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Ernst May district

New residential area and greater quality of life for everyone in the “Ernst May district”

Preparatory studies
District: Local district:
4, 3, 11
Size of area:
100 ha
Project management:

Mr. Peter Habermann
Telefon: +49 (0)69 212 36833
Telefax: +49 (0)69 212 30731

Ms. Sabine Guttmann
Telefon: +49 (0)69 212 34351
Telefax: +49 (0)69 212 30731

Project description

With the new “Ernst May district” the City of Frankfurt/Main is planning to change the boundaries of the existing districts in the northeast of the city and create new high-quality urban residences. New public parkland areas of greenery above the covered A

The "Ernst- May- district" are located in the direct vicinity of downtown, such that for the City of Frankfurt/Main the project is associated, as it were as “growth inwards”, with an opportunity to develop housing with a high level of parkland in an area close to downtown. This way, new dwellings can be built and a positive contribution made to relieving the tight housing market.

By covering the A 661 the right conditions will be created to reduce noise emissions. Linking up existing areas of parkland with new ones that will be created on the “roof” are intended to extending the local recreational facilities for current and future new residents in the districts. Together with the planned defragmentation of the green spaces, one of the other main objectives of the plans is to improve climatic conditions and the exchange of air in the new quarters and the existing districts.

More information

Starting Point and objectives

Starting point

Ever since the construction of the A 661 the parkland and open spaces between Huthpark, the Bornheim Cemetery, and Günthersburgpark have ceased to form a cohesive area and have been subject to noise pollution. The original routes that ran between Bornheim/Nordend and Seckbach have been severed and the residential districts close to the interstate have suffered considerably from the noise levels. Given this negative situation, the prospects of planning new residential districts such as at present urgently needed to cover the need for housing in Frankfurt are minimal. This overall situation is therefore far from satisfactory in urban planning terms.

For this reason, in 2009 and 2010 the Municipal Authorities had a study conducted of how covering the section of the A 661 interstate between the Friedberger Landstrasse junction and the bridge in Seckbach could potentially provide new prospects for the future development of this section of town and its natural surroundings. The result of the study carried out by the firm Albert Speer & Partner (AS&P) confirmed that covering the A 661 can indeed create new, sustainable natural surroundings as well as potential for new residential quarters.

Hence in 2011 the City Council, with a cross-party majority, commissioned the Municipal Authorities to conduct preparatory studies for the “Ernst May district”. The results of the study were to be submitted to the City Council as the basis for taking a decision on a possible urban development measure.

Galeriebauwerk, © City of Frankfurt Planning Dept.


Following an analysis of the status quo, the main elements for planning the “Ernst May district” can be derived from the following objectives, which are all equal priorities:

  • Ensure noise protection for the existing residential quarters.
  • Create new housing areas in sections not subject to noise from the interstate.
  • Relink the natural surroundings between Huthpark and Günthersburgpark that have been cut off from each other since construction of the A 661.
  • Generate new green spaces for the public to extend existing parks and ease the burden on them at present, as well as to make the parkland areas and leisure-time zones more welcoming.
  • Improve the local micro-climatological situation.

By integrating and designing the cover structure such that it fits in with the natural surroundings an opportunity can be exploited to create a green axis that is important for the region and the city as a whole in line with the “Spokes and Rays” urban strategy plan. This way the areas of countryside in the regional park can be linked via the Frankfurt Green Belt with inner-city green zones and a green link realized.

New paths connecting Bornheim/Nordend, Seckbach and the Festeburg estate will be established and old ones resurrected, thus improving links between the various districts again. In addition the adjacent residential areas previously subject to noise pollution from the interstate will be noticeably quieter, while the planned new parkland areas will provide attractive leisure time and recreation space.

By changing the boundaries of the districts there will be a clear gain in integrated quiet downtown housing areas that are close to open spaces and in the vicinity of existing infrastructure facilities as well. Moreover the previously isolated Festeburg estate will become a district in its own right with links to the quarters at “Friedberger Warte” that adjoin to the south.

Significant assessments of the project and further planning-related conclusions can be gleaned from the resolutions and applications for approval from the city executive SAMMELBESCHLUSS PAR_1053_2017 on the submissions M 80, M 81, M 82 and M 83, February 23, 2017. For the routes to the documents please click “Downloads/links at a glance” section at the end of this website.

Milestones and Chronology

This information corresponds with the status quo in spring 2019.

Feasibility study on covering the A 661 and initial urban development studies


View from the North, junction with Friedberger Landstrasse, © City of Frankfurt Planning Dept.

Preparatory investigation and consolidation of urban development and landscape planning masterplans as well as the feasibility of covering the A 661 interstate

02/2021 - 03/2021
for information purposes: The planning documents for the procedure for changing the plans for the “Final Extension of the A 661 (Eastern Bypass Frankfurt/Main)” went on public display again“.

Surveying required in connection with the draft planning for the cover starts along the A 661.

