CGE goes Freiraumgalerie during the World Commons Week

Last Saturday CGE was invited to get to know Freiraumgalerie’s work. This collective has been revitalising Halle through public art, urban planning and local participation. In the Freiimfelder neighbourhood their work has gone from wall painting to common area construction. To share their experience and inspire others, they invited CGE Erfurt e.V. for a visit during the World Commons Week.

“What started as a kitchen meeting, forming a big community of volunteers and creatives, developed into friendships, networks and a professional collective for urban development. Ever since, our work involves public art, urban planning, participation and urban education. We are committed to a creative design of space and combine knowledge of different disciplines – urban planning, education, culture and media studies or ethnology. We are therefore able to find unconventional solutions and realize integral concepts.”

— this is how Freireaumgalerie describes their work on their website and once you get there everything feels as amazing as it sounds!

What started as a project to tackle the desertification of the emptiest neighbourhood of the emptiest city in Germany, Halle Freiimfelder, is today a collective with work to present: from walls to parks, from sketches to city council approved urban planning projects, their mark in the city is permanent. “Freiraumgalerie” is not just a name either, as you walk through the streets the inked walls feel exactly like paintings on a exhibition, the once old and tired buildings became the perfect canvas for the creation of a magnificent open-air art gallery. But the relevance of their work goes beyond the aesthetically appealing walls, the idea of bringing people back to the area is proving fruitful: the 60% emptiness in 2011 has sharply decreased to 20% in 2017.

Gentrification, you might ask? Not at all, not only their plan prevents the rent prices from going up, but the direction the projects take is decided by the residents of the area. That is the heart of every activity, the locals have their saying. Of course festivals like “All you can paint” bring people from the outside, but the projects are built from the bottom up.

Invited by the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Policy of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) Regional Group for Europe, CGE especially felt important to pay the visit to commemorate this year’s World Commons Week celebrations.

After the tour around the district, Ilkhom Soliev hosted a workshop, where he explained the latest developments on what “commons” mean, how commonizing can revitalise urban life, on the example of Freiraumgalerie, as well as gave an idea of what we can learn from traditional agricultural commons.

Besides the informative session, CGE had a chance to discuss further cooperation with the presented organisations, especially with upcoming study visit of “Stadt im Dialog: Dialogue in Regions”.

Here you can read the testimonial of one of our members about the visit:
[ap_testimonial image=”” image_shape=”undefined” client=”Anastasiia Soholovska” designation=”CGE Volunteer”]
On Saturday we visited Freiraumgalerie in Halle. I have not seen so many beautiful murals in one quarter. Artists from all over the world are given the opportunity to realize all their ideas after making an agreement with the owners of buildings and residents (some of residents make their own contribution – draw or support artists financially). It is a wonderful example of how with the help of art it is possible to revitalize one of the underpopulated areas and draw attention of tourists to this district.

We really enjoyed the day and full-heartedly thank Philip, Roland and Ilkhom for the provided opportunity!


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