Review: The Ruhr Region Rocks!

Published November 2019
Location Essen

What an inspiring and rich CITYMAKERS night on Monday November 18th in Essen at the Impact Hub Ruhr! Together with our local partner Sebastian Schlecht, project manager at Green City Essen and CITYMAKERS-fellow, we realized the first CITYMAKERS-Ruhr networking evening.

The purpose of the event this time: networking and finding if there is a collective potential and interest for jointly solving challenges for sustainable cities across Europe and China in the Ruhr Region. And there definitely is!

So, what’s next? The obvious question in the air: How can we now turn this collective intelligence into collective action? What concrete synergies could be tapped for more impact together? What could be topical foci or joint projects to work on?

We will definitely continue cultivating the field in the Ruhr-Region, and identify what we can grow on this further concretely. Stay tuned!

See the list of diverse and knowledgeable contributors below, as well as some key findings from the event.

Themed around the topic of landscape “as the ultimate bedrock of urban quality of life and resilience” 35 inspiring, committed and experienced peers came together – from professors to students, doers to thinkers – sharing their intelligence from local bottom-up city making to global Asia-Europe knowledge transfer.

Key insights gained

  • Changing perspective starts with exchanging!
  • Nature is the old and the new ultimate “lens” for creating sustainable living spaces!
  • From urbanity to urban-rurality a new paradigm shift, or ”think landscape!”
  • We need to move from the era of “building” to an era of “cultivating”!
  • Stories and research on stories of cities are catalysers enabling new opportunity spaces for new futures to happen!
  • Understanding the social and cultural context is key!
  • Cities should strengthen their sub-cultural activities!
  • Co-Creation with citizens is needed!
  • Do not forget and start with kids!
  • Be aware: Are we meaning the same when we say the same?
  • Interdisciplinarity and eco-system thinking needs a common language!
  • We need more green urban structures connecting people and their environment in cities globally!
  • Co-creating sustainable urban landscapes with “living labs” are a good concrete participatory tool.
©Jochen Tack
©Jochen Tack
©Jochen Tack
©Jochen Tack
©Jochen Tack

Thanks once again to all 35 participants from more than 8 cities in the Ruhr Area and beyond – Essen, Dortmund, Bochum, Dinslaken, Bonn, Köln, Stuttgart, Berlin and to the 16 inspiring speakers:

Andreas Kipar · Founder and Creative Director of LAND

Chih-Wei G.V.Chang · Director of GRAVITYPRAXIS, landscape architect and environmental consultant

Prof. Jens Martin Gurr · Professor of British and Anglophone Literature and Culture at University of Duisburg-Essen, initiator and speaker of the Competence Field Metropolitan Research in the University Alliance Ruhr

Steffen Budweg · Researcher and project manager in the Interactive Systems group in the Department of Computer Science and Applied Cognitive Sciences at the University of Duisburg-Essen

Prof. Barbara Buchenau · Chair of North American Cultural Studies as well as Vice-Rector for Social Responsibility, Diversity and International Affairs at the University Duisburg-Essen

Keru Feng · PhD candidate in ARUS – advance research in urban systems – at the University of Duisburg-Essen

Rebecca Wessinghage · Coordinating the Urban Transitions Alliance of industrial legacy cities at the ICLEI World Secretariat in Bonn

Veronika Klimmer · Project Connective Cities at GIZ in Bonn: International Community of Practice for Sustainable Urban Development

Prof. Dr.-Ing. J. Alexander Schmidt · former Head of the Institute of City Planning and Urban Design and Professor Design School DeTao Master Academy in Shanghai

Dr. Ilka Mecklenbrauck · Chair of Urban Planning at the Faculty of Spatial Planning at the TU Dortmund

Luisa Keinprecht · Project manager at CONSTELLATIONS International / CITYMAKERS China-Europe

Sebastian Schlecht · Project manager at Green City Essen and active member of Jugend Architektur Stadt (JAS e.V.) 

Annette Bathen · Core team at Die Urbanisten 

Alexandra Kessler · Project manager at the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP)

Markus Pließnig · Head of Communication and International affairs for city and location marketing at EWG – Essener Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft mbH 

Yiqian Zhang · Sustainable Mobility Officer at ICLEI World Secretariat Bonn

Ulrike Tenz · Co-founder of Impact Hub Ruhr

Andreas Kipar ©Jochen Tack
Chih-Wei G.V. Chang ©Jochen Tack
Prof. Jens Martin Gurr ©Jochen Tack
Steffen Budweg ©Jochen Tack
Prof. Barbara Buchenau ©Jochen Tack
Keru Feng ©Jochen Tack
Rebecca Wessinghage ©Jochen Tack
Veronika Klimmer ©Jochen Tack
Ulrike Tenz © Jochen Tack

“A lot of very good input!”

“5 minutes input + 20 minutes networking: efficient and great!”

“This was a good start for professional exchange – what a potential!”

“Great, great inspirations!”

“The Ruhr/Region and NRW is a well connected “hub”!”

Prof. Alexander Schmidt ©Jochen Tack
Dr. Ilka Mecklenbrauck ©Jochen Tack
Luisa Keinprecht ©Jochen Tack
Sebastian Schlecht
Annette Bathen ©Jochen Tack
Alexandra Kessler ©Jochen Tack
Markus Pließnig ©Jochen Tack
Yiqian Zhang ©Jochen Tack