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type of New Town:
> scale of autonomy
Hochdahl is planned as a satellite town of Düsseldorf. The location to the northeast of this city was chosen because of the large amount of free space and the good infrastructural connections with the Hildener Highway and the railway. Hochdahl was a small municipality with several villages: Hochdahl auf der Höhe, Trills im Tal, Milrath, Willbech, Kempen and Sandheide. These villages were scattered among the hilly landscape of the 'Bergischen Landen' and the 'Niederrheinischen Tiefebene'. In 1960 the development company Hochdahl was founded to acquire the land and to create the New Town.
Urban plan and design
The architects and planners of Hochdahl: Fritz Eller, Erich Moser and Robert Walter, made an urban plan that was different from the post-war satellite towns. Finally in seventies, after almost ten years of planning activity, a development plan was realized. The approach was to enhance and preserve the natural landscape, the architecture of the old villages and the existing streets in the new plan. Several architects were attracted to create a variety in layout with curving street lines, building edges, beautiful panorama's and differences in form and colour. They grouped the houses with the same building height, colors, volumes and materials, according to strict planning rules. The architects also had to cope with the rules that were drafted on the height, the ground use and the question open or enclosed structures. But according to the plan makers it was still possible for the designers to realize some kind of individuality in the buildings. The name of the centre: the Hochdahler Markt, showed the new direction to create a more village like atmosphere. To realize the desired variation the centre was divided in four parts with a mix of functions and differences in height. The houses were designed according to the new housing trends: fewer persons per family home and an improvement of the living standards. Different from the post-war satellite towns in which less attention was paid to the equipments of the houses, the homes of Hochdal were supplied with electrical energy and an antenna park. Typical of the plan was also the attention to the safety of the inhabitants. Pedestrian paths were separated from the car roads and green belts were laid out along the roads.
The first inhabitants settled in 1967 and since then the population increased from almost 8,000 in 1967 to more than 13,700 in 1969. Most of the new inhabitants (30 percent) came from Düsseldorf. Until 1980 the EGH acquired 675 ha land, of which the one half was build and the other half was used for green and infrastructure, as to realize a balance between buildings and nature. The city was built from East to West. Typical of the first districts were the large amount of high-rise building blocks with cheap apartments. But after 1970 the western districts were realized according to the new planning ideals. In spite of the attention to facilities, the plan of the large centre was only realized in 1979, more than ten years after the design competition (1965). In 1980 a heating plant was built to provide jobs in the city. The inhabitants were for a long time dependent on a few shops. Bernhard M. Osterwind wrote the publication 'Die bevölkerungsentwicklung der Neuen Stadt Hochdahl' about the realization and development of the city. According to him the 'human city' was eventually not realized because of financial problems and political issues.
In 1972 the administrative municipality of Hochdahl grew because of the incorporation of the old villages. But only a few years after Hochdahl lost its independency and became a part of the bigger municipality of Erkharth, and it still is. The New Town now counted a population of 30.000 inhabitants in 2002 on a surface of 13.000 ha.