Location: Münster, Germany
City population: 289,521
Project duration: 1994 - 1996
Project cost: 100 000 - 500 000 EUR
Financing source(s): Public regional budget, Public local authority's budget

Educational nature trail

Stadtökologischer Lehrpfad

The Aa promenade, created in 1950 to provide the citizens of Muenster with a green experience trail in the inner city, was redeveloped in the 90s with several planting measures on riverbanks, walls and in adjacent areas. Next to a brochure, a nature trail which combines the existing recerational with an educational component was created with 18 site-specific signposting points. They cover multiple benefits and ecological functions of urban green spaces, city trees and green facades / walls (microclimate regulation, air quality, CO2 capture), anthropogenic threats, unknown biodiversity hotspots and natural monuments (Ref. 1, 3 and 6).

Urban setting

  • External building greens
    • Green walls or facades
  • Grey infrastructure with green features
    • Riverbank greens
  • Parks and (semi)natural urban green areas
    • Pocket parks / neighbourhood green spaces
    • Green corridor
  • Blue areas
    • River/stream/canal/estuary

Key challenges

  • Climate action for adaptation, resilience and mitigation (SDG 13)
  • Green space, habitats and biodiversity (SDG 15)
  • Environmental quality, including air quality and waste management
  • Regeneration, land-use and urban development
  • Health and well-being (SDG 3)

Main beneficiaries

  • Local government/Municipality
  • Citizens or community groups
Project objectives
Strengthening the riverbanks of the Aa through intensive natural greening (Ref. 1 and 6) Increasing green spaces in the inner city to foster citizens' recreation, enhance their identification with the place and improve the city's aesthetics (Ref. 6) Creating an attractive nature trail in the inner city that also serves as a green corridor and connects the city with its outer green spaces (Ref. 1 and 6) Creating habitats and migration routes for plants, insects, small mammals and birds (Ref. 6). Disseminating knowledge about the ecological connections and interdependencies in the urban fabric and the city`s history through informative stations / sign posts (Ref. 2) Increase awareness about the city as an integrated ecosystem and habitat for human-beings, flora and fauna; as well as the importance of nature conservation in urban areas (Ref. 2 and 6)
Implementation activities
The Aa promenade was newly paved, accessibility improved, several green maintenance and improvement measures made along the riverbanks and at natural monuments (city wall and wild plant meadow, plants growing on walls of the path). In 18 information points and the accompanying brochure, the following topics are explained: the importance of the lake Aa and desealing of urban spaces for the regulation of the urban microclimate, protected forest species, the importance and maintenance of wild plant meadows and their plants composition, green walls (moss, wall plants etc.), ecological condition and water quality of the river Aa, the importance of urban public green spaces for recreation, the importance of buildings as habitats for indigenous species (eagle), the multiple benefits of illustrative green facades along the way, ecosystem services provided by city trees. Through direct experience and background information, awareness for human-nature connections is created (Ref. 1, 2 and 6).

Type of initiating organisation

  • Local government / municipality

Management set-up


Participatory approaches/ community involvement

  • Dissemination of information and education
Project implemented in response to ...
... an EU policy or strategy? No
... a national policy or strategy? No
... a local policy or strategy? Yes
The Aa path and the promenade form part of the city's green system which consists of 7 green corridors which lead from the inner city to its outer districts concentrically in a star shape, three green rings (one of which is the promenade) and a green corridor along the Dortmund-Ems Channel. The city's green system is laid down in the so-called "Grünordnung" an open space planning guideline which serves as the base for all other city related planning developments. It aims at securing urban green spaces for the benefits of its residents and connecting the innercity green stretches with its outer areas (Ref. 6)
Expected impacts
  • Environmental quality, including air quality and waste management
  • Health and well-being (SDG 3)
  • Cultural heritage and cultural diversity
Details on impacts and indicators used The Aa path has become an integrative element of the city for its residents and tourists. A walk along the promenade and the various information signs put up not only provides recreational experience but also has an important educational component concerning the city's particular ecology, cultural heritage and ecosystems. Through the various regeneration works performed along the way and its stations, this heritage could be preserved, and the environmental quality enhanced (Ref. 6). In the years after its regeneration, guided tours were offered which had a high number of participants, also the demand for information brochures was high (Ref. 5).

Presence of formal monitoring system


Presence of indicators used in reporting


Presence of monitoring/ evaluation reports


Availability of a web-based monitoring tool



Disclaimer: The data collection was carried out between June and August 2017, the information presented has not been updated afterwards.