11/2020 - 12/2020

for information purposes: The planning documents for the procedure for changing plans for the “Final Extension of the A 661 (Eastern Bypass Frankfurt/Main)” go on public display.


DEGES starts work as commissioned to study the traffic flow on the A 661 and draft plans for the cover.

On the basis of a decision made jointly by the State of Hessen and the City of Frankfurt/Main, DEGES (Deutsche Einheit Fernstraßenplanungs- und -bau GmbH), a limited liability company, was commissioned to continue the study in greater depth. To this end, an administrative agreement was concluded between the State of Hessen and the City of Frankfurt/Main, which the City Council confirmed at its meeting on December 12, 2019 by Resolution 5011.

Up-dating by Pesch & Partner of the urban development and landscaping framework plans on the basis of the L 2 version of the cover.

Resolution passed by the City Council to realize the L 2 version of the A 661 cover, i.e., over a length of 1,000 meters between the Friedberger Landstrasse and Seckbacher Landstrasse bridges. (no. 3864, April 4, 2019)

Decision made on the competition as part of a further public colloquium with subsequent jury meeting (closed session) in favor of the design submitted the studio tobeStadt. Re-naming of the “Innovation Quarter” as “Günthersburghöfe”.

Exhibition at the Planning Department of the initial results of the “Innovation Quarter” competition

First public colloquium on the “Innovation Quarter” competition

Alteration of the geographical scope of the area of investigation of the “Ernst May district,” publication in the Official Gazette no. 26 issued June 27, 2017. The reduction is based on the removal of the three subplots “Friedrich garden center,” “Innovation Quarter”, and “East Atterberry”.

Call for entries to an urban development and open-space planning ideas competition for legal zone planning procedure no. 880 “Innovation Quarter”.

By resolution of the City Council on February 23, 2017, section1053, with regard to the above-mentioned four applications for approval by the city executive, further measures were specified, both for the status report on the “Ernst May district” as well as for the three independent legal zoning planning procedures.

April 2016
Submissions by the Municipal Authorities:  M 82 2016 / M 80 2016 / M 81 2016 / M 83 2016

January 2015 – March 2016
Elaboration of four submissions by the Municipal Authorities:
- Status report on the four preparatory studies
- Legal zoning plan 858, Living to the north of Günthersburgpark (“Friedrich garden center”)
- Legal zoning plan 880, Friedberger Landstrasse/South of Wasserpark (“Innovation quarter”)
- Legal zoning plan 914, Friedberger Landstrasse/East of Bodenweg (“East Atterberry”)

The important planning aspects are explained in the M 82 status report. For the Ernst May district, the deletion of the quarters “Friedrich garden center”, “Innovation Quarter” and “East Atterberry” from the scope of the preparatory studies is an important formal amendment (M 80, M 81, M 83).

Hessen Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy, Transport and Regional Development (HMWVL) resolves to annul the planning approval procedure relating to the “Alleentunnel”
September 2013 until November 2014
In-depth feasibility study by DEGES (Deutsche Einheit Fernstraßenplanungs- und -bau GmbH/German Unity Interstate Planning and Construction Company) of a complete cover of the A661 interstate

June 2014 until December 2014
Further in-depth planning of individual quarters

June 2013 until November 2014
Urban development and landscaping master planning by the firm Pesch & Partner Architekten for the area being investigated with variations of the plans, further elaboration by the Frankfurt/Main City Planning Department

January 2013 until June 2013
strong>In-depth master planning for the urban development and landscaping by the firms Pesch & Partner Architekten and Glück Landschaftsarchitektur

April 2012 until September 2012
Joint limited-number competition for the master planning for the urban development and landscaping with a decision in favor of the firms Pesch & Partner Architekten and Glück Landschaftsarchitektur.

June 2011 until July 2012
Discussion of the involvement of stakeholders: real estate owners, tenants, leaseholders and other affected persons

February 2011
Resolution passed by the City Council to conduct preparatory investigations with regard to a possible urban development measure in accordance with section 165 of the German Building Code (BauGB)

Preparatory Studies

Urban development measure

Area studied: Ernst May District, © City of Frankfurt Planning Dept., map based on: aerial photo courtesy of City of Frankfurt Survey Office

The City of Frankfurt resorts to urban development measures if general urban development legislation has reached its limits, for example in the case of the development of very large areas that are to be initiated quickly, or when other development measures (e.g., urban development contracts) are not possible. In addition to various tools that can serve process management, any existing obligations as regards land acquisition and/or reprivatization are especially important when conducting an urban development measure. The latter enables restructuring without a formal reallocation process being required. One important feature is that the authorities acquire the land at a nominal value that is independent of any development and that the increase in value as a result of this development is then used to finance the measure. This includes, for example, the costs of access and social infrastructure, relocation costs, noise protection measures (for example covering the A 661 interstate), compensation measures, as well as the cost of the financing, the planning and/or the project management.

