.
Nationwide illumination program for railway underpasses
In the third phase, the Foundation made an offer to all cities to fund the realization of a permanent illumination following the Altona model. The result: The Foundation funded 31 artistic illuminations in 24 German cities with a total volume of 775,000 euros. The illuminations will enhance the public space durably. The following cities are part of the illumination program: Aachen, Berlin, Bottrop, GÃ¼tersloh, Hagen, Hamburg, Hamm, Hannover, Helmstedt, Herne, Hiddenhausen, Karlsruhe, Cologne, Leipzig, Moers, Offenbach/Main, OsnabrÃ¼ck, SchÃ¶nebeck/Elbe, Schwerte, Singen am Hohentwiel, Soest, Velbert, Weimar und Witten.
Further development of the project
Many cities used the illumination of underpasses as a starting point for further measures to increase its attractiveness: Thus, the brickwork of the underpasses were cleaned or refurbished, the public lighting in the surrounding areas of the underpass was modernized, disturbing advertising spaces were removed and new bicycle parking spaces were built. With its illumination program, The "Lebendige Stadt" Foundation is prize winner of the nationwide competition "Landmarks in the Land of Ideas". With this prize, the initiative "Germany – Land of Ideas" and Deutsche Bank award ideas and projects which provide solutions for the regions and cities of tomorrow.