POLYCENTRIC CITY REGIONS IN TRANSFORMATION The Ruhr Agglomeration in International Perspective
11.06.2015 - 13.06.2015
Zeche Zollverein, Essen, RUHR, Germany
Conference Draft
Ongoing structural change and continuing transformation processes mean that the reappraisal of the Ruhr District‘s historic
and current spatial development has to become a more and more
strategic priority. Compared to most German metropolitan areas the
agglomeration Ruhr occupies a special position: It is a polycentric
region without a dominant core governed by a multitude of local
and regional sectors. At the same time it is characterized by complex oppositions and contradictions in all key areas such as spatial,
economical and social development.
Renewal had been on the agenda for decades, a lot has been
discussed, written about and initiated. It cannot be denied that
transformation had been slower than anticipated, that change had
not always been happening according to plan, that renewal cannot
be simply decreed. A lot has been achieved but maybe not to the
level as previously anticipated.
This transformation process is not even close to completion. The
pressure to achieve renovation is still present and the necessity of
a continuous ongoing renewal still dominates the discussion and is
not questioned by any expert. The aim is to get science and industry
working on this together in order to achieve a macro-cosmic
approach that includes taking an international view to the region.
There just is no universal blueprint in how to achieve a successful
late and post industrial transformation, only some more or less
applicable examples which often vary in the way they approach the
problem, partly because of the different parameters. Only very few
projects manage to achieve this change by impressive narratives
but more so by maintaining parallel and incremental work that
results in a mutual perspective such as the Internationale Bauausstellung (IBA) plans to do in the Emscher Park project. Big narratives have the tendency to end up as nothing but empty promises.
This doesn‘t always have to be the case though.
The international congress wants to present strategies of transformation processes and urban renewal of polycentric city areas. It
wants to reach the following goals:
- Raising and focusing the standard of knowledge concerning
regional transformation processes in post-industrial areas in an
international comparative action.
- Raising awareness of possible conflicts and barriers that might
occur in polycentric areas and whether they are suited for sustainable development at all.
- The network “ Ruhr 2020+.Hochschulen und Region“ should be
expanded and shall include partners from science and industry in
order to connect their expertise in relevant research projects and
prepare them for future collaborations.
- Raising the global perception of the agglomeration Ruhr.
A region like the Ruhr district with all of its different parameters on
such diverse levels seems predisposed to be leading the international discourse of creating a new regional plan and development
strategies about the future of polycentric post industrial urban
regions based on dialogue and integration.
The successful exhibition” Emscher Park (1989-1999)” and the
project ”Europäische Kulturhauptstadt RUHR.2010“ proved that the
area is quite capable of developing innovative projects.
Furthermore, the federal State of North Rhine Westphalia has been
supporting the region with two important initiatives in 2004 and
2007 including being a financial provider for the “Emscher Landschaftspark” and the “Route der Industriekultur” (Route of Industrial Culture). The strategies devised for “KlimaExpoNRW-RUHR“,
„Nachhaltige Metropole Ruhr“(Sustainable Ruhr Metropolis) and for
„Wissensregion Ruhr“ (Expertise Region Ruhr) show the future oriented trend to develop transformation processes of the Ruhr region.
In order to achieve a lasting effect and resonance the conference
plans to take unbiased stock of all the previously discussed formats
and approaches. An international comparative can be very helpful,
not necessarily to look out for new strategies but to dissect the
change of the Ruhr District in a wider context in order to class its
specifics accordingly.
An Open Call for Papers is planned for October 2014. The international conference is taking place in June 2015 (11th – 13th) In Essen,
Zeche Zollverein, Germany.
The conference is planned as a 2-3 day event at Zeche Zollverein, Essen, including paper presentations, open discussions and workshops on selected topics, authors meet critics, etc. All Network partners including the Ruhr Regional Planning Association (RVR)
(Departments of Planning, Environment and Regional Development) as well as the steering commitee Zukunft Ruhr.2020+ Hochschulen
und Region will be involved in the preperation of the conference.