Scope of the preparatory studies

In line with section 165 of the German Town and Country Planning Code (BauGB), extensive preparatory studies are necessary prior to a development measure. These serve to establish the assessment criteria for determining a development area. In-depth supplementary studies involving an urban and open space planning concept are intended to quantify the expenses and the benefits of the development measure more precisely.

These include studies on the local ecology, nature and landscape conservation, species protection, climate, transport, transport links and access possibilities, noise levels and the possibilities of reducing them, into the technical feasibility of covering the A 661. They also entail outlining possible variants of the most meaningful tunnel length, engineering, and the integration of the structure in a landscape concept. Particular importance is placed during the preparatory studies on formal discussions and consultations with the stakeholders, namely the real estate owners, tenants, leaseholders and other parties affected, and the public-sector clients. It is also imperative that these parties are willing to become involved.

When laying the foundations for deciding whether or not an urban development measure shall be introduced, the question must be clarified whether to this end there are other planning alternatives which could achieve the relevant objectives and purposes, too.

Work phases during urban development planning (1-3)

Map section: Urban planning and spatial intertwining of Ernst May district, Albert Speer & Partner, © City of Frankfurt Planning Department; map basis: City of Frankfurt Surveying Department

The “Ernst May district” is an urban infill development project. With projects of this nature, a number of complex issues have to be assessed with regard to planning decisions.

To date the elaborate master plans for the area studied were compiled in three phases. In the process the entire range of basic conditions that influence the plans, such as the urban development and landscape planning concepts, the impact on traffic as well as the environment in general and in particular in terms of nature, parkland, and species protection, not to mention the climate, were professionally assessed.


Phase 1: Urban development feasibility study, Albert Speer und Partner (AS&P) (2010)

With a view to reducing the existing noise pollution (see section on Objectives) the initial idea was only to construct noise protection walls; these would, however, have intensified the quarter’s isolation, something already induced by the line of the interstate. As an alternative to the noise protection walls, options for covering the interstate had to be examined. The feasibility study tabled in 2010 by Albert Speer und Partner revealed highly promising opportunities for the future development of the urban space and the surrounding parkland.

Phase 2: Joint design process, Pesch & Partner Architekten, Glück Landschaftsarchitektur (2012-2014)

Map section: Urban planning and spatial intertwining Ernst May district, Pesch Partner Architekten, Glück Landschaftsarchitektur, © City of Frankfurt Planning Department, basis of map: City of Frankfurt Surveying Department


In order to go into the findings from the AS&P study in greater depth, in 2012 three planning consultancies were commissioned to advance the previous urban development and landscape planning concept as part of a joint design process (supported by an interdisciplinary planning advisory council). Of the three designs, that by Pesch & Partner Architekten, which was drawn up as part of a consortium with Glück Landschaftsarchitektur (both from Stuttgart) was selected as the preferred solution. This concept then formed the basis of further master planning that had yet to be specified.

The attached PDF file “Joint Planning Process 2012” (excluding image) reveals the urban development and landscape master plans by Pesch und Partner, Glück Landschaftsarchitekten, at the conclusion of the process.

Phase 3: Detailed elaboration of the “Pesch Plan” by the Frankfurt/Main City Planning Department (2012-5)

Map section: Urban planning and spatial intertwining of Ernst May district, Albert Speer & Partner, © City of Frankfurt Planning Department, basis of map: City of Frankfurt Surveying Department

This work phase saw clarification of two traffic planning aspects that were of particular significance for the development of the project: The State of Hessen discontinued the planning approval procedure for construction of the “Alleentunnel” (an underground link between the A 66 interstate at Miquelallee and the A 66/A 661 interstate intersection). This did away with obstacles relating to the planning of residential quarters, which would otherwise have been sited on the route originally foreseen for the tunnel. In a further in-depth feasibility study conducted by DEGES (Deutsche Einheit Fernstraßenplanungs- und -bau GmbH), several variations for covering the A661 interstate were examined in terms of expediency, economic feasibility, and level of noise protection.

The urban development and landscape master planning concept devised in this way specified the following key parameters for the area studied (in this context see the map attached below as a PDF file):

Realigning the existing borders of the housing estates settlements lends a clearer footprint to the urban development of the entire planning area. The striking borders thus envisaged serve to give the existing quarters greater emphasis. As a result, higher-end construction will be possible on plots where, despite their good location in the city, the urban development potential as not to date been exhausted.

In eight new sections in the quarter, it should be possible to build a total of approximately 4,000 apartments that will cater to different residential requirements.


Work phase during urban development planning (4)

Map excerpt: 2019, Updated urban development and landscaping master plans for the Ernst May district, Pesch Partner Architekten, Glück Landschaftsarchitektur

phase 4: Further updating of the urban development and landscaping framework plans by Pesch & Partner / Glück Landschaftsarchitekten (2019 →)
The decision by the City Council to realize the L 2 version of the cover over the A 661, i.e., over a length of 1,000 meters, opens up further positive planning options for the “Ernst May district”. Additional housing can be built; furthermore, new parklands of around six hectares will be possible on the “lid” of the cover. Together with the existing parks, this will result in a continuous strip of green parklands totaling around 80 hectares. The current “Ernst May district” conceptual framework can be retrieved below as a map in the form of a PDF.

