Convention– Future Formats for the Region
The way we live and work and the way we move and supply ourselves are largely dictated by the need to protect our climate. These requirements pose enormous challenges to regions and municipalities – who have already initiated the necessary change all over Europe and around the globe by developing solutions that are often unconventional and set an example for sustainable city planning.
The Ruhr Metropolis and the City of Essen have been leading the way in these efforts for years now and are currently living in the “Green Decade”: The development of the entire region has already been shaped by the Emscher Park International Building Exhibition, the Emscher conversion project, the European Capital of Culture RUHR.2010, the Innovation City process and the 2017 project year European Green Capital of Essen. But, these projects are far from signalling the end of the forward-looking planning the City of Essen is undertaking to transfigure itself into a polycentric and sustainable Ruhr metropolis!
The convention FUTURE FORMATS FOR THE REGION provides the appropriate platform for an international exchange between experts, decision-makers and citizens. It is based on the realisation that shaping cities of the future that offer high quality of life and sustainability requires constant reflection and optimisation of all steps involved. The goal is to learn from each other – across borders and across topics. Wide acceptance of the measures is not possible without democratic participation.
Discuss, ask questions and listen: In March 2022, the third event in an established series of congresses, that emerged from the format European Green Capital, already took place. The convention had a hybrid format for the first time. It was possible to attend in person on site as well as online – naturally, in real time and in interactive fashion. All contributions were translated simultaneously into English or German.
Highlights of our schedule
A large variety of local, regional and global participants from the realms of politics, business, science and culture discussed contemporary issues, highlighted innovative projects and illustrated perspectives of change.
We took the evening of March 21, 2022 as an opportunity to follow up on the RUHR TALKS and join with you and our speakers in discussing the question: “How do we talk about the future?” On that evening, we used examples taken from the research project “Scripts for Postindustrial Urban Futures”, conducted by Duisburg-Essen University, and from the poetry slammer Christofer with “f” to talk with you about events relating to the future of the region as viewed by researchers and artists.
On Tuesday, December 7, 2021, we started with a warm welcome by Thomas Kufen (Mayor of the City of Essen), Ursula Heinen-Essen (Minister for the Environment, Agriculture, Nature and Consumer Protection for the State of North Rhine-Westphalia), and Professor Dr. Hans-Peter Noll (Chairman of the Zollverein Foundation) and an introduction to the following lectures and discussions.
Svenja Noltemeyer (Die Urbanisten e.V.), Alexis Schäfer and Stefan Kürten (Rhine-Ruhr 2025 FISU Games gGmbH), Daniel Codello (Cultural Capital Esch 2022) and Professor Dr.-Ing. Manfred Fischedick (Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy) discussed about “Forces of Transformation”.
To add a regional perspective, we asked Horst Fischer (IGA Ruhr Metropolis 2027), Alisa Schuler (Greentech. Ruhr/ Business Metropole Ruhr GmbH), Peter Köddermann (Baukultur Nordrhein-Westfalen e.V.) and Melanie Kemner (lala.ruhr) in the second part of the day to present formats that have already proven successful in the region.
The question we wanted to pursue in the third part of the day was how cities worldwide manage to master today’s challenges. Hosted by Dr. Lars Grotewold of the Mercator Foundation, the discussion has been joined by our sister city of Grenoble and by the cities of Glasgow, as the site of the COP 26 summit, and Pittsburgh, in their capacity as partner of the Urban Transition Alliance. Last, but not least, Professor Dr. Jens Martin Gurr of the University Alliance Ruhr shedded light on the transatlantic transfer of municipal development concepts.