Europe city - Dialogues
IZS Kick-off meeting


European City Dialogue

The "European City Dialogue" enable open discussions about topics in urban development and redevelopments in the Citys of Görlitz and Zgorzelec and even further. Therefore results of current research and practical experiences be presented and discussed and conclusions for the development on- site are made.
The numerous actors of the urban development, as well as all the interested parties, get a forum for discussions concerning the cross- border exchange and active contribution.

The Topics

2/2020 │ Flat too small? Workspace too expensive? Too little open space? Testing the city – first insights

2nd September 2020 │ 5:00 – 7:00 pm │ Oktogon │ Lunitz 9, 02826 Görlitz

From January 2019 to March 2020, interested people had the chance to spend four weeks in the city of Görlitz to test local living and working conditions. Since they were pursuing a location-independent employment, they simply brought their work with them and tried the living and working in Görlitz.

Against a backdrop of demographic change, sustainable urban development means ensuring attractive living and working conditions so that young, well-educated people move to the city and stay there for the long term. The creative economy is believed to have a special potential for urban development. This sector enables people to earn a living and realise their potential while simultaneously enriching urban life and thus, in turn, increasing the attractiveness of smaller cities as well as drawing in and retaining additional younger, well-educated people.

At the European City Dialogue, we will present first findings from the evaluation of workplace conditions through the participants of the project “Testing the City – Living and Working in Görlitz.” We will look at the various fields of activity of the participants and also speak about their experiences with regard to opportunities and challenges for the location Görlitz. Afterwards the project team would like to look back on the project with project partners, former participants and interested people from Görlitz and Zgorzelec. What remains after the project? What experiences were made? Which questions have remained open?

The Event will be translated simultaneously in German and Polish.

The program is also only available in German and Polish.

1/2020 | One city, two centers? Overview of current revitalization measures in Zgorzelec and Görlitz

22 January 2020 | 17:30 - 19:00 | Dom Kultury in Zgorzelec (former Upper Lusatian Memorial Hall) | ul. Parkowa 159-900 Zgorzelec 

Generally, the center is the most diverse and most important area of a city: it is a place for meeting, trade, work, services and culture. Centers play an equally important role for the emotional attachment of the inhabitants as they do for the external image of a city. In metropolises, these central functions can be spread over several quarters - in medium-sized towns, this is rather the exception. 

The European City of Görlitz/Zgorzelec is an exceptional place in this respect, with two sub-cities that – sometimes more, sometimes less – form a functional unit. The question about the center is therefore difficult to answer. On closer inspection, this applies not only to the European City as a whole, but also to Görlitz and Zgorzelec individually. 

With the recently completed redesign of the Post Office Square in Görlitz and the ongoing revitalization work in Bohaterów Getta Street in Zgorzelec, both municipalities are setting accents in the design of public space. The measures are intended to create points of attraction for residents and visitors by increasing their quality of stay. 

During the evening event, representatives of both cities will first present the concepts and objectives of their design measures in more detail. The subsequent discussion will focus on the European City of Görlitz/Zgorzelec as a whole:

  • To what extent will two urban centers be created?
  • What potential might result from two separate places with central functions?
  • Which "bridges" in urban development are possible and perhaps also necessary?

The event will be simultaneously translated into German and Polish.

1/2019 │Testing the City – Potentials of the Creative Econ-omy for Urban Development

20th March 2019│5:00-6:30 pm│Meeting room of KommWohnen Görlitz GmbH, Konsulstraße 65

Against a backdrop of demographic change, sustainable urban development means ensuring attractive living and working conditions so that young, well-educated people move to the city and stay there for the long term. The creative economy is believed to have a special potential for urban development. This sector enables young, well-educated people to earn a living and realise their potential while simultaneously enriching urban life and thus, in turn, increasing the attractiveness of smaller cities as well as drawing in and retaining additional younger, well-educated people. The lack of inexpensive property in conurbations serves to displace creative milieus while also making cities with unconventional rental space and cheaper residential/commercial buildings more attractive for these population groups. Changes in business and working practices, such as the digitalization and heterogenization of lifestyles and professional biographies, enable and require new models of work. The focus is increasingly on mobile or flexible working as well as a better work-life mix.