Planning and Realization Steps

Given the uncertainties that must always be taken into consideration with long-term planning projects, it is impossible to state with any precision when the individual quarters in the “Ernst May district” will actually be built. Formal transportation planning procedures and the construction of the cover in particular dictate fundamental conditions with regard to the timing of the development of the area.

Two residential quarters, which for formal reasons were deleted from the area under investigation for the possible “Ernst May district” development, can actually be built. These quarters are being developed in each case in line with legal zone planning procedures of their own:

  • “Friedberger Landstrasse/South of Wasserpark“ (“Innovation Quarter”), approx. 1,500 residential units
  • “Living to the north of Günthersburgpark” (“Friedrich garden center”), approx. 100 residential units.

At the moment a reliable forecast of when the plans for the “Ernst May district” will be realized is not possible. In particular, the vastly improved planning options that have arisen from the City Council’s resolution need to be evaluated carefully. This also applies to the issues that only become evident as planning progresses, and whose impact cannot be foreseen.

The City Council’s decision with regard to the length of the cover also entails amendments to the framework conditions for the remaining areas of the “Ernst May district”, which need to be evaluated carefully. The results will be taken into account in further firm plans.

Climate and Fresh Air

Function of the area studied as regards climatic conditions in the city

Section of the climate function map (1995 version), with the area being studied superimposed, © City of Frankfurt Planning Department; map basis: City of Frankfurt Surveying Department

The climatic importance of an area is primarily the product of its location, its topographical circumstances, and its usage structures. These factors determine the importance of an area with regard to both the small-scale, local influx of cold air as well as the general ventilation of the urban fabric and whether it is open to regional wind and air flow mechanisms.

The municipal Climate Plan Atlas (CPA) provides detailed information about the most important micro-climatic topographical conditions in the area in question. It shows the rises and falls in the land, which to a large extent determine air flow the direction, and as such the scope impacted by the cold air that arises there.

In the CPA the dotted lines mark what are known as crest lines, which, similar to a watershed, describe the extent of an area in which cold air is generated. In the section of the map, valleys and other depressions in the land are depicted by lines of two dots and a dash, into which the cold air generated on the slopes then flows and possibly – following the line of the valley – flows away, provided there are few obstacles and there is a sufficient gradient.

On the basis of the location and alignment of the contour lines and depth contours in the area in question it can be deduced that the topography between the main cemetery in the west and Huthpark in the north-east can be divided into three separate zones in which cold air is generated:

  1. The northeastern area in which cold air arises includes Huthpark and extends southwestwards to a contour line which runs from the south as far as the “Unfallklinik” hospital. In line with the direction of the main slope, the cold air that arises within these boundaries flows eastwards or directly into Seckbach.
  2. A second area in which cold air is produced extends to a contour line that runs directly south from the cemetery in Bornheim. The cold air that arises here flows primarily to the depth contour which was made more pronounced by the A 661 interstate being built through it. Cold air flows southeastwards to Seckbacher Ried via this channel. A second depth contour visible on the map, on the other hand, is of no significance for the cold air channel, as it lies at the heart of the district of Bornheim and for this reason does not correspond with surrounding areas of cold air.
  3. In line with the general direction of the slope, the cold air produced in the west flows southwestwards in the direction of the edge of the development along Münzenberger Strasse and Butzbacher Strasse.

In addition to their significance for the local supply of cold air the open parklands in the area in question, with their link to the open countryside in the northeast of Frankfurt, also serve as a channel for regional wind systems such as that from the Wetterau region. For this reason they improve the ability of these wind regimes to flow into the northeast of the city. At the same time they can encourage the local cold air to move, such that the cold air masses are more dynamic than might otherwise be expected given the modest slope and the, for the most part, strong obstacles to air flow in the area in question.

Conclusions for the Ernst May district

The existence of various fragmented cold air regimes means that as a matter of principle the impact caused by the plans can be minimized, as partial interventions in one cold air regime do not also lead to changes in the other cold air areas and the relevant impact zones and city districts. For this reason changes in the area between the cemetery in Bornheim and Huthpark would at most lead to an influence on cold air activity in southwestern parts of Seckbach and the northeastern areas of Bornheim. Usage changes to the west and south of the cemetery in Bornheim, on the other hand, would primarily affect the flow of cold air on the perimeters of the eastern Nordend district.

What is decisive, however, is that in neither case would there be any considerable negative impact on local climatic conditions, as the layout of the expanded districts and the way they have been extended means that the remaining areas of open parkland retain their importance as a flow channel. As such the actual “driving force” behind local air in- and outflow, namely the regional wind regime, will continue to ensure sufficient ventilation and the supply of cold and fresh air.

