Sustainable urban development
The Canton of Basel-Stadt has just under 200’000 inhabitants and is the most densely populated canton of Switzerland. Settlements have reached the border with the neighbouring Canton of Basel-Land, as well as the French and German national borders. Due to the scarcity of land, sustainability and energy efficiency are of the utmost importance while developing or re-developing urban areas.

The former freight yard of the German Railway station in northern Kleinbasel was one of the last construction land reserves in the Canton Basel-Stadt. Starting in 1998 and over a period of 20 years, this area of 19 hectares has been turned into the neighbourhood “Erlenmatt”. In accordance with the principles of sustainable neighbourhood development, Erlenmatt includes over 1400 apartments for a variety of demands, generously open and attractive green spaces, office and business areas, a primary school and a kindergarten, as well as shopping, gastronomy, and a recreational trend sports centre – everything that’s needed for a modern and comfortable life in Basel. 

The public Erlenmattpark is the heart of the new neighbourhood, with 5 hectares of green and open parkland situated between the buildings. It is part of a green passageway that leads to the nearby river Wiese and the local recreational area Lange Erlen. Walking and cycling in general are encouraged and incentivised, whereas motorised individual traffic in the area is restricted.

2000 Watt Society: Erlenmatt West 
Construction on the private building sites started in 2007, with a significant increase since 2013. The western part of the area Erlenmatt was completed for the most part in 2016. In 2013, the development of Erlenmatt West was awarded the national label of “2000-Watt-Area” for the planning phase, and was re-certified with the label in 2015, making Erlenmatt West the first area to be realised according to the standards of the 2000 Watt Society of Switzerland. This certificate by the national department of energy dignifies settlement areas that handle resources sustainably throughout all phases (construction, operating, renovation and mobility in consequence of operations).

Erlenmatt West provides a total of 574 apartments, commercial real estate, a centre for the elderly with 63 apartments as well as facilities for 56 elderly patients of nursing care and a public restaurant. The entire area Erlenmatt is connected to 100% carbon-neutral long-distance heating and warm water by the Basel energy provider IWB. IWB long distance heating is mostly generated through a waste-to-energy incineration plant as well as a wood power plant. It is Switzerland’s largest long distance heating network. Furthermore, the green roofs of Erlenmatt are equipped with photo-voltaic panels. The neighbourhood is well connected to public transport and is within walking distance to the long distance railway station of the Deutsche Bahn. The area has charging stations for electric vehicles as well as nearby stations of the nation-wide car-sharing service Mobility.

Furthermore a free app for tenants supplies a variety of relevant information about the neighbourhood and their individual apartments, such as instruction manuals for appliances or contact details for facility management. The app encourages social interaction through a community billboard where people can post upcoming events or offer things no longer used. The app also allows users to track their energy usage and to compare themselves to the average in the neighbourhood. This is supposed to incentivise people to adapt their usage of energy and to even trigger their competitiveness to use less energy. 

Current development: Erlenmatt Ost
Construction is currently underway in the eastern part of the area Erlenmatt. The Habitat foundation is implementing several housing and working space projects with building rights grantees such as joint building ventures or cooperative societies according to an ambitious sustainability concept that considers the efficiency of resources during all stages, including the planning, construction, operation and restoration of buildings and facilities. The goal is to produce a large part of the operating energy on-site. Furthermore, their sustainability concept not only considers components of efficiency but also sufficiency by limiting the energy reference area (living space plus 20%) per person to 45 m2, aiming for 40 m2, whereas according to the Statistics Bureau the average energy reference area per person in Basel is 53.75 m2.

© Bau- und Verkehrsdepartement Basel-Stadt 

© Bau- und Verkehrsdepartement Basel-Stadt 


Further contact: 
Kanton Basel-Stadt
Department of Environment and Energy
Head of Department
Matthias Nabholz
matthias.nabholz@bs.ch