Daria Martin, Schering Stiftung Projektraum

 

“Federation of Urban Imagination” Occupies Huygensplatz in Leipzig

18.08.2014, Leipzig | What happens when city planners, architects, artists, geographers, and gardeners join forces to solve problems in the urban context? This will be tested in September 2014 by the intercultural project group “Federation of Urban Imagination” on the Huygensplatz in Leipzig. For a week, actors from Hungary, Slovenia, Serbia, and Germany will “reinvent” the urban square between the former Olympia Palast movie theater and the job center and thus initiate its long-term revitalization.

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From September 1 to 6, 2014, the “Federation of Urban Imagination” will implement its ideas for revitalizing the Huygensplatz in Leipzig-Möckern. Plans include the erection of an alternative job center in the immediate vicinity of the Leipzig employment agency; instead of long waiting times for government support, the alternative job center offers work on demand, though of course on a reciprocal basis. In addition, visitors will be able to enjoy a mobile kitchen, live radio broadcasts, and an open air cinema, culminating in the “Night of Art” in the Georg-Schumann-Straße on September 6, 2014. On October 1–5, the project concept will be further developed as part of the 12th International MitOst Festival in Novi Sad, Serbia.

“With this week-long program, we try to revitalize an area that is barely used by the residents,” says Dirk Zinner from Leipziger Stadtpflanzer e.V. “To this end, we will transfer the functions of the surrounding buildings onto the square.” So there will be dancing like in the old times at the “Goldener Löwe” Hotel, people can be enchanted by movies like they used to be in the red chairs of the Olympia Palast theater, and drink like in the former brewery.

The reason for this intervention is simple: During the last decades, the once pulsating Huygensplatz has deteriorated into an intersection used exclusively by cars and trams. There were hardly any places left for people to sit down, take a break or socialize. Thanks to the city’s efforts, the renovation of the square was finished in 2013 – there are new seating areas, as well as a weekly market. It appears, however, that the residents and pedestrians do not embrace the new open space; hardly anybody pauses or hangs out on the square.

This is what the project group wants to change with the aid of innovative concepts and participatory projects. The public is warmly invited to participate and breathe new life into a gem of the Georg-Schumann-Straße!

The project group “Federation of Urban Imagination” is the winner of the “Culture in Dialogue” competition, which in 2014 has been held for the 7th time by the Ernst Schering Foundation in cooperation with MitOst e.V. The competition supports cultural projects that promote the long-term relations between neighboring countries and/or in border regions of Eastern, Central, and Southeastern Europe.

For more information, please contact the Ernst Schering Foundation at ++49 (0)30-20 62 29 60 or visit
http://federationofurbanimagination.wordpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Federation-of-Urban-Imagination/


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