On a site on the edge of the centre of Gera, adjoining the Congress and Cultural Centre, 2.5 hectares of disused land are awaiting reactivation – indeed have been for 15 years. The city has struggled to find investors for its once vibrant centre for many years.
In 2014, committed citizens and entrepreneurs from Gera took things into their own hands. The association ›Ja – für Gera‹ answered the IBA Thüringen’s call for projects and proposed the idea of a new ›strong centre‹. A Europan urban design competition followed in 2015, organised by the city, the association and a group of citizens, which generated ideas that fed into the following planning stages. In 2016, an urban flashmob saw the citizens take possession of the urban realm with hundreds of colourful umbrellas despite the pouring rain, and in 2017, an action week, this time in sweltering heat, enticed citizens to get involved. Two key exhibitions have also been organised to present and discuss the designs for Gera’s ›Neue Mitte‹. In 2018 the city council approved the master plan, followed by the draft of the development plan in 2019, paving the way for design competitions and the awarding of plots based on the proposed concepts.
The ›New Centre‹ is the largest urban development project in Gera since the BUGA National Garden Show in Gera and Ronneburg in 2007. The citizens of Gera, meanwhile, continue to actively participate in passionately debating the function and design of their inner city.