A Natural Urban Park for Strasbourg

The districts of Koenigshoffen, Montagne Verte and Elsau will soon be able to benefit from a PNU, or Natural Urban Park, an area designed to connect the countryside to the city.

The PNU natural urban park, a key area connecting blue and green zones of Strasbourg

This first Natural Urban Park connects the floodplains of the Bruche to the west with Strasbourg's green belt, which contains many remnants of the city's old fortifications, including the Kriegstor war gate, the Parc des Glacis, the Parc du Heyritz and the Kaltau sector.

The area is crisscrossed by waterways and canals, including the Bruche, the Bruche canal and its Muhlbach, the Ill and the Rhône Rhine Canal.

This means the whole of the PNU area is a flood risk, except the high part of Koenigshoffen, which is 10m above the water.

The scope covers an area of about 300 hectares between route des Romains, route de Schirmeck and rue de l’Unterelsau, near which live some 35,000 people. It contains a number of waterways and a rich historical heritage dating back to Roman times. The area comprises a multitude of localities separated by rivers and flood risk areas.

The commune of Eckbolsheim is also working on enhancing the surrounding natural spaces and farmland, in parallel to the work being carried out by the City and Urban Community of Strasbourg (read the article (in French) on the creation of wetlands along the Muhlbach in the "useful links" section).

Explore the natural richness of this urban natural park

You can cycle along the tracks bordering the Ill, the Canal de la Bruche and the Muhlbach and use pedestrian paths to complete the circuit.

You can also explore the "silent" zone of the Capuchin monastery, the arboretum of the Parc Schweitzer , the ancient cemetery of Saint Gall (and its view of the Koenigshoffen high ground) and go for a stroll along the Muhlbach or on either side of the Ill.

You can download the map of the of the natural park in the "Useful documents" section.

Strasbourg's Natural Urban Park is inspired by the Regional Natural Parks

The Natural Urban Park project is an initiative of a number of political leaders and associations. The City is also planning to draw up a charter setting out the project's ambitions, values, development areas and short, medium and long-term priorities, which will be based on the sustainable development charter used by France's Regional National Parks. The charter will provide the framework within which the City and Urban Community of Strasbourg and all the other institutional, private and public stakeholders can set out their commitments.

The project aims to stimulate and develop the area in two different ways. Firstly, it will enhance the remarkable urban and national heritage, while also producing a new way of managing the area, combining the environmental, social and economic factors that are the cornerstone of sustainable development.

A project workshop – a participatory process for creating the Urban Natural Park

The project workshop is one of Strasbourg's local democracy initiatives and is intended to bring local inhabitants and stakeholders together around a local project. The workshop takes place in several sessions over a period of several months, and involves an educational aspect to enhance and optimise what is intended to be a collective project.

The PNU project workshop was launched by the City in 2010. 10 work sessions and several site visits involving a group of some 30 local inhabitants and stakeholders over a six-month period between June 2000 11 January 2012, produced a White Paper which was given to the City Council as the basis for a collaborative initiative.

The next step is a wider consultation of institutional and private stakeholders and local inhabitants in order to draft an action plan and the Urban Natural Park charter.

Social and economic potential

The PNU initiative includes 3 socio-economic development areas:

  • sustainable tourism, based on the renovation of the Montagne Verte camping site,
  • handicrafts,
  • the social economy, which is already well represented.

Several organisations working in the social economy (Communauté Emmaüs, Jardins de la Montagne Verte, Entraide-le relais) already have premises in old farms within the Urban Natural Park and cultivate gardens, orchards and other land or are involved in recycling activities.

Concrete projects already scheduled  

  • Several concrete projects are ramping up as the PNU project workshop completes its work. These include:
  • the Tour du Schoessel is to be converted into the Maison du Parc naturel urbain,
  • the start of the development of the sector below the St Gall cemetery and to the south of the entrance to Koenigshoffen,
  • the beginning of enhancement work on the îlot Emmaüs, Chemin de la Holtzmatt,
  • the progressive installation of signage for the pathways around the PNU.