Urban Atelier Leipzig: Developing a future vision of German cities

Working towards innovative, networked and fair cities as well as metropolitan areas

How can we create inclusive, networked and fair cities of tomorrow? Discuss, debate and design with New Urban Progress this April in Leipzig!

*Due to the ongoing Corona crisis and the massive restrictions, registration for the Urban Atelier is not possible. We are currently working on an alternative solution and will inform you as soon as possible. We ask for your understanding!*


We believe that cities are ideally suited actors to take on the challenges of ongoing and rapid societal and technological transformation. Our project, New Urban Progress, is creating a dynamic network that expands beyond capital cities and acts as a physical and virtual platform for new ideas and bottom-up initiatives. By bringing together people of diverse backgrounds, we can become a platform for a progressive urban policy that can serve as the foundation for social mobility, cultural inclusion and a prosperous economy based on sustainability and innovation. To gather a wide array of perspectives and actors, this project will take place in Germany and the United States. And by creating prominent networks in and between the United States and Germany, we also want to rethink transatlantic relations by incorporating voices from civil society. 


To do so, we first need to gather your input on challenges and opportunities of German cities and metropolitan areas. You are invited to join our Urban Atelier and share your expertise and experience with us so that we can together collaborate and design impactful initiatives and public policies to make cities and metropolitan areas more inclusive for future generations. The outcomes of this afternoon will be used together with the findings from the mirroring event in Washington D.C. to set the framework for further transatlantic exchange within the project.

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In a transatlantic dialogue, we would like to discuss the following questions with young thinkers, political activists, politicians, a variety of experts, and journalists on both sides of the Atlantic.


Cities have always been drivers of economic growth – up to 80 percent of the GDP is currently generated in urban areas. For decades, economic growth has led to a growing buying power for the majority of the population, leading to wide levels of prosperity. Today, the transformation from an industrial to a knowledge-based and digital economy is especially evident in cities. Economic growth and the founding of profitable digital companies are not necessarily benefitting urban labour markets to the same extent, while at the same time jobs are disappearing. The space inhabited by the private sector is also transforming into a networked space, and the accompanying flexible organisational structures and ways of life require a corresponding return to the city.   

Cities are a creative space for societal, economic, ecological and political innovation. The quick and close exchanges between different actors enable innovation and unconventional ways of life. Companies orient themselves according to the availability of qualified workforces, while the potential employees look for attractive and diverse living conditions and urban surroundings.    

  • How can cities accommodate growth and innovation
  • How can they provide sustainable growth in GDP by integrating the workforce?  
  • Which kind of entrepreneurship can strengthen sustainable cities
  • Which role can the state play in these processes?

Diverse and sustainable networks can assist cities and metropolitan areas in tackling 21st-century challenges, such as implementing renewable energy, increasing participation in democratic processes, and expanding educational opportunities. Growing cities and metropolitan areas need active and engaged citizens to fill-out the necessary networks that govern these ever-expanding areas. Through designing more ways for citizens to get involved in local democratic procedures, cities can be made more fair, efficient and impactful.

  • How can citizens participate better in just, efficient and more effective democratic processes?
  • How can citizens participate in local democratic processes?

Cities are constantly changing – this provides a great challenge, but also a great opportunity. Urban spaces can be innovators and nuclei for sustainable solutions for the future. But how exactly should a city of the future look like, in order to raise the urban quality of life and also reduce the impacts of climate change? At the same time, cities and metropolitan areas need to provide equal opportunity to all social groups and support social mobility. This can be done through accessible and impactful public services, such as housing, higher education and vocational training, public transportation and general infrastructure. 

  • From smart cities to a circular economy: Which economic, political or societal concepts can confront ecologic challenges in a sustainable way and at the same time, foster social cohesion and social mobility?  




The project is supported by the Transatlantic Program of the Federal Republic of Germany and funded by the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi).


Learn more about the project




Maria Skóra

Diego Rivas

published on

2 March 2020