In addition, the sheer strength of the regional wind flows will ensure that these continue to reach the whole of Frankfurt, thereby benefiting the micro-climate in more central downtown areas not benefiting from the fragmented circulation of cold and hot air in the city’s outlying areas.

Areas of parkland and Open spaces

One of the project’s main planning objectives for the area in question is to boost the quality of open spaces with a view to enhancing their appeal and local recreation facilities, as well as to improving the microclimate.

The planning concept that has been developed can create the conditions for relinking the parklands between the districts of Bornheim, Seckbach, and Nordend, which has been fragmented since the construction of the A661 interstate, and putting in place a continuous, publicly accessible stretch of parkland running from Lohrberg, through Huthpark, as far as Günthersburgpark.

The City Council’s decision to realize the L 2 version of the cover over the A 661 enables considerable additional planning options for new parklands. The initial conceptual framework drawn up by Glück Landschaftsarchitektur will be elaborated on during the course of the further planning of the “Ernst May district”.
In the opinion to date of Glück Landschaftsarchitektur, overall the area of parkland could feature different types of open space:

Huthpark, © City of Frankfurt Planning Dept.

In the opinion of Glück Landschaftsarchitektur, overall the area of parkland could feature different types of open space:

As natural elements of the countryside, the large areas Huthpark, Günthersburgpark, Wasserpark and the cemetery in Bornheim will not be revamped with new facilities, but rather integrated in the open space system and their importance thus emphasized. Furthermore, when the Parks Department depot is no longer in use, Günthersburgpark will be considerably larger.

The “Green Center” on top of the structure covering the A661 interstate is the main new landscape element in the master plan area. It is intended to serve as a multi-use and recreational space, as well as a place for sporting activities.

The open space will be accessed by two different types of paths: A primary network of paths will be created by means of park promenades, while a subordinate system will provide direct routes and make the parks easier to reach and leave by foot or bicycle.

The existing allotments will be supplemented by new communal gardens and will evolve into a diverse system of open spaces. To this end, interventions in existing private allotments will be unavoidable. Weighing up public interest in the development of housing quarters, publicly usable green links, and the construction of the structure covering the A661 interstate, the interests of existing private allotment users must in some cases take a back seat.

The City of Frankfurt/Main is evaluating what compensation to offer existing users for the possible loss of the gardens. Various methodologies have been developed and will be advanced in the course of further studies. The adventure playground will stay at ist current location.

Noise protection

The noise pollution from the A 661 interstate is one of the reasons for the plans being drawn up.

To reduce these noise levels the potential impact of a 10-meter-high noise protection wall was also evaluated. This solution was, however, rejected, as a noise protection wall would additionally increase the district’s isolation by the interstate and be detrimental to the parklands. Moreover in certain weather conditions, for example in the event of atmospheric inversion, the noise protection would be considerably reduced.

By covering the A 661 interstate, on the other hand, the disadvantages of a noise protection wall in terms of urban and open space planning, as well as the disadvantages this protection entails can be avoided.

On the basis of the volume of traffic predicted in 2025, the noise in the area in question that is produced by traffic on the A 661 interstate is as follows:

Without noise protection

Illustration 1 shows noise conditions in the case of undisturbed sound propagation at a height of two meters for the nighttime period (10.00 p.m. to 06.00 a.m.).

In Germany there is a norm, the DIN 18005 – Noise Protection in Urban Planning standard, which stipulates how to assess the impact of traffic noise. The non-mandatory figures listed in Supplement 1 to this norm provide information about the appropriate consideration of noise protection in urban planning. The figures are specifications devised by experts to reflect the noise protection objectives that need to be considered in the planning; for this reason they are not statutory limits. To meet expectations with regard to noise pollution protection appropriate to the character of the development zone affected it is, however, desirable that noise levels at least fall within the bounds of these figures.

A comparison with the figures stated in DIN 18005 – Noise Protection in Urban Planning – illustrates how the eastern perimeter of the New Atterberry residential area is considerably affected by noise from the interstate. The figures are exceeded here by up to 10 dB(A), which is perceived as a doubling of the loudness.
On account of the greater distance from the interstate, the noise levels on the southern perimeter of this residential area deviate to a far lesser extent from the DIN figures. They are up to 5 dB(A) above the levels, whereas in the residential area itself noise readings comply with the figures or are lower than the upper thresholds.

Traffic study with development in line with the legal zoning plan and enclosing of the A 661 interstate [7860 KB]

Study of traffic on the A 661 interstate without further noise protection measures, © City of Frankfurt Planning Department; map basis: City of Frankfurt Surveying Departmentnahme, © Stadtplanungsamt Stadt Frankfurt am Main, TÜV Hessen,  Kartengrundlage: Stadtvermessungsamt Stadt Frankfurt am Main

With noise protection

With noise protection Illustration 2 shows the night-time noise level that can be achieved with a 1,000-meter long cover structure. The decisive indicative figure of 45 dB(A) at night is adhered to almost everywhere and is only lower in places. The noise emissions from Friedberger Landstrasse that impact on the eastern periphery of “New Atterberry” are clearly recognizable. They cannot be shielded by the cover structure. In the direct vicinity of Friedberger Landstrasse the nighttime excess noise level in comparison with the guide figure is 15 dB(A).

