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.