Model city Hoyerswerda: Shaping structural change sustainably and regionally

The large district city of Hoyerswerda, located in the Saxon part of Lusatia, has been in a constant process of change for over 80 years. In the 1950s, the city experienced an economic upturn and a rapid population increase to over 70,000 people with the construction of the “Schwarze Pumpe Gas Combine”. This led to an unprecedented demand for housing, prompting the construction of the New Town, the world's first city planned and built for “industrial housing construction”. Following the political changes in 1990, Hoyerswerda, like many East German cities, was affected by an economic and demographic structural change, particularly marked by job losses and the emigration of predominantly young people, a situation that persists until today. Presently, the city has a population of 32,000 and an average age of nearly 53 years.
With the decided gradual phase-out of coal in Germany, Hoyerswerda faces a new challenge: establishing a new, sustainable, secure, and affordable heat supply, fostering emerging industries and creating new employment opportunities, thereby shaping a secure, environmentally friendly, and economically successful future for the city. This is coupled with global challenges such as addressing climate change, urban biodiversity loss, resource conservation, migration, and digitisation.

Goals and outlook

Currently, initiatives for the ecological and socio-economic development of cities and regions are limited to individual sectors (e.g. digitalization, circular economy, climate neutrality). Within the framework of the NewCityConcept, the foundations for such a sector-integrating methodology should be developed, in which different disciplines work together and all stakeholders are involved. The aim of such a method is to show ways in which cities and areas can tackle the complex challenges of a sustainable future in an innovative and participatory way. In doing so, we draw on knowledge and support from experts in the fields of urban and spatial planning and actively involve local people.

As part of a collaboration initiated by the city involving science, economy, and civic society, methods and tools for the participative design of a specific location— the School at the Planetarium in Hoyerswerda—are being tested. Based on the experience gained, a strategy will be developed to continue the project and integrate it into urban and regional planning.

The goal is to develop Hoyerswerda into an outstanding best-practice location for successful transformation in the Lusatian mining area and to establish both the city and Lusatia as a whole as an attractive innovation location in the context of a European model region

Research questions
What research perspectives for a sustainable urban and peri-urban development emerge from accompanying a cross-sectoral, integrated, and participative stimulus project?
What future research questions arise from the project-related cooperation involving municipal administration, economy, civic society, and academia?

The Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development is jointly funded by the federal government and the federal states.

FS Sachsen

This measure is co-financed by tax funds on the basis of the budget approved by the Saxon State Parliament.