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The IZS is orientating its research on the knowledge requirements of the practical field.  With the embedding into a theoretical and methodical frame, those requirements become research issues and research projects with a regional, national and continental scope.

[Translate to Englisch:] Skizze Haus, schwarz
[Translate to Englisch:] Skizze vom Umbau des Hauses in schwarz mit roten Änderungen
[Translate to Englisch:] Skizze von Haus in schwarz, Skitte der Gestaltung des Freiraums zwischen den Häusern in rot,

(source: Stadt Görlitz)

Testing the City of the Future A living and working experiment for a climate neutral city of Görlitz

Logo IOER          Logo IZS english     LOG NSP

The city of Görlitz is the easternmost city in Germany, located directly at the Polish border. It is known above all for its large historical building stock with around 4,000 individual monuments. Nevertheless, the city is affected by demographic change as well as by the changing economic structures in the region of Lusatia. Due to a negative natural population trend, the city is dependent on immigration to ensure a long-term stabilization of the population - like many other peripheral medium-sized cities. This is the background against which the city of Görlitz tries to preserve its historic building stock and to maintain attractive public infrastructures as well as a skilled workforce and a lively and committed urban society, all of which can be regarded as foundations for sustainable urban development.

The aspired transformation to a climate-neutral city by 2030 requires professional expertise, and consciously sustainable ways of living and working. The project "Testing the City of the Future - a living and working experiment for a climate-neutral city of Görlitz" aims to draw attention to Görlitz as a place to live and work and at the same time identify the opportunities of a targeted influx for the implementation of sustainable urban development. The project is embedded in the current initiative "European City of Görlitz/Zgorzelec 2030 - City of the Future". The aim is to gain insights into the location requirements and perspectives of qualified workers. What makes them settle in certain places and specifically in Görlitz? And what possibly prevents them from taking the step to Görlitz or to another small or medium-sized town? The current project focuses on sustainable ways of living and working.

The project offers three-month stays to potential newcomers, which will be offered an apartment in the city free of charge during that period. This is scientifically accompanied. The participants use their stay to deal with the topic of sustainable urban development as part of their work and to bring their knowledge to the city. Various working models are planned for this purpose: internships in companies, academic guest stays, start-up activities and even stays by freelance artists. The accompanying research covers both the impressions of the newcomers and the actions taken by the hosting local community.

The project is 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 Interdisciplinary Centre for Ecological and Revitalising Urban Transformation (IZS), is implementing the project together with local institutions from business, science and civil society.

Project Website: http://stadt-der-zukunft-auf-probe.ioer.eu/

Logo kommwohnen in Goerlitz                      Logo Stadt Görlitz                           Logo EGZ

Lausitz Project - Scientific support of the transformation process in Lusatia Region

Problem background
As part of the transition to renewable energies to counter global warming, Germany intends to achieve its climate policy goals by reducing the country’s share of global CO2 emissions. For Lusatia, a region with decades of experience in the extraction and use of lignite, this means that extraction activities and power generation using lignite will be phased out in the foreseeable future, leading to a range of repercussions. Thereby, the region will once again face the challenge of wide-ranging socio-economic, ecological and cultural change at a structural level. Yet alongside these numerous difficulties, Lusatia also has an opportunity to realize a comprehensive process of transformation towards sustainable lifestyles and economic forms.

Goal | Research question
The aim of the project implemented by the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development is to identify and promote the potential for transformation in Lusatia on the basis of the institute’s many years of experience in studying sustainable transformation and processes of structural change in cities as well as post-mining and former industrial regions. The project’s main research focus is thus to determine which stepping stones already exist to foster a smaller-scale, diversified and more attractive economic and social structure as well as to ensure the region’s sustainable and environmentally-friendly development. Further, the project will investigate those paths which seems feasible for further development, testing and implementation. In addition to existing knowledge and local initiatives, external expertise from business and science will be integrated in order to take account of the national as well as international perspective. 

Based on this research focus, we can derive the following questions to guide the project work: 

  • Which ideas or visions can help support a transformation process in Lusatia (also socio-political in nature) geared towards sustainability?

  • How can these ideas (discursive/political/procedural, etc.) serve to steer action in the course of structural change?

  • How are such processes of regional development managed both politically and socially from a governance perspective, and what are the likely changes to these control mechanisms against the background of the investigated challenges?

Approach | Methodology
The project approach will obey the guiding principle of the IOER, namely to undertake applied research for the benefit of the region and to transfer the knowledge gained back into social practice. This means taking into account the existing contradictions and conflicting goals in the various ideas of the local Lusatian population as to how the region should develop as well as to consciously consider and reflect this regional heterogeneity in the research work. With regard to the practical approach to research, the work programme is divided into three steps:

  • (1) Identification of regional/local innovations, ideas and strategies for sustainable development in Lusatia.