Study of traffic on the A 661 interstate without further noise protection measures, © City of Frankfurt Planning Department, TÜV Hessen, basis of map: City of Frankfurt Surveying Department

Covering the A 661 interstate

Covering the A 661 interstate is an important measure for reducing traffic noise, and at the same time a prerequisite for implementing the urban development and landscape master planning. In the course of the preparatory study DEGES (Deutsche Einheit Fernstraßenplanungs- und -bau GmbH), which was commissioned jointly by the State of Hessen and the City of Frankfurt/Main, examined solutions in several scenarios in terms of expediency, economic feasibility, and the level of noise protection.

As explained in the status report on the preparatory studies, covering the A 661 over a length of 400 meters was initially considered to be opportune. Following further consultations in the city’s committees and the corresponding resolution no. 3864 of April 4, 2019, the cover will now be realized over a length of 1,000 meters. In the opinion of both the State of Hessen and the City of Frankfurt, the organizational model favors tasking DEGES with the requisite updating of the technical plans and estimation of the costs.

To this end, an administrative agreement was concluded between the State of Hessen and the City of Frankfurt/Main. The City Council confirmed it at its meeting on December 12, 2019 by Resolution 5011.

A kick-off meeting with those involved in the project from the City of Frankfurt, DEGES, HessenMobil, and the State of Hessen was held on January 13, 2020; important organizational aspects were agreed there. With regard to the traffic study, DEGES confirmed at the meeting that following the commissioning of the planners PTV Group – Planung Transport Verkehr GmbH in January 2020, the agreed work had begun.

In January 2020, DEGES commences the tasks with which it had been entrusted, whereby the work focused on the following two thematic areas:

  1. At the instruction and on behalf of the State of Hessen it started compiling a traffic flow study for the A 661 in order to scope the dimensions the A 661 requires. This is a key parameter to define the scale of the cover. The corresponding activities commenced in January 2020 and the results of the study are expected to be published in Q1 2021.
  2. At the instruction and on behalf of the City of Frankfurt/ Main, it started draft technical planning for the cover. The corresponding activities were started in mid-2020, and the draft planning proposal is expected to be completed by mid-2024.
Formally independent of the DEGES activities mentioned under points 1 and 2 above, in November 2020 the Darmstadt Regional Council initiated the procedure for changing existing plans in connection with the “Final Extension of the A 661 (Frankfurt Eastern Bypass)”. The plans went on public display from Nov. 23 – Dec. 22, 2020, and again from Feb. 15 – March 14, 2021; the deadline for receipt of objections is April 15, 2021.Essentially, the process involves construction of an interstate access ramp at the junction “Friedberger Landstrasse” from the West heading South (“Southbound direct ramp”), building a merging lane, expansion of two rainwater retention basins, additions to the noise protection installations, and elimination of the so-called “inner ring connector” and the interstate cloverleaf at Seckbach including the necessary subsequent measures and the landscaping measures close to the line of the interstate to offset the above actions.

By means of this procedure to change the existing plans, first of all key elements of the interstate design will be defined that will subsequently be inputted into the draft planning proposal for covering the A 661. Alongside upgrading the technical side to the interstate, second, it is crucial from the viewpoint of planning going forward that the outdated plans for the so-called “inner ring connector” and the “Seckbach cloverleaf be annulled. As a result, the areas in question, which have hitherto been legally assigned for interstate construction, can be used for other purposes, namely to realize the planning objectives for the “>>Ernst May Quarter”.

Revocation of the “Alleen Tunnel” resolution

In 1980, the then Hessen Minister of Economic Affairs and Technology gave planning permission for the construction of the A 66 interstate in the city limits of Frankfurt/Main, the “Alleentunnel”. The plan embraced extensive construction measures from the major junction at “Miquelallee”, the construction of a tunnel from there to the area “Friedberger Landstrasse/Butzbacher Strasse” and subsequent construction in a trough as far as “Dortelweiler Strasse”.

Several appeals against this resolution were submitted and the planning procedures for rectifying possible shortcomings in the resolution were suspended. An additional planning approval procedure was never conducted, as the view of the project on the part of both the State of Hessen and the City of Frankfurt/Main had changed.

Consequently, in 2013 the State of Hessen waived re-registering the “A 66 Alleen Tunnel” project for the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan. Moreover, in early 2014 HessenMobil, as the highest road construction authority, applied to the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) for the project to be removed from the “Demand Plan for Federal Trunk Roads 2004”. This application was granted, such that in May 2014 HessenMobil applied to the planning authority for the planning approval resolution to be annulled. Effective February 2, 2015 the Hessen Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy, Transport and State Development ultimately annulled the planning approval resolution for the “Alleen Tunnel”.

