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2nd NEWSLETTER
June-July 2019

Alt·bau [ˈaltˌbaʊ̯] noun, German, m – older construction, built before a certain point of time
ALT/BAU URBACT Transfer Network Alternative Building Activation Units

“PROPERTY IS SACRED IN LATVIA”

Despite this statment, many of our partner city Rīga’s historic buildings are in a worrying state of disrepair. Either for speculation or for owners’ financial limitations, change is slow. On 12 and 13 June 2019 the whole network met in the Latvian capital Rīga.
Riga Site Visit

STICK AND CARROT

The City of Rīga has set up the grausti.riga.lv where dilapidated buildings are publicly collected and documented. The information does not only come from the administration’s files but everybody can contribute. A formal procedure decides if buildings are ranked Categories A, B or C, reflecting the different states of disrepair. The owners of ranked buildings are subject to considerably increased property taxes.

Screenshot grausti.riga.lv
On the other hand, owners willing to renovate their historic buildings/monuments can claim tax relief or even apply for funds from the city’s co-financing programme. A similar strategy is followed by the urban development grants in place through the federal and state grant programmes in Germany that very effectively helped to initiate the revitalisation buildings in Chemnitz.
For more information from Rīga, check out the following links to the presentations in the meeting on the grausti.riga.lv website and the co-financing programme for the preservation of historic monuments.

“OCCUPY ME”

In 2014, hundreds of stickers started to pop up on vacant buildings and spaces. “Occupy me” they exclaimed, calling for a new awareness and occupation of lost space. Since then, the Free Riga initiative started to organise projects and use social and cultural functions to create additional value for the neighbourhoods and the city. But not only searching for temporary but effectively transitory uses with long-term benefits for all partners.
Occupy me sticker

Free Riga is supported by the city administration and was part of the now finished URBACT “Refill” network. Drawing back on experiences from Leipzig (“Wächterhäuser”) and other European cities, 22 house projects were created to date. One of them, Kalēju iela 57 in Rīga’s historic centre with its mix of housing, social and commercial functions was part of the site visit during our Network’s Transnational Meeting in June 2019. And there is more to come: Rīga constantly searches for options on how to invite creative uses to fill up vacant space. One recent project – Tallinas ielas radošais kvartāls – is currently blooming up as a cultural space: More info in the Free Riga presentation.


Jordi Cuyàs Soler
“We have learned to look more immediately for the use of empty premises; urban measures are important, but also economic and social ends. The temporary use of empty properties for social or economic promotion purposes until they are fully restored, is an idea that we have seen carried out in Riga and that can help us to advance. We are now thinking of using, in a shared way among several entrepreneurs, some old wineries to make wine again; what we have seen makes us think if we must to have 100% to begin with or we can start it with a temporary use.”
Jordi Cuyàs Soler, ULG Coordinator, Vilafranca del Penedès

WHAT’S BUILDING UP?

On 18 and 19 September the ALT/BAU network will meet in Constanța (Romania) for its 3rd Transnational Thematic Meeting. To get an impression on what awaits us during the meeting, have a look at the following video:
Constanta Video

ALT/BAU NETWORK PARTNERS

Chemnitz (Germany)
Constanța (Romania)
Rīga (Latvia)
Rybnik (Poland)
Eriges, Seraing (Belgium)
Urban Lab, Torino (Italy)
Vilafranca del Penedès (Spain)

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Follow this link to our 1st Newsletter (January-May 2019)

 

URBACT Transfer Network "ALT/BAU" (urbact.eu/alt-bau) and
URBACT Good Practice Agentur StadtWohnen Chemnitz (www.stadtwohnen-chemnitz.de)
are projects by the City of Chemnitz in Cooperation with WGS mbH
Weststraße 49, 09112 Chemnitz, Germany

Contact: Martin Neubert – Project Coordinator
Sabine Hausmann – Communication Officer
+49 371 355 70 29  |  +49 172 592 33 10
urbact@stadtwohnen-chemnitz.de

CEO of WGS mbH: Dipl.-Ing. Jens Wagner
Handelsregister: Chemnitz / HRB 2338, Ust.-ID: DE140856331