Actors of Urban Dialog is a 32-month EuropeAid project, funded by the European Union and coordinated by CGE Erfurt. The project is designed to develop a civic education program and the infrastructure for the capacity building of active and motivated urban activists, young people, and civil society actors in the small towns of Uzbekistan. Ultimately aimed at improving the quality of life of people in small towns. It specifically aims to:
- increase the competences (skills and tools) of active citizen in the target area of Uzbekistan small cities empowering participants to be actively engaged as an urban actor;
- increase social engagement, education and consolidation of communities in sharing experiences;
- increase regional networking and cooperation of active citizens and multipliers at the regional level;
- result in strengthened cooperation between civic society networks and citizens.
Study Tour Route - 25.11-2.12.21
CGE Culture Goes Europe – Soziokulturelle Initiative Erfurt e.V. (Эрфурт, Германия)
Yuksak salohiyat (Ташкент, Узбекистан)
Taraqqiyot NGO – Совместное решение инфраструктурных проблем в селах (Фергана, Узбекистан)
Khorezm Rural Advisory Support Service (Ургенч, Узбекистан)
Study Tour in Germany
The study tours play a central role in the methodology of this project. Through directly engaging with grassroots examples of best practices, after a year of capacity building strengthen the knowledge and skills of active citizens of Uzbekistan. Thus, we expect the following goals to be achieved in this Study visit activity:
– to raise citizen awareness of active (young) people in Uzbekistan about the regions and towns they live in, – and to transform this awareness into a wish to change their lives to live better and actual activities aimed at this goal; – to build network between active citizens within Uzbekistan towns and regions in order to encourage further cross-city/regional collaboration and regional/country-scale joint projects based on the grass-root and bottom-up approach;
– to learn the cutting-edge of horizontal and grass-root activism experiences and expertise in German towns and regions. The participants are learning from grass-roots activism and networking in German region(s); discussing possibilities and exact formats of horizontal collaboration within their regions & towns.
Program of the Study Tour:
Day One // 25th November // Weimar
Following arrival in Weimar, Erfurt, a city renowned for urban planning and architectural education and home to the Bauhaus University, participants engaged in an orientation talk and dialogue, with the aim of fully contextualising the role of the study tour in the AUD project and preparing participants to engage as meaningfully and impactfully as possible in the upcoming week and within their local project implementations.
An arrival tour around Weimar was followed by a study visit to EJBW, Europäische Jugendbildungs- und Jugendbegegnungsstätte Weimar, ‘European Youth Education and Youth Meeting Center Weimar’, as a best practice of both a non-formal educational space and an institution engaging in urban-community focused actions (such as the project ‘Strengthening the role of youth work in Shrinking Cities’ that aims at contributing to creating new strategies of social inclusion and civic engagement for the youth residing in Europe’s “shrinking cities”). Through its use of space, networks and expertise, the center enables its guests to deal with central socio-political issues, to learn from each other and gain unique educational experiences.
Day Two // 26th November // Erfurt
The day started with an interactive presentation of Saline 34, a participatory urban regeneration project coordinated by Plattform e.V. that reclaimed an abandoned building and repurposed it into a collaborative, community-driven space for artists, NGOs, and community organisations.
This was followed by a meeting with Klanggerüst e.V., a community-driven NGO that has been involved in the Erfurt cultural scene since 2007, that provides space for concerts, artists, theatre, and community events.
The study tour then visited Erfurt Nord and Frau Korte, two more urban regeneration projects where artists and communities reclaimed abandoned public buildings and created community-driven spaces for public use. This tour was led by the Erfurt Nord ‘Stadteilbüro’, the local office coordinating community supports.
A tour of Erfurt city, with a growing arts and activism scene, saw the participants engaging with many cultural spaces across the city before the group headed back to Weimar to prepare for the third day of study visits.
Day Three // 27th November // Weimar
The day started with a visit to a Weimar urban regeneration project, active since 2017, the Alte Feuerwache Weimar e.V. (Old Fire Station). The association currently has 18 members between the ages of 25 and 65: students, employees, the self-employed and people of retirement age, all sharing the desire to live independently and actively shape our own residential district. With diverse professional backgrounds, the association has extensive experience in project management, finance, architectural and construction planning, design, public relations as well as social work and urban planning. As such, this visit was a positive example of pooling capacities and expertise considering how communities benefit enormously from this swarm intelligence. Following this visit, the participants returned to EJBW for a group reflection session, in order to ground and explore the learning so far within the study tour.
- Radio Lotte e.V. is the citizen radio for Weimar. The station receives significant funding through crowdsourcing donations from listeners, who are then actively engaged in the shaping of content and focus of the programs and organisation of the station. This ensures the station is community-driven and in turn community-focused.
Day Four // 28th November // Halle
Day four began with travels to Halle and a visit to Halle Freiraum Gallery e.V.
“What‘s our city supposed to look like? How do we want to live? To answer questions like these and have a real impact on peoples living conditions and surroundings, we are working together with citizens on concepts of urban development. From planning to realizing, our interdisciplinary work with externs and experts ensures profound and sustainable results. We focus on reframing and redesigning spaces, by which means we also can and want to highlight social imbalances. Every part of the town, living space and street is different. We adjust our work, goals and methods to the people and places we act with and always place importance on the integral inclusion of inhabitants and users of urban spaces.”
The Freiraum Galerie support many initiatives in Halle, such as:
The formerly emptiest quarter of Germany develops into a colourful and self-determined part of town. Impulses are given by urban art festivals, culture and education, networking and the establishment of ateliers and workshops. Freiimfelde is history in the making.
The Fallow / The Park
Abandoned property, beginning civic engagement, real estate speculation and even more engagement – after years of work in the quarter and together with the people of Freiimfelde, the city of Halle (Saale) and the Montag Stiftung Urbane Räume, we are capable of securing the most important space of the quarter. A brownfield of 6000 square meters becomes an open and creative park for the people.
The day concluded with a visit to Passage 13 e.V.
An urban regeneration project in the heart of Halle Neustadt, Passage 13 offers a space that serves the needs of a broad range of organisations within the region. Youth groups and organisations can engage in educational and leisure activities in areas from science to technology to culture and art. The project is funded by the Silbersalz foundation and exists in a reclaimed building space adjacent to several tower blocks and acts as a sandbox and platform for cultural and political initiatives within the area.
Day Five, Six & Seven // 29th November – 1st December // Berlin
Tempelhoferfeld: introduction into a case of civic initiative protecting public space in the city, and demonstrating the variety of grass root, civic, NGO etc. activities that can take place in a public space (apart from simple consumerism) (https://gruen-berlin.de/tempelhofer-feld) https://gruen-berlin.de/projekte/parks/tempelhofer-feld/ueber-den-park
Holzmarkt: introduction into a case of civic activism withstanding gentrification, and of the social entrepreneurship project rooted in the city/district identity, that was able to change the city landscape and daily culture
Bernauerstrasse (walk along the Berlin Wall memorial): (https://www.berliner-mauer-gedenkstaette.de/en/) excursion, explaining the role of the Wall and the trauma of divided country/city in the history and current culture of Germany.
Prinzesseningarten Kollekitv: introduction into a case of urban gardening initiated by the neighborhood community, that became a world-famous case of green-thinking and community management. (https://www.visitberlin.de/en/prinzessinnengarten);
Haus der Statistic: an example of the artistic commune of the city scale serving the tasks of the district and city; https://hausderstatistik.org