Locational advantage: diversity

Locational advantage: diversity

Project Profile

Project Title: „Frankfurt Inner-City Concept “

Subject Cluster: Planning and Construction

Project Objectives: Creating a long-term urban framework with guidelines for promoting the development of Frankfurt’s inner city as a vibrant centre of commerce, services, living, culture and leisure.

Planning Area: Frankfurter City Centre inside the Wallanlagen

Project Start: 2010

Project Completion: 2015

Project Participants: City Planning Department and other specialised departments

Working, living, shopping, gastronomy and culture: it is this urban complexity which creates the special atmosphere of a city centre. Frankfurt’s inner-city concept sets down a conceptual framework which will enhance the vibrant diversity of uses in the city centre.

The special features of Frankfurt’s city centre are its compactness and the contrast between modern development and historically-rooted structures. It is a city of short distances and exciting encounters. At the same time it is still marked by its image of a car-friendly town and by areas which allow only one type of usage, such as living beside the cathedral, administration in the Fischerfeld or offices in the banking district. This is where the City Centre Concept comes into play.

In 2010, Frankfurt began drawing up a master plan for the long-term urban planning development of the city centre inside the Wallanlagen. This City Centre Concept was to combine existing planning and develop guidelines and proposals for future projects to enhance the character of the city centre and the quality of its public spaces, as well as boosting trade, services, living, culture, free time and recreation.

Broad participation in the public planning process

The City Centre Concept was to be discussed and developed with as many participants and interested parties as possible. To this end, large-scale citizen participation was introduced in 2010. Following preliminary work by the City Planning Authority and other specialist departments eleven public theme workshops were held at which about 300 citizens took part. Their suggestions and ideas served as a basis for drafting the concept which was presented in August 2010 and subsequently put up for discussion in an online forum.

Designing the city centre, inviting and vibrant

The aim of the concept’s guidelines and measures is to preserve and develop the variety of uses for working, living, shopping, leisure, gastronomy and culture, whereby many aspects of urban development intertwine:

Frankfurt’s typical, exciting contrasts would be retained in the urban landscape. Moderate gentrification would strengthen the typical inner city block structure while a harmonious network of streets, squares, lanes and passages would enhance the appeal of the city centre and invite people to linger a while. A network like this also connects smaller retail areas, such as the side streets of Zeil, which would maintain the locational advantages of businesses competing against shopping malls on the city outskirts.

To keep the city centre attractive as a place of work, available office space would be stabilised to create a balanced mix with other uses – for example on the ground floors. Creating more family-oriented housing and upgrading the availability of housing would ensure that the city centre is full of life, even after business hours. This means improving the residential environment, local services and the social infrastructure.

The approaches to the city centre should be made more inviting and the central areas more closely linked with footpaths and cycle paths to the river bank and the city walls. Reducing the number of lanes for the motorised individual transport will make it easier to cross Berliner Straße and Mainkai, removing the present barrier effect. Safer crossings are also foreseen for other main traffic axes or are being looked into. The aim is to gradually upgrade busy public places and, depending on location and function in the city, give each a distinctive design. Intensified greening of the city centre and avenues, small city gardens and courtyards would not only enhance the recreational value, but also improve the urban climate.

One special feature of Frankfurt’s city centre is the potpourri of different districts. The City Centre Concept has guidelines for strengthening this diversity by fostering the initiative of residents, traders and owners in the districts.

The Magistrate agreed to the draft for the City Centre Concept on 12th September 2014, followed by the City Council on 16th July 2015.

Vibrant City

Exciting contrasts, variety of uses for working, living, shopping, leisure, gastronomy and culture and quality of public spaces increase the attractiveness of the city centre.

Locational advantages

A network of streets, squares, lanes and passages invites people to linger; attractive walks link smaller retail areas; locational advantage over outskirts.


Invitingly designed approaches to the city centre, better foot- and cycle paths, fewer lanes for motor traffic, removal of the barrier effect of the main traffic axes, upgrading town squares.

City Planning Department Frankfurt am Main

Nils Schalk

Tel +49 (0)69 212-43759