„Federation of Urban Imagination“ – a trans-European cities exploration begins its journey

Leipzig, August 7, 2014

What happens when city planners, architects, artists, geographers and gardeners from different countries come together to transform non-functional public urban spaces?

From the 1st to 6th of September, under the umbrella of the Federation of Urban Imagination (FUI), actors from different nations will meet in Leipzig with the aim to revitalise public spaces. That will be done integrating creative ideas with individual approaches from the different participants, thus facilitating the association and development of the international exchange. Different perspectives and methods will be brought from the interdisciplinary groups: Participatory Urbanism (Stadtpflanzer e.V., ProstoRož) meets performative space strategies (Mobile Albania, Pneuma Szöv) and strategies of the temporary appropriation of space through artistic and cultural installations (MikroArt). The results of the project will be summarised and published as “best practice” to provide guidelines for future interdisciplinary projects. The network wants also to allow other local actors to make a significant input via participatory approaches to enhance the public space.

„New Huygens space!“ September 1st to 6th

From 1 to 6 September 2014, FUI will be act to revitalise the Huygens space in Leipzig-Möckern area. The space between the old Olympia Theatre and Job Center will be „reinvented“ for a week initiating a long-term recovery. It is planned the construction of an alternative job center in the immediate vicinity of Leipzig’s governmental employment agency. Instead of a long waiting for government support, there will be work opportunities on a reciprocal basis. Further, visitors will be surprised with, amongst others, a mobile kitchen, live radio broadcasts and open-air cinema.

FUI will try to revive an area unused by the residents with its actions. The former functions of the surrounding building will be displayed at their best: dance as the old times in the hotel „Goldener Löwe„, being enchanted as in the red chairs of the Olympic Palace Theatre and drink as it used to be in the old brewery. The reason for the action is simple. In recent decades, the once vibrant Huygens space has become an intersection used exclusively by cars and trams. Hardly any place is left for gathering and socialising. It appears that the residents and visitors do not embrace the transformation done by the city of Leipzig. This project will challenge the local communities with innovative concepts.

The trans-European exchange began in July 2014 in Budapest, where various projects for acquisition and revitalization of public spaces have been successfully carried out in recent years. In a three-day interactive workshop, the group locally tested together the performative methods of Mobile Albania and Pneuma Szöv. and developed their own approaches and concepts. That is the background and preparation that will be implemented in Leipzig in September as the culmination of the project. Further, the experiences and results of this phase of work will be used in Novi Sad for the 12th International MitOst festival to further improve what will be developed in Leipzig in the theme of revival of public places. The experiences and approaches gained in Budapest, Leipzig and Novi Sad will be the backbone that will be needed to revive non-functioning areas in Ljubljana and Belgrade in 2015.

More information at: https://federationofurbanimagination.wordpress.com https://www.facebook.com/pages/Federation-of-Urban-Imagination/

Contact: Anke Schilling (project management)

The project „Federation of Urban Imagination“ is the winner of the competition culture-in-dialog.moe 2014 – eV: a program of the Schering Foundation and the MitOst, Berlin

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