In many European cities smaller and larger vacant, run-down buildings and sites can be found. Some of them have been abandoned for years, are unsafe and present a public security hazard. At the same time, they present a great opportunity for the sustainable urban development, in particular larger ones.
For this reason, 11 city partners from all over Europe have joint the URBACT 2nd Chance network (2016-2018) to develop local reactivation strategies for larger, degraded vacant buildings or building complex as a pilot project in their town. The buildings have lost their original purpose, are an important component of the cities’ cultural heritage and have been vacant since years, even decades. The joint aspiration was to reactivate those 'sleeping giants' and implement uses, not only oriented on private exploitation interests, but also on the interests of the common good and to take advantage of the opportunities the reactivation of these larger vacant buildings can provide.
Thus, the partners tested and applied new step-by-step collaborative reactivation processes for the development of a joint reactivation strategy, involving city administration, citizens, NGOs and economic operators to give them an active role in the revitalisation of the building.
Nils Scheffler, Lead expert for the URBACT 2nd Chance Action Planning network
Founder and head of Urban Expert, Nils Scheffler is a registered town planner with the Berlin Chamber of Architects, DGNB Auditor for sustainable neighbourhoods and trained in environmental and quality management. Since he has finished his studies of spatial planning in 2003 he has worked at both the local and international levels in the field of integrated, sustainable urban development and participation processes. For the URBACT programme he has been working as Lead Expert since 2008 in a variety of URBACT city networks.