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Cologne Kalk- Industrial wasteland or hip neighborhood?

When Mrs. Rosener first mentioned the upcoming trip to Cologne Kalk in our Q2 Bilingual Geography Class we all thought: “Why would we go there? Isn’t that this unsecure and dull district of Cologne?” But we were proven wrong a few weeks after on Friday the 6th of November 2015 when we did a guided excursion with Veit Maier from the University of Cologne as part of their open days. We were also joined by another courses and Mrs. Dietzler.Our excursion started at the train station Kalk Kapelle from where we walked a few minutes until we stopped in the former industrial area of the Klöckner Humboldt- Deutz AG (KHD). After the deindustrialization a lot of new residential buildings were built in the area for the increasing numbers of people moving to Cologne.

We also took a look at an old industrial hangar that is being reused by the Abenteuerhallen Kalk providing excellent opportunities for leisure activities with a big skatepark and a climbing wall.

After our first stop we walked a few minutes again to the Technologie- & Industriepark Kalk-Süd to see how the former KHD still influences the employment opportunities in Kalk since a lot of people still work in the secondary sector. But we could also see that a lot of new and upcoming industrial branches had settled there.

At our last stop we took a look at the Köln Arcaden and an old chimney from the old industrial era that was being reused as a water tower. Furthermore we had a great overview on the newly developing area of the former Chemische Fabrik Kalk where nowadays new residential buildings and a big park were built. We also took a look at the stores in the Köln Arcaden in comparison to the ones on the Kalker Hauptstraße. It was getting obvious that the brand stores in the Köln Arcaden take away big numbers of customers from the surrounding streets leading to a lot of vacancies. After finishing our trip through Kalk we said goodbye to our guide Veit Maier and took the train to go to the University of Cologne were we heard three presentations on current geographical topics.

The first presentation was by Prof. Dr. Boris Braun who talked about water renaturation in the Cologne region and what most of the people’s current opinions on this important topic are. Therefore most of the people wanted the renaturation to take place. But what is water renaturation? – Water renaturation is the recovery of natural habitats which were reconstructed for economic or industrial reasons. Prof. Dr. Braun went on with a few more interesting surveys and facts until finished his talk and the Australian Prof. Dr. Bill Pritchard went on to talk about the world food problem. After a great and interesting presentation we learned that there is enough food for every human on earth to survive but there are still a lot of people that suffer from undernourishment and malnutrition. The last talk we listened to dealt with the social fragmentation of London and the effects of gentrification on its different districts.

When all presentations had finished everybody was very tired and exhausted from the long day of listening and walking through Cologne but also happy and glad about the nice time we spend together and the interesting things we learned!