Hub for urban quality of life

Stadtluft City Bikes Event Illustration

Urban trees

Stadtluft aims to investigate the role of city trees, parks and forests in metropolitan areas, using the examples of Berlin, Vienna and Winterthur in the Canton of Zurich. City trees suffer just as much as forests from the hot and dry summers of recent years. Yet it is precisely trees and green zones that play a central role in regulating temperature and improving air quality in urban areas. In addition to fresh air supply and rising temperatures, the issue of rainwater storage is also increasingly becoming the focus of urban planning, which is outlined by the term "sponge city".

In general, the question is whether and how climate change is altering urban planning in Central Europe, when climate, water balance, temperature and air quality are increasingly playing a central role.

And do trees shape a city? Do they exude poetry and joie de vivre? Or is the urban walk under trees celebrated by many writers long passé in the age of cars, shopping malls and "smart cities"?


However one may perceive trees, parks and forests, a walk in the shade of an avenue is one of the most pleasant amenities that metropolitan areas have to offer. This includes a visit to a park or a walk in an urban forest. Nature is never as beautiful as when it is confronted with civilisation.

If today we increasingly perceive trees and green spaces as air filters and cooling machines for our overheating cities, for many years trees were the last of the Mohicans that disturbed the car-oriented cities of the post-war decades.

At 28,500 ha, Berlin's historic city forest is the largest in Germany. In addition, there are 430,000 city trees in the German capital.

Vienna has a green space share of 53 percent and calls itself "the greenest city in the world" with around 500,000 city trees. Every autumn, around 4,500 trees are planted.

Winterthur is considered a "garden city" and is the most wooded municipality in Switzerland with around 15,000 trees in the city area. 38.7 percent of the city area is covered by forest. The total woodland area in the canton of Zurich is around 50,000 ha.


Trees in the City

The past, present and future of trees, parks and green spaces in Berlin, Vienna and Winterthur will be analysed systematically. Decision-makers from the worlds of politics, administration and lobby groups in the three cities will all exchange views. The exchange will be enriched by input from artists, scientists and members of the public. By invitation only.


The team Winterthur/Kanton Zurich presents the location/situation of the three selected planning examples and goes into the history and current situation of the planning, presents the problems and the selected or envisaged Winterthur solutions, which are based on the laws and canton of Zurich. Then the colleagues from Berlin and colleagues from Berlin and Vienna then take the floor and analyse the Winterthur situation from their point of view and present ad-hoc "Berlin" and "Vienna" solutions.

Programme (PDF).

Evening Event

Urban Trees

Introductory speech by the Swiss-French bestselling author Alex Capus.

Discussion at BauForum with decision-makers from politics, city administrations and interest groups from Berlin, Vienna and Winterthur. Registration (PDF).


Media release on Stadtluft of the City of Winterthur dated 23 August 2023 (PDF).

Preliminary interview with panel guest Alex Capus in the Landbote newspaper of 8 September 2023 (PDF).

Regionaljournal radio report on the Stadtluft issue, broadcast on 16 September: "Bäume in der Stadt: Wie Winterthur von Berlin lernt".

Switzerland's Sunday newspaper with the highest circulation, Schweiz am Wochenende, will print Alex Capus' keynote speech on 23 September 2023. (PDF).

Final report of the Office for Urban Development dated 27 October 2023 (PDF).