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Sustainable change thanks to creativity and art

RAG Montan Immobilien GmbH, in Essen (Germany), has recognised that, thanks to the participation of the people in the planning and development process in many locations, there is not only a higher level of acceptance in the project development stage, but that structural changes can also be implemented more quickly and economically. The coexistence of urban space, landscape, sculptures and process-oriented, participative art that addresses the needs of the area and of the people is the key to any change. Art can therefore not only help to design the space, but it can also become a part of urban and landscape planning.

The development of the Kreativ.Quartier Lohberg (“Creative Quarter in Lohberg”) on the site of the former Lohberg mine in Dins-laken is a good example of such a change: Although job losses initially led to a loss of identity, the participation of the people in the development and planning, art, and culture of the former mine site brought about an optimistic mood, which, in turn, has resulted in them contributing to the design of the entire urban district. In the Loh-berg district, the local people are designing their new home themselves – starting with the Kreativ.Quartier. This was the conclusion that was made at a round of talks held in September 2015 at the Expo Real real estate trade fair in Munich and attended by Michael Groschek, Minister of Urban Development, Housing and Transportation for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Lukas Crepaz, Managing Director at Kultur Ruhr GmbH, and Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Noll, Chairman of the Board of Directors at RAG Montan Immobilien GmbH.

Local residents were already using art and culture to shape their own environment, and forming a local identity for Lohberg, well before January 2010 when, as part of Ruhr.2010, the region was named European Capital of Culture with the theme “Culture through change, change through culture”, in which the town of Dinslaken played its role as the “local hero”. Art and culture is a self-designed driving force for the change in Lohberg, and many artists and creative types have participated in this. Just a short time after the mine was closed, they obtained the spaces and existing listed buildings and breathed new life into them.

This was reason enough for the English twin cities of the Ruhr area cities to show their approval of the creative change in Loh-berg at the end of September 2015 under the title “Creative exChange – A Five Twins Initiative for North East England and the Ruhr Region”. (RAG Montan Immobilien/Si.)