Wilhelmsplatz in Görlitz (Photo: R. Knippschild, IOER-Media)
The city of Görlitz offers a large and diverse range of living and working space at moderate prices, beautiful surroundings with many cultural attractions, a historic city centre, existing networks of creative industries, an international environment located near to a national border as well as a positive image ("Görliwood", "Germany’s most beautiful city", "European city"). At the same time, it is affected by the repercussions of demographic change as well as a changing economic structures. For these reasons Görlitz is seeking new strategies to ensure long-term stabilisation and revitalisation, especially of the historic centre as well as numerous industrial and commercial wastelands
It is thus representative of the challenges facing numerous medium-sized cities in Germany which, over past years, have suffered massive population loss in the wake of major transformative forces. At the same time large cities and metropolitan regions have – at least since the mid-2000s – attracted an influx of people. Here the effects of congestion are becoming more pronounced: The growing populations of large cities are causing overheated residential and commercial property markets as well as higher traffic loads and increased environmental pollution.
The aim of the project “Testing the City – Living and Working in Görlitz” was to analyse how the potentials of a medium-sized city can be exploited and promoted, thereby pinpointing ways of combating the trends of population loss, higher vacancies and a generally decreasing importance. It is vital to investigate the potential for revitalisation, particularly in medium-sized towns located in the periphery which, however, possess favourable soft location factors. Therefore following research questions were analysed: Under what conditions can the above-mentioned urban trends in Germany lead to a renaissance of medium-sized towns? Which approaches can be taken in national urban development policy to strengthen and exploit this potential?
Within the framework of the project, a free trial period of living and working were offered in the city of Görlitz. The project targeted a group of people who were not tied to a particular location, e.g. those who are freelance and possibly work in the creative industries. The aim was to spark their enthusiasm for the city of Görlitz as a place to live and work. At the same time, the project was able to strengthen existing networks within the city’s creative industries. Interested persons from the above-mentioned target group received a free trial flat and a workplace for a period of four weeks in order to be able to pursue their freelance activities. The accompanying scientific research analysed the wishes and experiences of this target group with a view to derived recommendations for the future development of Görlitz.
The project was funded by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI) / Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) as part of their National Urban Development Policy. The Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER), represented by the Görlitz-based Interdisciplinary Centre for Ecological and Revitalising Urban Transformation (IZS), was implementing the project together with its partners KommWohnen Service GmbH, the Office for Urban Development of the City of Görlitz and the local initiatives KoLABORacja e. V., Kühlhaus e. V. and Wildwuchs e. V. The project was also supported by other local initiatives and networks
The opportunity to apply for the project is over!
The homepage of the city of Görlitz offers interested persons many tips for living and working in the city: https://www.welcome-goerlitz-zgorzelec.com/de/
Interdisciplinary Centre for Ecological and Revitalizing Urban Transformation
Tel.: 03581 7924790
E-Mail: stadtaufprobe @ioer.de