Events as an instrument of urban development

Probably each of you has already been to one or more major events in a city. Maybe even here with us in Chemnitz. Fun, diversion, a certain sense of community and possibly even a bit of pride when you tell others about the great local event are associated by many people with such an event. But even what is good can be much better. One should not underestimate what events can contribute to urban development. Have you ever wondered what you can achieve with a major event? We spoke to Dr Ralf Schulze, Managing Director of C³ Chemnitzer Veranstaltungszentren GmbH, and were able to learn a lot about this topic from him.

The European Capital of Culture 2025 as a starting point

The basic strategy for Chemnitz as European Capital of Culture 2025 is made up of the two Chemnitz city characteristics and strategies: "Maker culture that connects" and "C-The Unseen" (winning strategy Capital of Culture, See the Unseen!). We, the C³, want to make the city centre a popular meeting place for the whole city society again and create a place where all people feel safe and in good hands. The focus should be directed away from social differences to what we do together. Not because there are no differences to overcome, but because we want to come together to build ourselves up together. In this context, it is particularly important that the term "doer" is very versatile. 

From smart IT start-ups to our fantastic craftsmen to the creative people who make our city so diverse and colourful, they all make Chemnitz come alive. With these great people, we want to become more visible as a city with all our potential. Our goal is to fuel this basic idea with our events.

Dr. Ralf Schulze - Chemnitz Event Centres

"Capital of Culture is not only 2025. Especially with the larger, annually recurring events, you can wonderfully show the development until 2025 and beyond."

Dr Ralf Schulze

What can events contribute to urban development?

First of all, it should be mentioned with appreciation that events are of course only one factor in a multifactorial web of actors involved in urban development. As such, we would like to commend the fantastic work of a multitude of street workers, other event venues, art and culture professionals, psychologists, city administration, associations of traders and restaurateurs and many more. Aspects such as a sense of community, a certain supra-regional representative function and symbolic character are, however, particularly well shaped by large-scale events. This is where we see a special starting point. What exactly we mean is best illustrated with a few practical examples.

"Long-term urban development through events is possible and makes sense, but it needs diverse cooperation partners and multipliers who are involved from the very beginning."

Dr Ralf Schulze

Cultural offerings bring more than bans: The PARKSOMMER

The initial situation in 2016-17 was tense. Alcoholism and drug problems made the Stadthallenpark an area that was avoided by parts of the population. For this reason, we decided to create the PARKSOMMER over five years ago. We didn't want to work with prohibitions, but to positively occupy the park with cultural and active offers. The image change has been successful and the PARKSOMMER is an extremely successful event that is supported by a large part of the Chemnitz population and businesses in the region through crowdfunding. 

In 2021, we were able to inspire around 13,500 visitors with concerts, poetry slams, children's programmes and yoga on the 360-degree stage in the Stadthallenpark for over five weeks. The PARKSOMMER is a beautiful example of how you can change a certain place with an event and make it more attractive in the long term. In case you are curious now: The 6th PARKSOMMER will take place from 14 July to 14 August 2022!

The HUTFESTIVAL - a charming festival in the middle of the city centre

The objective for the HUTFESTIVAL was to develop a festival format for the inner city and the mainstream. Tourists should also be attracted. On the last weekend in May, the festival of street art takes place on a total of 13 stages. It was important to integrate the stages into the existing gastronomy and retail. By the way, there is a deeper idea behind the "hat" in HUTFESTIVAL: the gesture of "chapeau", or pulling one's hat. 

We want to tip our hats to each other and thus show respect, after all, the division of society starts with a lack of respect. At the same time, the well-known "hat collection" or playing "on the hat" is typical for street art. For the Capital of Culture Year 2025, we have especially big plans and want to bring more international, European artists and actors to Chemnitz. If you want to experience the HUTFESTIVAL in action, you will have the chance to do so in 2022 from 27 to 29 May. Admission is free, but bring your best hat.

The stadium on Gellertstraße and SPORTY, the Chemnitz Sports Day

The beautiful stadium on Gellertstraße has in the meantime fallen into disrepute due to right-wing extremist excesses in the football environment - of course, this is not a good advertisement for what is actually a great stadium. In order to strengthen the bond between the population and the stadium and, of course, also between football fans and non-football fans, we thought about how we could enliven the stadium with events in other ways. On the one hand, we initiated a classic joint Christmas caroling in the stadium.

On the fourth Sunday of Advent, all those interested were thus able to become musically active together with Chemnitz music actors and choirs. A positive side effect was to strengthen the local music scene. Of course, the stadium's ample space and great acoustics are virtually predestined for such a musical event.Banner Stadium on GellertstraßeAnother very important aspect of sport is its role as a unifying element in a society. At SPORTY (Our Chemnitz Sports Day with sports activities to join in), almost 50 different sports clubs from a wide range of disciplines present their passion and invite you to join in. Ideal for families to get a taste of the different sports and find out about the clubs. The highlights of 2021 included the launch of the European Peace Rides, the festival of cabaret football, the Chemnitz "Sports Open" and the autograph session of the Chemnitz FC! The format was a complete success and the SPORTY will go into the fourth round on 03 September 2022!

"There was always a political motivation why we did it. Capital of Culture, city centre revitalisation, city hall park revitalisation, stadium revitalisation, so in that sense we are just service providers for the city to help solve the problems that have been mentioned."

Dr Ralf Schulze

At the end of the day, we take our hats off to you

Behind each of these event formats is an idea that we develop and refine as a team over a very long period of time, specifically in response to a particular political motivation in the city of Chemnitz. Seeing the effect these ideas can have afterwards when they are accepted is extremely fulfilling. 

We have been able to show with our examples that events are an important instrument in urban development. Targeted event development in a city leads to a change in the city, the culture and thus the attitude to life through consistent, humane and collaborative planning and cooperation - in the long term and sustainably. We are pleased to be able to contribute a small part to the city's development and to the European Capital of Culture 2025. We hope to be able to inspire you with our formats and offers in the future as well! Do you have an idea for a joint event in and for our city? Then please feel free to contact us.

From |2022-01-14T08:21:35+01:0012January 2022|Locations|0 comments

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A contribution by:

Ralf Schulze is Managing Director of C³ Chemnitzer Veranstaltungszentren GmbH.
E-mail: | Phone: +49 (0)371 4508-601

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