  • (2) Reflection, testing and refinement of these ideas by integrating local initiatives and external expertise.

  • (3) Transferal of findings into political decision-making bodies at federal, state and municipal level.

In the initial phase, the project work concentrated on the gathering of regional ideas based on participant observations, surveys/interviews and media or expert opinion analyses. The aim was to obtain a precise picture of the Lusatian landscape of actors and their ideas. The empirical and conceptual preliminary work on the differentiation of research design, explanatory model and hypotheses was completed in 2019. This will be followed by reflection and testing in case studies, with more in-depth research and the establishment of thematic and spatially limited experimental fields. In addition, demand-oriented expert groups and national and international experience with structural change processes beyond Lusatia are integrated into the project work. Parallel to the research process, the knowledge gained is fed into political decision-making processes.

A central task of the research project in 2019 was to accompany the process to develop a strategic vision for the region, which is being carried out by the Zukunftswerkstatt Lausitz (ZWL) until the end of 2020. The strategies and procedures for creating the development strategy and the integrated citizen participation process were scientifically reflected upon, and recognisable needs and requirements for process design were brought into the discussion with regional actors as a guideline. 

The development of a proposal for a governance structure for the region was also comparatively complex. The elaboration of the proposal was led by numerous discussions with representatives of the states of Saxony and Brandenburg as well as the local authorities. The proposal was examined within the framework of the project approach of applied scientific policy advice, was intensively reflected upon by the practitioners at all levels involved and revised in accordance with the partly changed political framework conditions. 

To integrate and network external and regional expertise, a network meeting of social and cultural science research and an expert colloquium were held in October 2019. At both events, research approaches to structural change, the role of networking between science and practice, and the question of what expectations are placed on a process of developing guiding principles for Lusatia were discussed. The colloquium presented the research approach of the IOER and to discuss it with scientists and regional practitioners. The debate on the structural change process in the region was enriched by two external input lectures (Dr. Lea Fünfschilling, University of Lund, Sweden and Dr. Philipp Späth, Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg). 

On the basis of these impulses and suggestions, the project team expanded the focus to include the analysis of planning instruments such as spatial images, regional designs and cooperative competitions in the strategic regional development. A further aspect is the comparative analysis of the role of mission statements in shaping transformation processes in European regions. The conceptual preparatory work for this work package was also completed in 2019.

Cooperation

The project, which will run from Oct 2018 to Sep 2021, is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The project work is designed in cooperation with the Zukunftswerkstatt Lausitz (ZWL) and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam, whereby each of the cooperation partners designs, carries out and is responsible for its own research work in close cooperation with the other partners.

Contact persons
Prof. Dr. Robert Knippschild (r.knippschild[...]ioer.de)
Dr. Sebastian Heer (s.heer[...]ioer.de)
Dr. Antje Matern (a.matern[...]ioer.de)   

REVIVAL! – The revitalization of historic towns in Lower Silesia and Saxony

Current situation
Southwestern Poland and Eastern Saxony contain a multitude of small and medium-sized towns of special architectural value. At the same time, these towns are particularly affected by demographic and socio-economic change. New construction is often located on the urban outskirts, while historic town centers are losing many of their traditional forms of use despite enormous success in modernizing infrastructure and existing buildings. Vacant residential and commercial buildings pose a threat to the historic fabric, while also leading to a loss of important urban functions traditionally provided by the town center as a place of culture and trade as well as a vital meeting-point. In view of the increasing relevance of soft location factors (e.g. recreational value, range of cultural activities, image) in encouraging new residents as well as businesses to settle, these two factors are threatening to reduce the attractiveness of towns and aggravate the disadvantages of these regional centers. However, the increasing pressures afflicting the conurbations of Wrocław and Dresden (e.g. a lack of affordable housing, rising environmental and traffic problems) represent an opportunity for the small and medium-sized towns of this German-Polish border region, and are fostering a renewed interest in such towns. In particular, the historic small and medium-sized towns in the target area have all the necessary prerequisites for a renaissance: With attractive buildings and compact historic urban structures in the urban core, they offer ideal framework conditions for structural and social revitalization at a time of increased European-wide processes of (re)urbanization.

