‘Weltstadt’ Project Unites New Models of Citizenship All Over the World
Global Branches of the Goethe Institute Connect different projects for participatory citizenship towards global improvementSeptember 01st, 2016
The German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development is supporting projects organized by the Goethe-Institutes and their local partners. It is currently working in major western cities such as New York and Madrid, in addition to Bangalore, India, and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Our world is changing faster than we can even imagine, and the places we live in reflect these changes. Towns are becoming cities and cities are turning into megacities which are expanding every day. It is easy to forget that it is the people, rather than the landscape, which sculpts a city. We are not merely inhabitants in the place where we live; rather we have been citizens from day one.
The purpose of the Weltstadt project is to support the development and implementation of projects which aim at giving new life to neglected areas. Top-down initiatives to solve inequality in cities often remain ineffective as they fail to influence local residents. For this reason, the Weltstadt has been helping initiatives characterised by a bottom-up approach in the last few years.
It has supported research in Riga and Belgrade about cultural actions in abandoned neighborhoods. In Bangalore and New York, Weltstadt has helped with the creation of a network for crowd-sourcing projects, which consist of implementing projects through voluntary contributions of those who are not directly involved but nonetheless care about its success. In Brazil and in Southern Europe, several initiatives of co-production and sharing have been organized.
Meanwhile, a Weltstadt exhibition is travelling the world in order to promote the importance of this initiative. The project doesn’t concern any specific area, as it faces issues common to the entire global civilization. The exhibition is now taking place in Mexico City – in the framework of the German-Mexican year - and it has previously been held in Berlin, Belgrade, Johannesburg, New York and Riga.
Thanks to this initiative, a new vision for our cities doesn’t seem to be too far-fetched.