In the late GDR, the historic inner cities were not only the scene of neglect, demolition and feelings of powerlessness, but also became dynamic places of social activation. The collaborative project "Stadtwende" ("Urban Turnaround"), launched in 2019, asks how experts and affected citizens dealt with the problem of decades of neglect of historic building fabric and how a rapid change of course in urban development policy in the GDR occurred after the opening of the border in 1989. The project focuses on the role played by reform forces, cultural institutions and citizens' groups in this process and the effects and repercussions this had. In our lecture, we will give an overview of the project as a whole, the contents we worked on and the transfer products we strived for. One focus will be on the citizens' groups with their emergence, genesis and practices as well as the implementation of the research findings on the project website (www.stadtwende.de).
Dr Harald Engler is head of the BMBF-funded research project "StadtWende." at the IRS Historical Research Unit, of which he is deputy head of department.
Sarah Day is employed as a documentalist in the project. Here she is responsible for the database and the associated project website.
Julia Wigger is a research assistant in the project. As part of the project, she is writing her dissertation on the genesis and impact of the citizens' initiatives against the decline of the old city and their significance for the peaceful revolution.