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Stuttgart 21 Project, Germany


Stuttgart 21 is a railway and urban development project in Stuttgart, Germany. It is a part of the Stuttgart–Augsburg new and upgraded railway and the Magistrale for Europe (Paris—Vienna) in the framework of the Trans-European Networks. Its core is a renewed Stuttgart Central Station, including some 30 km tunnels and 25 km of high-speed lines. The project was officially announced in April 1994. The opponents argue the project is overambitious and over-priced having as well raised concerns with regard to geological risks and damage to natural and cultural heritage such as mineral springs, old trees located in a park and the building of the old station. Along with the opposition to the station a popular movement compounded of students, elderly, professionals and environmental activists grew up and so did the level of repression coming from authorities. The ongoing opposition led to a change of state government and the installation of the first Green Party state premier. On 2011, a referendum was held to decide whether the state of Baden-Württemberg should cease funding the project. 58.8 percent of the votes cast were in favour of the project. Those two facts have led to high frustration among the opponents. However, they continue to oppose the project by organizing blockades, occupations and demonstrations.

Basic Data
Name of conflict:Stuttgart 21 Project, Germany
State or province:Baden-Württemberg
Location of conflict:Stuttgart
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Urban development conflicts
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific commodities:Transportation Services
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project details

33 kilometers of additional tunnels.

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Project area:100
Level of Investment:6,310,000,000 (official)
Type of populationUrban
Company names or state enterprises:Deutsche Bahn AG from Germany - the German railway company, a private joint-stock company AG with the federal government being its majority shareholder.
Relevant government actors:Federal Government, Baden-Württemberg Government, Stuttgart city Council
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Network against Unnecessary Imposed Mega Projects, Leben in Stuttgart (Life in Stuttgart), the local branch of the German Green Party., Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland: environmental NGO, member organisation of the international network Friends of the Earth.
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Trade unions
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Militarization and increased police presence
Potential: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Strengthening of participation
Development of alternatives:Opponents are suggesting a renovation of the current railway station, including creation of some new railways, but respecting the cultural heritage of the Hauptbahnhof terminus and the natural heritage of the adjacent Schlossgarten (Palace Park). This alternative project is known as Kopfbahnhof 21 (or K 21).
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Basically, all the lobbying, campaigning work as well as the protests and demonstrations had two outcomes: the Green Party taking over the regional Government and the celebration of a referendum. With regard to the former, the mentioned party firstly opposing the new station, used the movement as a platform to reach the power and once there continued with the implementation of the project; regarding the latter, some refer to the referendum as a 'trap' because it can be considered the final step in order to legitimate Stuttgart 21. All in all, the opposition had highly significant incidence in the politics of the region but eventually, nothing seemed to change with regard to the project.
Sources & Materials
Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

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Articles in the English International edition of Spiegel:
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Articles in the English International edition of Spiegel:
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Articles in the English International edition of Spiegel:
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Articles in the English International edition of Spiegel:
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Article about the Government change and the referendum:
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Stuttgart - a city in conflict. General information from the perspective of the opponents.
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Article in The Guardian:
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Slight presentation hightlighting the importancy of the project:
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Infoofensive. 3 leaflets justifying opposition and its alternative.
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Euronews europeans: Stuttgart 21: dividing a city
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Photo gallery about the opposition to Stuttgart 21:
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Meta information
Contributor:Alfred Burballa Noria
Last update18/08/2019
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