At the European City Dialogue, we will present the expectations and initial experiences from the project “Testing the City – Living and Working in Görlitz”. The following questions will be discussed:

  • What is the potential of the creative economy for urban development?
  • Which new requirements could the creative economy place on urban development?
  • How can mid-sized cities such as Görlitz become more attractive for the creative economy?

The Event will be translated simultaneously in German and Polish.
The program is also only available in German and Polish.

03/2018│Urban Biodiversity – Benefits for Inhabitants and Nature?

27th November 2018│5:00-6:30 pm│IZS, Gottfried-Kiesow-Platz 1

Urban Biodiversity – Benefits for Inhabitants and Nature?
Cities and towns provide particular conditions for plants and animals on the one hand. On the other hand, urban development also threats their habitats. The “National Biodiversity Strategy” of the German government emphasizes the central role of urban areas for the conservation and the de-velopment of the diversity of habitats and species. In urban areas, nature should not only be pro-tected for its own sake, but particularly regarding its relevance for the quality of life and environ-ment of the urban inhabitants. Clean air, cooling on hot days, working hydrological cycles, outdoor recreation, and nature experience needs biodiversity, also represented by manifold green spaces, diverse plant species, natural areas, and retreats for wildlife animals.

In Görlitz, already manifold green spaces, as parks or allotments, but also natural areas exist. A large number of brownfield sites, for example the area “Brautwiesenbogen”, additionally provide the opportunity to gain growing awareness of the potentials of the diversity of plants, animals, and habitats in urban areas.

  • Which relevance biodiversity has for small and medium-sized cities, particularly Görlitz and Zgorzelec?
  • Which opportunities and challenges do exist for urban and green space planning?
  • How inhabitants can be addressed and integrated?

The Event will be translated simultaneously in German and Polish.

02/2018│Historic Preservation is Urban Development is Historic Preservation

   Speakers and participants in discussions (Photo: S. Hauck/IOER)

10th April 2018 | 5:00-6:30 pm | Jugendherberge Görlitz "Altstadt", Peterstraße 15

In Görlitz, the protection of historical monuments is closely linked to questions of urban development. The city’s rich heritage of listed buildings ensures a unique quality of life as well as securing its supra-regional reputation as an extraordinarily attractive location. This stock of listed buildings is an essential component of the urban structure and is also subject to the demands of future-oriented urban development, for example in the areas of revitalization, urban climate or energy efficiency. Of course, the preservation of the urban fabric always implies some corrective intervention in planning and construction processes.

Görlitz also benefits from numerous initiatives by citizens’ groups and private individuals working to preserve historic buildings. The local council now intends to foster debate regarding the competing demands of urban development and monument protection in order to provide a clearer and more sustainable framework. The core questions of this European City Dialogue are therefore:

  • Which issues around the protection of historic buildings should be given priority, now and in the future, in order to ensure sustainable urban development?
  • Which form of communication is best suited to foster continuous debate on this subject?
  • What role do questions around the protection of historic buildings and traditional structures play for urban development in Zgorzelec? To what extent is the stock of listed buildings a shared unique feature of a joint-European city Görlitz/Zgorzelec?

The Interdisciplinary Centre for Transformative Urban Regeneration (IZS) is conducting this European City Dialogue together with the local authorities of Görlitz. The subsequent discussion will be shaped by impulses provided by Dr. Michael Wieler (Mayor for Culture, Building and Urban Development, Order and Security), Wieland Menzel (Head of the Department of Monument Protection, City of Görlitz) as well as representatives of Zgorzelec City Council and local activists Frank-Ernest Nitzsche and Rayk Grieger.

Please note that this European City Dialogue will be held in the conference hall of the Görlitz-Altstadt Youth Hostel (Petersstraße 15, 02826 Görlitz).

Contact at IZS: Prof. Dr. Robert Knippschild, Sarah Hauck
E-Mail: r.knippschild[...], s.hauck[...]
Tel.: (03581) 792479-0

Contact for the City of Görlitz: Wieland Menzel
E-Mail: w.menzel[...]
Tel.: (03581) 672623
For administrative reasons we require your registration by 3 April 2018. You can register at

Simultaneous translation between German and Polish will be provided.

