Methods of the IBA Urban Redevelopment 2010

Towns, cities, and regions seeking to manage devel op­ ment without growth need flexible concepts and dynamic implementation strategies. At the same time, resources are limited and thus opportunities for projects as well. Shrinkage relativises the predominance of planning and projects in favour of the creative power of processes.

In many places, the IBA towns tested a process culture, which included the widespread com muni cation of themes and projects within the scope of artistic and cultural activities. Thus, politicians, planners, and their cooperation partners expanded the missing scope for muni cipal design or acquired it in the first place. Under the restrictive con ditions of shrinkage, which includes dwindling public budgets, un expected perspectives and new govern ance possibilities open out for local urban redevelopment. In the best case, the towns and their players manage processes of self­motivation. Self­motivation, though, may become the most important “project” when “less is future.”

Depiction of working methods in comic strips

As an experiment, the IBA Urban Redevelopment 2010 was process-orientated, rather than object-orientated. The IBA’s work was therefore not only determined by the ultimate objective; the basics developed over time. Especially at the outset, the process was largely open-ended. The process-orientated character of the IBA is perhaps best understood through the comic strips, which were drafted for a number of projects. They describe the IBA’s working methods and the occasionally protracted conflicts, which had to be argued out between citizens and planners. 
The comics may be viewed on this page. To view the comics in full screen, click on the images in the right-hand column.

Networking Stakeholders

In regions marked by shrinkage, the classic initiators in the area of urban development – financially sound communities and private investors – are not available. Targeted urban design is only possible here by channelling local forces with their respective limited resources matched with the necessary critical energy. In this respect, the trick is to gain new partners for urban redevelopment and develop their potential through targeted networking, despite the scarcity of available resources. Besides natio-nal institutions and organizations, the stakeholders in such networks are the private sector, various individual and groups of citizens, a variety of social and cultural initiatives and projects, churches, and welfare organisations.


Urban redevelopment in shrinking towns and cities is a process that relies on consensus and participation. Communication and mediation are strategic and important elements in planning processes. The IBA Urban Redevelopment 2010 promotes open planning processes. Each process is accompanied by public communication.


Design under conditions of shrinkage means searching for creative opportunities for sustainable con-cepts that can be achieved and maintained in the long term. Existing resources have to be localised and linked together, town administration structures that in part work auton o m ously need to be net-worked more effectively so that the different layers and departments are integrated in terms of content, citizen initiatives and local institutions have to be motivated, and outside expertise deliberately sought out. Thus, IBA coaching was above all a process of profiling local urban working structures, of networ-king local knowl edge with external know-how.


"Networking and integration” is a focus of interest of the International Building Exhibition Urban Redevelopment Saxony-Anhalt 2010 that has been interpreted and implemented by different towns and cities in various ways. These range from infrastructural, administrative, and organisational networking and the social integration of different milieus to architectural-spatial integration.

One of the IBA Urban Redevelopment 2010’s leitmotifs was the question of how communities can pre-serve their existential basis and their capacity to act in light of massive transformation and shrinkage. The basic question is whether it succeeds in overcoming the particular interests of areas that have devel oped in different ways and translating them into an overall concept. This would indeed achieve model quality: a principle of solidarity in order to absorb weaker districts, reorganise shrinking regions, and create more effective structures instead of a principle of competition.

Comic: "Dessau-Roßlau. From Pixel to Planes", Ulli Lust, 2010

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Comic: "Sangerhausen: We: From Coppers to Quarters", Kai Pfeffer, 2010

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Comic: "Bernburg: Everything under One Roof", Thomas Gilke, 2010

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Comic: "Aschersleben and the Birth of the IBA", Ulli Lust, 2010

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