This resolution is pivotal for realizing the project, in particular for the area “Friedberger Landstrasse/South of Wasserpark (“Innovation quarter”). Along the approved route the “Alleen Tunnel” would have prevented any housing development opportunities and cut through the areas of parkland and recreational zones close to the district.

At the same time it should also be noted that since 1980 all facilities (such as the adventure playground) on the route of the “Alleen Tunnel” have had to be provisional in nature, as the areas along the route had to be kept free for the construction of the tunnel.

Legal zone planning

Alongside technical aspects, preparatory studies must determine whether the legal conditions for conducting a development measure in accordance with section 165 paragraph 3 of the German Building Code (BauGB) are in place.

In this context the City assesses whether the measure does indeed need to be conducted in order to ensure the community’s well-being as regards the provision of housing and work, along with the subsequent need for basic public amenities. Here, the willingness of those affected by the measure to play an active role in the process is important role. It must also be verified whether, provided the measure is conducted swiftly, development of an area is in fact possible and the financing of the measure is secured. Depending on the outcome, other planning tools must also be used.

With regard to the zones:

  • Housing to the north of Günthersburgpark – (“Friedrich garden center”), Development plan number 858
  • Friedberger Landstrasse/South of Wasserpark – (“Innovation quarter”),  Development plan number 880
  • Friedberger Landstrasse/East of Bodenweg – (“East Atterberry”),  Development plan number 914

the above-mentioned criteria for applying a development measure are not met. For these areas development can therefore be conducted on the basis of contractual agreements with the real-estate owners or their authorized representatives. Where necessary, the approach must also involve setting up a corresponding project company in line with the objectives of the urban development and landscaping master planning.

The legal basis for building permission as needed for the above-mentioned zones will be established through legal zoning planning and sectoral legislative procedures.

Legal zoning plan draft no. 858 – Housing to the north of Günthersburgpark 
The legal zoning plan procedure no. 858 – Housing to the north of Günthersburgpark – which was begun in 2008, will be continued. The legal zoning plan is intended to create the conditions necessary for developing an attractive residential location here once the land is no longer used as a garden center. Along Dortelweiler Strasse the development will take its lead from the existing buildings and there will be public access to Günthersburgpark from the site.

Questions & Answers

  • Daten und Fakten

  • Where is the development area?

    The area is located in the north-east of Frankfurt. It encompasses stretches of land belonging to the districts of Bornheim, Nordend and Seckbach.

  • Why the name “Ernst May district”?

    The City of Frankfurt/Main’s housing development scheme published in 1925 by Municipal Building Councilor Ernst May already earmarked the areas between Bornheim and Seckbach, the “Ernst May district”, as building land. The objective of Ernst May’s development was on the hand to create a large number of high-quality dwellings for a rapidly growing population, without on the other hand neglecting links to areas of greenery and open spaces. These are also the underlying objectives of today’s “Ernst May district”.


  • What is the size of the land being investigated?

    The land that is the subject of the preparatory investigation comprises around 100 hectares.


  • Stadtentwicklung

  • Which opportunities are associated with development of the area?

    Covering the A 661 over a length of around 1,000 meters will give rise to additional land measuring around 6 hectares, which together with Günthersburgpark and Huthpark as far as Lohrberg will create continuous parkland and open space measuring around 80 hectares. The existing parkland and that which will be created on the “lid” of the cover will be designed such that the local recreational facilities for both long-standing and new residents will be expanded.

  • Wohnen

  • Which price segment will the homes to be built belong to?

    With regard to housing policy the City of Frankfurt aims to create affordable housing and provide a wide broad range of housing. 30 percent of the land earmarked for development will be reserved for subsidized housing. Communal housing projects will also be included and homes for all income brackets to be realized.

  • Which types of housing will be built?

    There are plans for a wide-range of rented accommodation and forms of ownership, and innovative approaches to construction will be implemented Both subsidized as well as privately financed housing is envisaged, as are communal living and accommodation owned by housing associations.

  • Will only housing be built in the “Ernst May district”?

    The “Ernst May district” is being planned as an entire entity. It is a comprehensive and complex project that will need to be completed in stages and which, it goes without saying, will in addition to the new residential quarters will include new public areas of greenery, schools and children’s nurseries. The partial covering of the A 661 interstate is an integral part of this planning concept.

  • Umwelt und Klima

  • Will the “Ernst May district” restrict the supply of fresh air to the city and cause a deterioration of its climate?

    One of the main concerns in planning the “Ernst May District” is the preservation of favorable climate conditions in the city both in the new quarters as well as existing districts. As such, the climatic contexts in the area under investigation were taken into account in the very first stage of the project and taken as a basis in identifying future areas for development. Detailed climate surveys are currently being conducted as part of further steps in the legal site planning procedure. City climate issues are given high priority in these. Furthermore, they will be compatible with the objectives of c Frankfurt’s strategy to adapt to climate change.

