High-Speed Rail as a driver of urban development? A contrasting comparison of station areas in Germany
Manuel Weiß, Angelika Münter
The implementation of High-Speed Rail (HSR) is often expected to enhance urban development in municipalities benefitting from improved accessibility. This paper examines HSR as a driver of urban development and provides insights into the underlying interdependencies of urban planning practices and the impacts on urban development achieved or not yet realised.
Our study investigates to what extent and in which ways HSR promotes spatial development in small-scale station areas. Thus, we carried out eight contrasting case studies in Germany. By extending previous research, we focussed on spatial impacts in narrowly defined HSR station areas and especially on their municipal planning governance by analysing the respective binding land-use plans (BLUP).
As we will show, impacts are spatially and temporally varied but mainly limited to the immediate station areas, fostering agglomeration effects and new centralities. The case-dependent constraints observed and inherent preconditions witness the need for accompanying municipal planning governance to gain urban development impacts from the HSR-related accessibility improvements.
Furthermore, the analyses presented underpin findings for research and practice, e.g. concerning the lack of integration of rail operations and local urban planning and the importance of consciously embedding HSR in local strategic concepts. Also, we use a new methodical approach to assess the possible impacts of HSR.
Against the backdrop of further HSR expansion in Germany, anticipated but more strategically coordinated urban planning seems promising to exploit the potential for urban development in the station areas.