2011 Foundation Award
The "Lebendige Stadt" Foundation recognizes outstanding concepts:
Hiddenhausen and Ingelheim are "standout cities"
• Special mentions for Calau, Leipzig, Leutkirch and Posen
• 220 entries
• Prize money of 20,000 euros in total
On the evening of Wednesday, November 9, 2011, the "Lebendige Stadt" Foundation presented its Foundation Award carrying a cash prize of 20,000 euros at the Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund in front of around 550 guests. The winners of this year's competition to find the "Standout City" are the municipalities of Hiddenhausen (North Rhine-Westphalia) and Ingelheim am Rhein (Rhineland-Palatinate). The independent expert jury decided to name two winners based on the outstanding concepts they submitted. The original cash sum of 15,000 euros was increased to 20,000 euros and shared by the winners. Special mentions went to Calau (Brandenburg), Leipzig, Leutkirch im Allgäu (Baden-Württemberg) and the city of Poznan in Poland.
"The high level of public participation in many cities is extremely pleasing. When local people take part in these projects, it promotes identification and a feeling of belonging, thereby making their town or city more attractive and vibrant. Despite empty public coffers, the towns that submitted entries for the award have encouraged people to identify with the places they live in and have even created a kind of brand", says Alexander Otto, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the "Lebendige Stadt" Foundation.
In its Europe-wide competition, the "Lebendige Stadt" Foundation was looking for the "Standout City". The award was open to projects and concepts that give cities or municipalities their own unique identity, that engender a high level of identification among local people, that create a feeling of "belonging" or "home" and that even turn these cities or districts into a "brand". 220 cities and municipalities from Germany and abroad submitted entries for the Foundation Award, which was sponsored by the Deutsche Bahn AG rail company.
Winner of the 2011 Foundation Award: Hiddenhausen (North Rhine-Westphalia)
The town of Hiddenhausen in eastern Westphalia has launched the concept "Young Buys Old": it arranges consulting services and subsidizes expert opinions on old buildings as well as the purchase of old buildings. 133 houses have already been renovated in this project, which also helps to avoid the conversion of open spaces into residential areas. This cooperation between the administration and the local people not only preserves the character of the municipality while promoting identification and a feeling of belonging. It also combats the decline in population by encouraging young people to settle in Hiddenhausen. The negative migration balance has now been reversed, and a total of 139 children meanwhile live in the renovated old buildings – and 20 children have been born in the subsidized households.
Winner of the 2011 Foundation Award: Ingelheim am Rhein (Rhineland-Palatinate)
The jury also named the "red wine town" of Ingelheim am Rhein a "Standout City". It is a role model for the striking of a successful balance between building preservation and urban renewal. It was a long time before the medieval imperial palace in Ingelheim rose up again from its forgotten existence. The civic renovation plans were based on the historic building forms from the Middle Ages, and the unique design of the imperial palace was emphasized and rendered visible again. The local people are involved in the planning and decision-making processes that affect their living environments. Today, the imperial palace not only creates a feeling of belonging and raises awareness among the population for the rich history of the site; it is also a tourism "brand", serving as a vibrant museum and research location. The renovation measures have enhanced residential and leisure quality, and have also upgraded the entire quarter.
Special mention: Calau (Brandenburg)
The German word "Kalauer" translates as "play on words". the town of Calau in Lower Lusatia in Brandenburg is believed to be the home of the "Kalauer": Calau's cobblers working on the conveyor belt made up a whole series of jokes that were published as the "Kalauer Jokes" in the mid-19th century. The town has made the "Kalauer" its trademark: twice a year, illegal parked cars are given "Kalauers" instead of parking tickets, and every baby born in Calau receives a bib from the Mayor bearing the words "Ich bin ein Calauer". Important locations in the town centre are linked by a circular "joke route". In celebration of the Calau cobblers, the route is lined with cobbler's apprentices measuring 40 cm in height in amusing poses; there are also plans to erect a life-sized cobbler's apprentice in the town's marketplace. The concept connects the old and the new in an ingenious way - and underscores the "Kalauer" as a trademark of the town.
Special mention: Leutkirch im Allgäu (Baden-Württemberg)
The reception building of the railway station in Leutkirch built in 1889 had been an ugly eyesore since the 1970s. Over 80 percent of the floor area was unused, and the town was unable to fund any renovation measures. A group of committed "People-Station-Ambassadors" set up a peoples' cooperative in which almost 500 local people and companies are working together on an honorary basis - and have paid in a "people's capital" of over 900,000 euros. The acquisition of cooperative shares makes the buyers part-owners of the station, which means they also bear the financial risk. The town has pledged wide-ranging financial support. The leasehold of the station building is now owned by the people's cooperative. Thanks to the commitment of the local people, a historic building in Leutkirch is meanwhile being renovated step by step, and everyone in Leutkirch is looking forward to the opening of the "people's station" in the spring of 2012.
Special mention: Leipzig
Every year, the city of Leipzig stages a light festival to commemorate the "Monday Demonstrations" of October 1989 that marked a key milestone ahead of the opening of the German-German border on November 9, 1989. Since 2007, this light festival has picked up on the themes of freedom, democracy and revolution using artistic light, audio and video installations at historic sites in Leipzig city center. The participants play out the scenes that symbolized the so-called "Peaceful Revolution". Schools and universities stage workshops and projects, while local people organize their own projects and initiatives. Around 40,000 people meanwhile take part in the light festival. The festival ensures an ongoing awareness of the historic days and events surrounding the "Peaceful Revolution"; in particular, it awakens an interest among the younger generation for the heady days of autumn 1989.
Special mention: Poznan
A further special mention went to the Polish city of Poznan. In recent years, the city has made major efforts to revitalize its various districts and renovate historic buildings. The local people have been closely involved through surveys and dialogue events in order to make Poznan an attractive home town. One of the symbols of this revitalization process is the new Cybinski bridge built in 2007, linking the Srodka district with the inner city and therefore bringing it closer to the center. Srodka was long considered a neglected part of the city. Since the bridge was opened, cultural events have raised its profile, and given the area a more vibrant character. In addition, the bridge lends the district a new and distinctive identity. Poznan's application to be named 2016 Cultural Capital is designed to further promote this process of identification.
Special mention: Leutkirch/Allgäu (Baden-Württemberg)
The reception building at Leutkirch Railway Station was built in 1889 but had become a real eyesore since the 1970s, with over 80 percent of the area of the building unused. The local council could not afford to renovate the location, so a group of committed local people calling themselves "Citizen-Station Ambassadors" founded a people's cooperative in which almost 500 local people and companies work together on an honorary basis. They have meanwhile raised capital of more than 900,000 euros. The members of the cooperative have purchased shares, making them co-owners of the station, and they bear the financial risk for the project. The town of Leutkirch has also pledged wide-ranging financial support. The station building has been transferred to the ownership of the people's cooperative on a hereditary lease, and a historic landmark in Leutkirch is now gradually being restored and renovated through the efforts of its members. The population of the town are already looking forward to the official opening of the "People's Station" in spring 2012.