Project objective

People on a guided city tour, view of the board with information on the renovation of the old town in Görlitz
Guided walk of all project partners in Görlitz in December 2018
(Photo: IZS Görlitz)

Towns in this border region show similar potentials and challenges in terms of their historical development, their urban structures, demographic and socio-economic development, traditions of building and tourism potentials, but also regarding their structural weaknesses in the local economy and the threat of functional loss. The aim of the project “REVIVAL! – The revitalization of historic towns in Lower Silesia and Saxony” was to overcome these challenges and make better use of the development opportunities of small and medium-sized towns by preserving their cultural heritage and enhancing the town centers. In addition to revitalizing and strengthening the inner cities, the project thus pursued the objectives of developing and protecting cultural heritage and improving the quality of life in Lower Silesia and Saxony.

Project measures
An action day entitled “Lebendige Innenstadt” (“Lively Town Centre”) in all of the project’s ten partner towns on the German and Polish sides of the river Neisse was organized to enliven the historic centers, raise awareness of the issues as well as identify new development perspectives. Ten pilot measures, planned and implemented by each town individually and adapted to its needs, are intended to preserve, develop and improve the accessibility of the cultural heritage, increase the sensitivity of the local population to this heritage and make it attractive for tourists. A traveling exhibition showed the history and current potential of the city centers as well as the revitalization successes already achieved. After the end of the project, the traveling exhibition can also be experienced in virtual space, as not only the historic centers of the partner town can be experienced with the help of a 3D application, but also the exhibition as part of the interactive project video. In addition, a student autumn school in September 2019 brought new and creative ideas to the region.

Research questions and methodology
In the project "REVIVAL! - Revitalization of Historic Towns in Lower Silesia and Saxony", approaches to revitalizing historic town centers were tested in practice. In addition, the project examined existing methodological and theoretical approaches to assessing the quality of life in peripherally located historic small and medium-sized towns. In particular, the contribution of cultural heritage was examined. The result is an outlook for an alternative survey methodology of quality of life in this type of town. In addition, analyses of the current contribution of cultural heritage to quality of life were conducted in all ten partner towns. Finally, based on these surveys, strategic recommendations were formulated to help improve leveraging the potential of cultural heritage for quality of life. In addition to ten municipal strategies, a regional strategy was also developed for the entire assisted area.

Log Interreg_Poland-Saxony_ENThe project with a budget of 1 032 906 Euro was funded by 85% from the European Regional Development Fund within the framework of the EU cooperation programme INTERREG Poland – Saxony 2014-2020.

The Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER), represented by the Görlitz-based Interdisciplinary Centre for Ecological and Revitalizing Urban Redevelopment (IZS), was the project’s lead partner. The scientific partners include the TU Dresden (IHI Zittau), also represented by the IZS in Görlitz, and the Voivodeship of Lower Silesia, represented by the Instytut Rozwoju Terytorialnego (IRT) in Wrocław. Four German towns were involved in the project, namely Bautzen, Görlitz (represented by the Europastadt Görlitz/Zgorzelec GmbH), Reichenbach and Zittau, along with six Polish six towns and municipalities, namely Bolesławiec, Gryfów Śląski, Kamienna Góra, Lubawka, Lubomierz and Żary.

Team
Group photo of the project partners (Photo: IZS)

Project duration: October 2018 – December 2020

Further information on the German-Polish project website: http://revival.ioer.eu/

Testing the City – Living and Working in Görlitz

https://izs-goerlitz.ioer.de/fileadmin/Bilder/projekte/IMG_0150.JPG
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!

Futher information is available here: stadt-auf-probe.ioer.eu

       

Project duration: July 2018 to Dec 2020

Transition towards urban sustainability through socially integrative cities in the EU and in China (TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA)

Problem
One of the greatest challenges facing Chinese urbanisation is how to best design and turn cities into socially integrative and sustainable environments. Good practices and methods from Europe in terms of social inclusiveness, cultural dynamics and economic viability have proven to be very significant to China, but Chinese cities need new insights to implement, scale up and transfer these practices in their own operational realities. This can also pro-duce positive learning effects on the European side, and will influence the European research agenda on sustainable urbanisation.

Objective
The key objective of TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA is to help policy makers, urban authorities, real estate developers, public service providers and citizens in China to create socially integrative cities in an environmentally friendly and financially viable way. Moreover, it will help urban stakeholders in Europe to reflect and eventually reconsider their approaches towards sustainable urbanisation.

IOER is coordinating work package 3, which is aiming at strengthening urban renewal, complementing strategies for urban expansion, and improving related land banking and management systems. The focus of IOER will be on issues of socially integrative urban renewal.

Research Questions 
The task of IOER is addressing the question, to what extent and how urban planning and land management are conducive to socially integrative urban renewal in Chinese cities and which recommendations can be derived for future urban renewal.

Methods
Based on a comparative analysis of political strategies and experiences of urban renewal in Europe and China a systematic knowledge will be developed. Practice examples from Europe and China will be analysed with regard to appropriate planning approaches to support socially integrative urban renewal. Recommendations to implement and adapt relevant instruments will be tested Urban Living Labs located in Chinese cities. 