  • Which measures can be implemented to ensure the flow of sufficient fresh and cold air flow is maintained and improved?

    The A 661 interstate is currently an obstacle to local cold air currents, as its construction further reinforced the pre-existing depth contour, making it insurmountable for cold air masses coming from the north-east. The planned covering of the A 661 will allow for this break to be closed and made passable for the less powerful cold air masses again. It will also heighten the quality of the incoming cold air as this will carry less exhaust fumes from the cars on the interstate, in turn improving the fresh air supply to the planned new quarters.

  • Is there a threat of the Nordend and Bornheim districts overheating following the construction of the new quarters?

    The temperatures in Nordend and Bornheim are dependent on regional air currents such as the wind coming from the Wetterau region, but not on the small-scale cold air production areas on the north-eastern outskirts of Frankfurt. The planning concept intends to maintain influx of these air currents to downtown, thus ruling out overheating of Nordend and Bornheim through the planned construction of the “Ernst May district”.

  • What will happen to the existing parks?

    The planning concept for the “Ernst May district” envisages expanding Günthersburgpark and Huthpark and linking them to the overarching green network of Lohrberg and the regional park.

  • Freizeitgärten

  • Which private gardens are affected, how long will I be able to keep my garden?

    General planning considerations relating to the development of the “Ernst May district” make it inevitable that allotments and private gardens will need to be used for the creation of spacious green networks for public use. Public interest trumps private interest in preserving the gardens. The City intends, however, to only intervene in the gardens on a justifiable level and preserve the overall sum of small gardens available. To date, it cannot be reliably stated to what extent and at which point in time the areas currently used as gardens will be affected. This depends on the progress of the planning.

  • Will there be compensation offers for the loss of the gardens?

    A system for the possible restructuring, transfer and/or compensation for the gardens will be devised. This means that where possible, alternative plots will be offered to compensate for the requisitioned gardens. However, it will not be possible to find new plots nearby for all the gardens. Permanent small gardens are protected by law and where appropriate will be compensated for in full. Information on the details and extent of available compensation packages will be prepared in due course.

  • Soziales

  • What will happen to the adventure playground?

    The adventure playground will stay in its current location. It is intended to be integrated into the overall concept for the adjoining development planned to the north.

  • Informations- und Beteiligungsangebot

  • Will citizens be adequately informed?

    A new state of affairs and information will always be reported and discussed. In line with the stipulations of the political authorities, the city executive is tasked with reporting regularly on relevant issues. Even in the case of the very first deliberations on the potential offered by urban development network, there was a cooperative procedure including public involvement and an advisory council board made up of representatives of citizen’s initiatives, local consultative councils, politicians and specialists that evaluated the submitted proposals. The resolution to initiate preparatory analyses was discussed in the press, by local consultative councils and by the City Council.

    Participation of the general public is also ensured in the further planning process. Forms of participation are chosen that go far beyond the standards relating to form and extent stipulated by law. In 2016 and 2017, for example, the city executive reported comprehensively on general aspects of the progress of planning related to the “Ernst May district” in several public forums (for example meetings of the local consultative councils affected) and this way received important suggestions from citizens. Furthermore, the participation of the general public is continued as regards implementation of the project, in line with planning permission, at legal zoning plan level, for example through citizens’ dialogue events.


Mr. Peter Habermann

Telephone: +49 (0)69 212 36833
Fax: +49 (0)69 212 30731

Ms. Sabine Guttmann

Telephone: +49 (0)69 212 34351
Fax: +49 (0)69 212 30731

Downloads/links at a glance

Downloads at a glance

Links to the City Parliament’s information system (PARLIS)

Preparatory studies for an urban development measure between Huthpark, the main cemetery and Günthersburgpark pursuant to section 165 (4) of the German Building Code (BauGB) here: Report on the status of the preparatory studies

Submission by the Municipal Authorities on April 22, 2016, M 82 2016 

Legal zoning plan no. 858 – Housing to the north of Günthersburgpark (“Friedrich garden center”)

Submission by the Municipal Authorities on April 22, 2016, M 80 2016 

Legal zoning plan on. 914 – Friedberger Landstrasse/East of Bodenweg (“East Atterberry”)

Submission by the Municipal Authorities on April 22, 2016, M 81 2016 

Legal zoning plan no. 880 – Friedberger Landstrasse/South of Wasserpark (“Innovation quarter”)

Submission by the Municipal Authorities on April 22, 2016, M 83 2016

Expert reports

Data protection notice: Reproductions and further distribution actions must be coordinated with the respective authors of the expert opinions.

Compilation of the studies, plans, studies and expert opinions commissioned in connection with the preparatory studies for the "Ernst May district".

Urban development planning

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