General Framework
> Prof. Dr. Stefan Berger, Instituite for Social Movements, RU Bochum
> Prof. Dr. Markus Hesse, Geography & Spatial Planning, University of Luxemburg
> Prof. Dr. Jörg Dettmar, Department of Architecture, TU Darmstadt
> Dr. Dieter Nellen, Regional Association Ruhr / TU Dortmund
> Prof. Christa Reicher, Department of Urban Design and Land-Use Planning, Faculty of Spatial Planning, TU Dortmund
> Stephan Reiß-Schmidt, Head of the department of planning, City of Munich, Chairman of the Jury „Ideas competition Metropolis Ruhr“
> Prof. Dr. Stefan Siedentop, Scientific Director, Research Institute for Regional & Urban Development / Faculty of Spatial Planning, TU Dortmund
> Prof. Dr. Alexander Schmidt, Institute of City Planning and Urban Design, University of Duisburg-Essen
> Prof. Dr. Karsten Zimmermann, Department of European Planning Cultures, TU Dortmund, Faculty of Spatial Planning
Prof. Dr. Neil Adams (London South Bank University), Prof. Dr. Stefan Berger (University of Bochum), Ulrich Carow (Head of Environmental Department RVR), Prof. Dr. Jörg Dettmar (TU Darmstadt), Prof. Dr. Markus Hesse (University of Luxemburg), Hendrik Jansen
(TU Dortmund), Prof. Dr. Hisako Koura (Osaka University), Prof. Dr. Martin Murray (University of Michigan), Dr. Dieter Nellen (Regional
Association Ruhr / TU Dortmund), Jan Polívka (TU Dortmund), Prof. Christa Reicher (TU Dortmund), Martin Tönnes (Head of Planning
Department RVR), Maria T. Wagener (Head of Regional Development Office RVR), Prof. Dr. Karsten Zimmermann (TU Dortmund), Xiao Li
(Peking National University).
The conferece is embeded in the competence network: EURA – European Urban Research Association, is associated with AESOP –
Association of European Schools of Planning and ISOCARP - International Society of City and Regional Planners.
International Academic Partners:
> Osaka University, Faculty of Engineering, School of Global Architecture, Dept. Urban Planning, Japan
> Kyushu University, Department of History, Faculty of Humanities, Japan
> ETH Zürich, Chair of Architecture and Urban Design, Switzerland
> University of Michigan, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, USA
> Peking University, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, China
> Université Lille, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
> London South Bank University, Department Urban and Environment Studies, Great Britain
> Roma Tre University, Dipartimento di Architettura, Italy
> Kyoto University, Faculty of Engineering, Japan
> University of Luxembourg, Faculty for Humanities, Luxembourg
> Technical University Gliwice, Poland
> Swansea University, Department of History and the Classics, College of Arts & Humanities, Wales
> CUJAE University, Facultad de Arquitectura, Instituto Superior Politécnico, Havana, Kuba
> TU Vienna, Faculty of Architecture and Spatial Planning, Austria
> Aalto University, Department of Real Estate, Planning and Geoinformatics, Finland
Additional Partners:
> RZU Regional Planning Association Zürich
> Regional Association Ruhr
> Heinrich-Böll-Foundation
> Stadtbaukultur NRW
> Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety
in Kooperation mit
Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Christa Reicher
TU Dortmund – Fakultät Raumplanung
Fachgebiet Städtebau, Stadtgestaltung & Bauleitplanung
August-Schmidt-Str. 10, GB III DG
D-44227 Dortmund
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Karsten Zimmermann
TU Dortmund – Fakultät Raumplanung Fachgebiet Europäische Planungskulturen
August-Schmidt-Str. 10, GB I
D-44227 Dortmund
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Stefan Berger,
RUB, Institut für Soziale Bewegungen
Haus der Geschichte des Ruhrgebiets
Clemensstr. 17-19
D-44789 Bochum