TV report about European City Dialogue on 10 April 2018 on kulturnet.TV:

1/2018 │Trends in Urban Development and Transformation in Lower Silesia – Implications for the European City of Görlitz/Zgorzelec

16 January 2018 │ 5.00 pm – 6.30 pm │ IZS, Gottfried-Kiesow-Platz 1

In many reports on the socio-economic condition of Poland’s regions, the voivodeship (province) of Lower Silesia is mentioned as an area of dynamic development, sustainable improvement in the quality of life and continued attractiveness for investors. However, this is an overly generalised representation. In reality, Lower Silesia is a region characterised by stark contrasts and spatially differentiated development dynamics in which diverse trends run in parallel.

In recent years there has been a steady decline in the population of 82 of the voivodeship’s 91 towns and cities. Specifically, the largest regional drop in population (over 6%) occurred in the Sudeten towns in the period 2010-2016. The largest increase in the population was observed in the small towns in the agglomeration area around Wrocław.

In the two conurbations around Wrocław and Legnica-Głogów we find changes that can be attributed to an increasing per capita GDP. In both areas there has been a sustained increase in the number of inhabitants with a persistently low unemployment rate. This development is accompanied by challenges such as suburbanisation and growing bottlenecks in transport networks. Opposite trends are observed in the Sudeten, Lusatia and the northern districts of the voivodeship.

One of the biggest challenges for the towns and cities of the Lower Silesian voivodeship is the problem of air pollution, 80% of which is produced in residential areas. This is due to obsolete heating systems, a lack of thermal renovation of buildings, low compactness and poor energy efficiency of the settlement structures.

The challenges for regional development policy resulting from the demographic decline in the small towns of the voivodeship are the loss of their urban functions and the necessity for spatial-functional reorientation.

2/2017 | Urban Transformation in Görlitz- in between revitalization and protection of historical monuments
 Speakers and participants in discussions (Photo: S. Hauck/IOER)

1st June 2017 | 6:00-7:30 pm | IZS, Gottfried-Kiesow-Platz 1

During the last 25 years, more than three-quarters of the valuable protected historical monument buildings in Görlitz have been refurbished. Losses of citizens from more than 25 % have led to substantial vacancies, that can't be compensated, even by the predicted population growth.
In some districts grievances in the urban development and social segregation are still continuing (especially in the buildings from the "Wilhelminian era") and aggravate, because of the influxes into the historical centre.

By using an "urban development- matrix", easily applicable guidelines have been prepared, to create a balance between the housing- and building stock and the protected historic monuments. New tenant clientele and new usages will be attracted by allowing otherwise usages. 
Due to the "Matrix", decisions shall be supported and more transparent, concerning questions like to what extent the structure of buildings can be changed and what kind of usages can be possible in protected historic monuments.

The approach and first experiences with the implementation of the urban development- matrix will be presented by the "European City Dialogue". 
After the presentations, there will be the chance to discuss the possible effects of the urban development- matrix for the further development of the "Europastadt" with representatives of the City, as well as with active participants of the Görlitz urban development.

The Event will be translated simultaneously in German and Polish.



1/2017│residential location European City- results and perspectives

2nd February 2017│6:00-7:30 pm│IZS, Gottfried-Kiesow-Platz 1

The Citys Görlitz and Zgorzelec are facing similar challenges concerning the demographic- and structural economic change. Furthermore, both Citys are associated with their border location. What does that mean for the European City Görlitz/Zgorzelec?As part of the Project "Probewohnen" 200 people have lived for a trial, one-week rental free in the Görlitz "Altstadt" (historical centre)  until the end of October 2016.  The evaluation gives interesting insights into the motivation for moving, residential requirements and experiences during this trial phase. Wohnerfahrungen. Furthermore, the border location plays a surprising role in the assessment of the residential location Görlitz. The results of the evaluation will be displayed.Representatives of the Citys Görlitz and Zgorzelec as well as from the Görlitz housing association are open for discussion with the interested actors  afterwards, about the following questions:

  • which advantages and disadvantages does the location European City have?
  • For which kind of population groups are both Citys and their districts interesting?
  • What kind of perspectives offers a cross-border housing market?
  • Is the historical centre of Görlitz a locational advantage or competition for the development of Zgorzelec?