What happened to David and Erica Williams

What is happening in the Erika?

The participatory project “Lausitzer Gartenstadt 2030” has started successfully. Lauta's mayor Frank Lehmann made this assessment at the beginning of the first public meeting of the steering committee on Monday, September 30th, 2019 in Laubusch. The first few weeks of the project work already provide answers to important questions:

What has been achieved so far?

On August 21, the official start was with a public balloon ride at the crane on the market square of Laubusch, where over 300 guests experienced a change of perspective. “Erika von oben” was able to show that the garden city is alive and well worth living in, despite the demolished and threatened houses, and the spaces that can be revitalized. At the same time, experts worked in an impulse workshop and formulated tasks for the project office that are now being tackled. The initiative was up and running within a few weeks. Right at the top of the agenda are citizens' talks, some of which were literally held over the garden fence.

How can the overall goal be achieved?

As a possible result of the 24 months of project work there is a statute for the garden city supported by the citizenship and the property owners. It should describe how the people in the historic industrial estate want to live in the coming decades. In addition to urban planning issues, planning law, advice on investments, monument protection, social interaction and, last but not least, the green areas of the garden city are at stake. As an example, the question was raised of how the partly unused laundry areas and the former park could be creatively redesigned. The renovation of the school on the market accommodates the plan to create an attractive housing estate for old and new Laubuscher residents.

What difficulties are there?

The willingness to participate is much greater than expected, even if the skepticism still prevails here and there. The makers face great challenges. In this way, demolition areas in the outdoor area are no longer building land at all. That must be changed as well as the impending decline of other houses. The most prominent example is Parkstrasse 3 in Laubusch, where a building that characterizes the district has been waiting for a necessary renovation for years. The fact that property owners, tenants and interested parties from neighboring communities have come to the committee meeting, however, is seen as a positive sign.

Where can those interested turn to?

An already very popular contact point is this website, which has made our motto an Internet address. It is www.erika.jetzt. The organizers would like to go one step further this autumn and create a contact point for all interested parties in the Erika colony with the citizens' office. We are talking about an empty shop or premises in the cultural center. The project office will, so to speak, plan publicly there.

What's next?

In addition to the citizens' office, further measures are to be specified by the end of the year. This includes a student competition in an “Erika summer semester 2020”. The aim is to have interdisciplinary teams research the question: How will garden cities work in 2030?

How do local initiatives benefit from this?

The project office depends on the support of local associations and institutions. The Heimatverein Laubusch e.V. has long since compiled all the information about the history of the former briquette factory, opencast mine and the Erika colony. The actors see the greatest opportunity in networking. Joint funding applications are now being discussed in order to gain further tailwind for the many initiatives.

What is the task of the steering committee?

The body is an advisory committee to Lauta City Council. It brings together city and local councils, representatives of the housing industry, associations and citizens. Its work is intended to ensure transparency and collective action. Lauta won the Simul + competition “Ideas for Rural Areas” in March with the initiative for a broad planning process to revitalize the historic garden city “Kolonie Erika”.

How much money is there left?

The city won prize money of 415,000 euros for the project work, of which 281,500 euros are still available. 113,500 euros were spent on urgent investments in the fire protection of the Laubusch cultural center. The work is already being implemented. The city council released a further 20,000 euros in May for the start-up phase of the project. According to the project office, this requirement was met with 19,888 euros. A further 50,000 euros are currently available.

Is there enough money to build?

No. Right from the start, the prize money was intended to initiate a new type of planning process. What is new is the opportunity to help shape everything from the first idea to urban planning and implementation. Inhabitants and experts should get into conversation earlier and systematically in order to work out viable solutions. Events such as ballooning on the crane at the start of the project should encourage as many people as possible to participate. 23 interested parties had submitted their suggestions and thoughts in writing. As a result, private and public investments in the hundred-year-old garden city should be made possible.

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