Local citizens key to successful urban regeneration
10 October 2018
"If an administration would like to be successful, it needs to work with civil society; the people who live in a quarter are the experts of that quarter". With these words of wisdom Lord Mayor of Dortmund Ullrich Sierau welcomed the proGIreg project to his city.
Dortmund hosted the proGIreg kick-off conference on 25 and 26 Sept, 2018. The 5-year EU Horizon-2020-funded project aims to build collaboration between cities across Europe and in China, which are developing nature-based solutions together with local citizens, civil society, research institutions, local governments and the private sector, to improve the health and well-being of people living in post-industrial areas.
The conference, which was open to the public as well as internal partners, was made up of plenary presentations and panel discussions on nature-based solutions, their replication, scaling-up and business models. The participant cities of Dortmund, Turin (Italy), Zagreb (Croatia), Zenica (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Cascais (Portugal), Piraeus (Greece) and Cluj-Napoca (Romania) also presented their Living Labs, the post-industrials areas of their cities, which are being regenerated through nature-based solutions, in a dynamic market place format. Field visits to the local industrial heritage site, the Hansa coking plant, and to the PHOENIX See, Dortmund’s famous industrial site-turned community lake, gave participants inspiration for their own up-coming urban regeneration plans.
Citizen participation was a key theme throughout the conference. Project coordinator Axel Timpe of University RWTH Aachen invited stakeholders from Dortmund to get involved in the project, whether by becoming involved in Living Lab co-design, implementing nature-based solutions or by creating business plans based on proGIreg models.