Join Us! Structural Change Project Week in Morschenich-Alt


There has been a lot of talk about structural change, as participants of the press conference held in preparation for the Temporary University of Hambach project week stated. Anyone who would like to feel this change, who would like to be an active part of it, should come to Morschenich-Alt between June 17 and 24.

  People standing on a lawn holding up a poster Copyright: © RWTH Aachen From left: Georg Gelhausen, Prof. Agnes Förster, Bianca Hohn, Prof. Isabel Maria Finkenberger, Anke Krüger, and Dr. Kerstin Schierhold.

"This is where we will bring structural change to life," promised Professor Agnes Förster, who heads the Chair of Planning Theory and Urban Development at RWTH. Around a year ago, says Förster, the idea of a project week that brings together everyone involved in structural change in the Rhenish Mining Area was born. Now the organizers of the approximately 70 different projects are looking forward to a diverse and large number of participants. Even though the week is titled Temporary University of Hambach, it is open to all. "We talk a lot about having local residents on board with us," adds Georg Gelhausen, "now we also want to see that in action." Gelhausen, who, as mayor of Merzenich, will also host the event, has clear expectations: At present, talks are being held with the open-cast mine operator, "by the end of the year we hope to have clarity on the ownership situation here in Morschenich-Alt," and ideally we will then be able to draw on the very concrete results of the project week when shaping the change.

Bianca Hohn also believes in dialog and cooperation, creatively and effectively working together. The project manager of "Neuland Hambach" hopes for "a lot of ideas and suggestions for structural change on the whole, not only here in Morschenich-Alt." The format has now been steadily developed in close coordination with all partners, and Morschenich can and should now provide the impetus for the entire Neuland Hambach area. Neuland Hambach has organized the project week together with the Transformation Platform REVIERa of RWTH. FH Aachen Professor Isabel Maria Finkenberger’s teachung and research revolves around sustainable transformation. She has already been grappling with the situation in Morschenich-Alt for three years. The fact that there are not many individual owners, but that due to the special situation, the place is largely in one hand, makes the place so extraordinary: "In terms of planning, Morschenich-Alt is a blank area," says Prof. Finkenberger. Now it is possible to develop and test structural solutions that can serve as examples for rural areas: "Morschenich-Alt offers us the opportunity to train students to be pioneers of change."

FH Aachen is a local partner of the event, along with Forschungszentrum Jülich (BioökonomieREVIER initiative) and the LVR (geSCHICHTEN Rheinisches Revier project). Dr. Kerstin Schierhold from the LVR will take a completely different look at the place and especially the local people: "We want to find out how big upheavals impact people," she explains. To this end, she and her colleagues want to empower individuals to tell and write down their stories through workshops and targeted support. "We want to make people's history visible," Dr. Schierhold said. The initiative "BioökonomieREVIER" is looking for answers to the resource turnaround, with new forms of energy, says deputy director Anke Krüger, "innovations play a decisive role." Therefore, it was immediately clear that they had to be part of this innovative format, "we have a great opportunity here on our doorstep to participate, to help shape change," says Anke Krüger.

tu! Hambach

The Temporary University of Hambach (tu! Hambach) is a collaborative learning and design format for the Rhenish mining district. Numerous individuals, groups, and institutions will equally contribute to the project week in Morschenich-Alt in June 2023. The University is organized by the transformation platform REVIERa of RWTH in cooperation with Neuland Hambach. In the summer of 2023, tu! will be a guest in the municipality of Merzenich. Local partners are Forschungszentrum Jülich (BioökonomisREVIER initiative), FH Aachen (Department of Urban Planning, Transformation, and Process Design), and the LVR (project "geSCHICHTEN Rheinisches Revier").