Station 9: Klybeckquai and Westquai – Temporary uses

On the Basel side, the port areas of Klybeckquai and Westquai are also in the process of being converted. Until their final use is determined, these locations provide scope for creative temporary uses.

Up to the end of the 19th century, the Klybeck Island (“Klybeckinsel”) was separated from Kleinbasel by the Old Rhine (“Altrhein”, old river bed of the Rhine), which rejoined the main course of the Rhine upstream of the mouth of the Wiese. The bed of the Altrhein was then filled in, connecting the Klybeck Island to the banks of the Rhine. To this day, street names such as Altrheinweg (‘Altrhein Road’) and Inselstrasse (‘Island Street’) refer to the former island.

Originally, the Klybeck neighborhood was supposed to be built up to the edge of the Rhine. However, in the wake of the construction of the port and port railway, the former island was ultimately occupied by port and industrial facilities. This meant the bank of the Rhine was no longer habitable, and housing was only built up to the Altrheinweg.

Visualisation of the Gleispark in Basel ©Nightnurse Images Zürich

After a century of intensive commercial use, structural economic change is freeing up the former Klybeck Island once more, so that it can be redesigned and reused. The first studies and projects considered restoring the course of the Altrhein. Today, this idea has been dropped. An urban development concept dating from 2019 describes the urban expansion now planned along the Rhine: Densely populated urban quarters that are socially mixed and multifunctional will be built on Klybeckquai and Westquai. The Klybeck Quarter will move closer to the Rhine and the side streets will be extended to the river. However, for this to happen, the port railway line has to be fully transferred to the Altrheinweg side.

City structure with plan for Basel Nord ©Department of Public Works and Transport of the Canton of Basel-Stadt/Source: Eine Stadterweiterung am Rhein

The conversion of the current industrial areas into a new, diverse urban area with mixed facilities and generous public open spaces is gradually moving forward.

Cover of Eine Stadterweiterung am Rhein ©Department of Public Works and Transport of the Canton of Basel-Stadt

Intensive planning has been under way for the conversion of the city since 2006. Past plans and new concepts are presented in Eine Stadterweiterung am Rhein: Städtebauliches Konzept für Klybeckquai & Westquai Basel (‘An urban extension on the Rhine: the urban planning concept for Klybeckquai & Westquai in Basel’).

Approximately 2 hectares on Klybeckquai are currently being used on a temporary basis: as a creative space for ideas and projects in the areas of sport, art, culture, business and catering, and a first step towards the development and appropriation of the area by the population.

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