Training School (2.1)

Leipzig | January 2020

Almost a year after the beginning of their programmes, RE-CITY Early Stage Researchers met in Leipzig, Germany for the first winter training school. The event was hosted by Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and consisted of an exciting dynamic programme of lectures and field trips.

The programme began with a scientific workshop on urban resilience, led by Dr. Erik Andersson (Stockholm University). Resilience remained a key topic for the rest of the days of the training school as its multidisciplinary nature and conceptual approaches could become a useful approach to urban challenges nowadays.

Building further on the experience of UFZ in multidisciplinary research, Prof. Dr. habil. Sigrun Kabisch and Prof. Dr. phil. Dieter Rink presented their approach to urban transformations from the standpoint of urban-social-ecological resilience, particularly focused on the challenges of Leipzig. This topic was further developed by the presentations by Dr. Annegret Haase and Dr. Manuel Wolff (Humboldt University Berlin) introducing the interrelations between density, land-use, greening and the nexus between urban shrinkage and regrowth.

Leipzig was at the center of attention for the rest of the lectures in the training school. The changes to the city and its transition from shrinkage to regrowth for the last 15 years were outlined further and complemented by a detailed view on the housing market dynamics – a key driver and indicator for the transformation of the city. The UFZ team presented further findings on their research in Leipzig from the perspective of migration (Dr. Annegret Haase), collaborative planning approaches for greening (Anika Schmidt) and eco-gentrification (Dr. Annegret Haase). Dagmar Haase (Humboldt University Berlin) introduced the concept of ecosystem services and nature-based solutions for the challenges in shrinking cities. Last but not least, Leipzig’s development in comparison to Liverpool, Ostrava and Lodz was presented by Dr. Marco Bontje.

Outside of the conference room, the UFZ team guided the RE-CITY PhD candidates throughout the city. With two fieldtrips to the centre, Leipzig-East and the large housing estate Grünau, the ESRs managed to see for themselves the changes to the city and the challenges that it still faces. The eastern part of the centre with its historic residential buildings is slowly changing but still faces some challenges that require action. The centre of Leipzig offers an interesting perspective on the history of the city where contemporary architecture meets classic and socialist motives. The Grünau estate, home to 40 thousand people, was subject to demolitions, refurbishment and upgrades to become an example of residential area transformation to become the new home for Leipzig’s new residents. The visit in Grünau’s community center allowed for an internal perspective on the dynamics of the area.

No matter the cold days, the RE-CITY ESRs enjoyed the training in Leipzig, managed to exchange ideas in parallel to the programme. In anticipation of the upcoming secondments for the project, the Leipzig visit was also an excellent opportunity for catching up and team building!

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Impressions of the Event

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 813803

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