The third ReNewTown partnership meeting in Karlsruhe

2012-02-15

The technical meeting “Regeneration through bonding: the role of new urban governance” was held on 1-2 February 2012. It was organised by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (PP4). The idea of ReNewTown technical meetings is to transfer expert knowledge on urban regeneration issues from different countries within the partnership by inviting local and national experts from the host country. This time the selected topic concentrated on citizens engagement in the context of four pilot actions implemented in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Day one was divided into two parts. The morning session was the opportunity to meet German experts from Berlin and Leipzig. The discussed topics concentrated on urban restructuring programmes in East and West Germany as well as quantitative and qualitative dimension of shrinkage of European cities. Prof. Dr. Sigrun Kabisch from Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ stressed that shrinkage of the cities may be seen as a new urban pathway not only as a problem. It opens new possibilities in the context of new green spaces creation and more diverse housing. Mrs Cornelia Cremer from UrbanPlan GmbH presented several case studies on residents engagement and participation in the transfer of responsibility for public spaces in Berlin housing estates: Intercultural garden in Marzhan Nord, Neighbourhood park (kids park) in Marzhan, Peter-Weiss-Bibliothek in Hellersdorf, Beach bar in Schwedt. Dr Matthias Bernt shared his experiences from urban regeneration projects in East Germany with special focus on how to attract citizens’ interest and what should be avoided.

The afternoon session was conducted by dr Ian Cooper from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. It was a group discussion between members of pilot actions with expert speakers of the lessons to be learnt about stakeholder engagement and governance in ReNewTown investments.

Day two was a study visit to Mika Project in Karlsruhe. It is a community oriented housing project that started in 1997 and the first tenants moved in 1988. The Mika cooperative consists of 8 independent house groups, the apartments vary from 50-200 m2 and are located just 2,5 km from the city centre. The houses were built in 1938 as military base and up till 1995 served as US military facility. Mika Project was also presented in broader context of urban development of Northern Quarter  in Karlsruhe. The projects like MIKA are popular in Germany. The cooperatives are not interested in making any profit but the idea relies on social integration of people with stable and low income, affordable, barrier free and energy efficient housing.

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