Dortmund, Germany

Population: 600,000


Located in the Ruhr region, Germany’s largest urban area, Dortmund is a former centre for coal mining, steel industry and beer production, and is known for its cultural diversity due to its industrial history. With the last steel mill closing in 2001, Dortmund has become a modern university city with diverse industries ranging from logistics to biomedicine.

Dortmund has partly redeveloped its large brownfield sites - formerly used for industry - into industrial heritage sites, residential areas and green recreational areas. Dortmund has huge natural potential since it is fully surrounded by its green belt – the Emscher park.

The Living Lab: From the Deusenberg to the Huckarde district


Dortmund’s Living Lab area runs along the Emscher river next to the Huckarde district, stretching from the West of the city centre to the former coking plant  Hansa and the former Deusenberg landfill site in the North.

Dortmund - proGIreg


Latest news from Dortmund

Dortmund encourages others to implement nature-based solutions

23 March 2022

ProGIreg Front Runner city Dortmund held an online workshop inviting stakeholders interested in nature-based solutions to learn about the actions taken in proGIreg Living Lab. The municipality together with experts from ICLEI Europe and local associations, gave an overview of the activities undertaken- and lessons learned so far.


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Co-creation with nature in Dortmund

11 August 2021

ProGIreg Front-runner city Dortmund has been active in engaging stakeholders despite the COVID-19 restrictions. Throughout 2021 the Living Lab has consulted different groups on their wishes for the Living Lab, hosted informal meetings with local politicians, engaged potential multipliers in workshops and planned meetings with the municipal department.


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Downtime provides opportunities for innovations – 2021 updates from proGIreg Living Labs

26 July 2021

While the COVID-19 pandemic has still somewhat restricted on site activities in proGIreg living labs in 2021, the proGIreg cities network has continued to gather online in the proGIreg ‘Living Lab Lounges’ to share experiences, knowledge and information to support each other in their nature-based transformation. ProGIreg 'front-runner' cities test, plan and implement nature-based solutions (NbS), and invite proGIreg 'follower cities' to learn about their experiences.


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Dortmund’s citizen-centered approach

22 February 2021

Dortmund us among proGIreg pioneers in implementing nature-based solutions in post-industrial sites. Amidst the ongoing isolation wrought on by the pandemic, the Dortmund Living Lab has not foregone citizen engagement, and is looking ahead to 2021.


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Rooting for regrowth – a look back at proGireg Living Lab's 2020

6 January 2021

The past year was tumultuous to say the least, posing challenges to on-site activities in proGireg Living Labs - however they have taken the challenge as an opportunity to root locally and re-evaluate. Throughout 2020 the Living Lab’s have exchanged experiences, by meeting up regularly in proGireg’s virtual ‘Living Lab Lounges’. Learn about what Turin (Italy), Ningbo (China), Zagreb (Croatia), Cascais (Portugal), Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Dortmund (Germany), Piraeus (Greece) and Zenica (Bosnia and Herzegovina) have been up to in 2020.


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Architecture prize nomination for Dortmund’s sustainable aquaponics centre

22 October 2019

A design proposal, inspired by proGIreg’s future aquaponics community centre in Dortmund, has been nominated for the 29th Euregional Prize for Architecture.  The design, by Luisa Ropelato from RWTH Aachen University, contributes to the circular economy and sustainability of Dortmund’s Living Lab area, both in terms of how the building will be used and how it will be built.


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Chinese study trip to Dortmund brings inspiration back home

15 July 2019

On 21 May 2019 Prof. Yaoyang Xu, Lead Coordinator from proGIreg partner the Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, visited the local project team in Dortmund to exchange ideas and learn about different technologies and approaches, which could be used to implement nature-based solutions in proGIreg front-runner city Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China.


Since Ningbo’s Living Lab surrounds an urban eutrophic lake, Georg Sümer from the City of Dortmund introduced Prof. Yaoyang Xu, proGIreg Coordinator Dr. Axel Timpe, and Yichen Jiang, PhD student from RWTH Aachen University, to Dortmund’s PHOENIX lake, a former industrial steelworks area – turned community hotspot.


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Students present their vision for Dortmund’s future community aquaponics centre

21 March 2019

In October 2018, the landscape architecture Master students from the RWTH University of Aachen were tasked with designing a future community aquaponics centre in Dortmund’s proGIreg Living Lab of Huckarde. Where in Dortmund-Huckarde would an aquaponics centre have the greatest impact? What kinds of recycled or locally-produced materials could be used for the building? What function should this centre fulfil in the local community? On 19 February, after several months of design work, the students presented their proposals.


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From steel plants to garden plants: how Dortmund’s industrial heritage is powering its green future

7 February 2019

Who makes urban space? How do you decide which route to take to work, or where to spend a sunny day? Anyone who has ever stepped off a paved footpath to take a shortcut knows that citizens do not follow an instruction manual. City planning provides an outline of how urban space can be, and the habits and preferences of the people who live there make that space into a home.


The German city of Dortmund is regenerating some of its most critical former industrial spaces and understands the value of including local residents in the process. Dagmar Knappe, City of Dortmund, said, “We think involvement of citizens is important as they know best what is needed in their neighbourhood. Moreover, it leads to more acceptance and a better connectivity with their neighbourhood.”  


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Students scout for ideal location for community aquaponics in Dortmund

31 October 2018

Last week landscape architecture students from the RWTH University of Aachen, joined forces to find the ideal location for the proGIreg community-based aquaponics system in the Dortmund Living Lab.

The vision is to enable residents in the post-industrial area of Huckarde, to produce their own locally-grown vegetables and fish, through aquaponics. Aquaponics is ideal for food production in areas with contaminated or poor quality soil - often the case in post-industrial areas - since it requires no soil; fish waste water provides the nutrients needed to feed the plants in a symbiotic environment.


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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 innovation action programme under grant agreement no. 776528. The sole responsibility for the content of this website lies with the proGIreg project and in no way reflects the views of the European Union.