Results
A first result is a systematic overview about the state of the art regarding the framework, strategies and challenges of urban renewal in Europe and China. Finally, recommendations for urban planning and land management of urban renewal in Chinese cities, but also repercussions for Europe will be elaborated, to support transition towards socially integrative cities in China. The findings will be published in publically available reports, policy briefs, an online compendium, and a book.  

Contact 
Dr.-Ing. Stefanie Rößler
http://transurbaneuchina.eu

Cooperation
- Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER) (Coordinator 01/2018-06/2019)
- Technische Universität Dresden (Dresden University of Technology, TUD) (Coordinator 07/2019-12/2020)
- Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT)
- China Academy of Urban Planning and Design (CAUPD); a sub-institute of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development
- Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Re-sources Research (CAS)
- Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development Ministry of Science and Technology (CASTED)
- China Center for Urban Development (CCUD)
- China Intelligent Urbanisation Co-Creation Centre for High Density Regions at Tongji University (CIUC)
- European city organization EUROCITIES (EUROCITIES)
- The Israeli Smart Cities Institute (ISCI)
- Institute of Studies for the Integration of Systems (ISINNOVA)
- Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
- Politecnico di Torino (POLITO) and Università di Macerata (UNIMC)
- School of Architecture, Tsinghua University (TSINGHUA)

Duration
01/20180-012/2020

Funding
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 770141. 

StadtumMig - From urban restructuring quarters to immigration neighbourhoods? New perspectives for peripheral industrial housing estates; Part: Planning and Infrastructure

Stadtumbau in Halle-Neustadt.jpg
Halle-Neustadt - New perspectives for peripheral
industrial housing estates (Photo: S. Rößler)

Problem
During the past 15 years, nearly all municipalities in Eastern Germany conducted urban restructuring mainly in industrial prefabricated housing estates, in terms of adapting the housing stock and the infrastructure to a decreasing population. This resulted in quarters at the fringe of these cities, where flats and infrastructure facilities and amenities have been demolished and reduced. In view of immigration of refugees, new perspectives for the development of these areas are revealing. Particularly in the former areas of urban restructuring, relevant in-migration can be observed. Thus, both the general population, but also the ratio of migrants is growing in short time. Following, new demands for the supply of residential housing, the provision of infrastructure and green spaces as well new requirements for the integration and participation of the new inhabitants occur. Parallel, also ecological needs, as climate mitigation and adaptation, resource efficiency, biodiversity or environmental justice should be increasingly addressed in urban development. Thus, affected municipalities face the challenge to develop feasible and sustainable urban development strategies and measures for these neighbourhoods.

Objectives
The project investigates potentials and problems connected to the immigration of refugees into former urban restructuring areas. The research aims at the potentials and obstacles for sustainable urban development, resulting from these processes.

Within the project part, conducted by IOER, the urban and green space planning framework and the status of housing stock, open and green spaces and the infrastructure facilities and amenities will be analyzed in selected neighbourhoods in the cities of Schwerin, Halle/Saale and Cottbus.

Based on this analysis and the results of surveys and participatory processes being conducted in the other project parts, the potentials for adaptation will be evaluated. Recommendations for sustainable urban development will be formulated both specifically for the case cities and generally for cities facing similar challenges.

Research Questions
Which physical perspectives do former urban restructuring quarters have in the context of changing demands?

Which measures are necessary to adapt the housing stock, the infrastructure facilities and the green spaces to the changing demands and to contribute to sustainable urban development?

Methods
The situation of housing stock, infrastructure facilities and green spaces is analysed based on geographical and statistical data, plans, documents, and site-visits. The urban and green space development framework is evaluated by document analysis and expert interviews. Additionally, findings of the socio-scientific surveys and experiences from the participatory elements will be reflected in the recommendations.

Planned Results
The project aims to develop strategies for the integration of refugees on a neighbourhood scale and recommendations for a sustainable urban development, which are both scientifically grounded and practically oriented.  

Practice directly can benefit from the project and its results, as the scientific findings will be reflected with local stakeholders and tailored recommendations for the focused cities and neighbourhoods will be developed. 

Beyond that, findings from the project will be introduced in the international scientific debate of sustainability transition. Additionally, also the national field of urban restructuring and urban regeneration will be addressed.

Duration
05/2019-04/2022

Contact
Dr.-Ing Stefanie Rößler
Phone +49 351 4679 268
S.Roessler[...]ioer.de 

Dr.-Ing Katja Friedrich
Phone +49 351 4679 297
K.Friedrich[...]ioer.de 

Funding
The project "StadtumMig" is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

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