Shaping change together

At the 1st Structural Change Conference of the Düren local government district, which was held in Düren’s new conference centre on 24 June concurrently with the 7th Future Laboratory indeland, the representatives of the 15 municipalities placed their solidarity squarely in the foreground. And that was obvious not only in the “wool act” at the end of the conference, in which 70 balls of coloured yarn joined all participants in a single network.

“A competition of ideas will now be decisive,” district head Wolfgang Spelthahn told the 300 participants with regard to the 15 billion euros in funding proposed by the Structural Commission in Berlin. “In the end, a good model and a convincing overall concept will determine our success.”

Jens Bröker, CEO of indeland Entwicklungsgesellschaft, is looking optimistically toward the future: “The Rhineland coal region has the potential to become a European centre. However, embedding the compromises of the Structural Commission will be key, among other measures through a national structural reinforcement act. This would enable us to both shape the economic changes in the Rhineland coal region and further develop it sustainably as Europe’s largest landscape recultivation project.”

The ideas from state-level policy-makers (Dr. Patricia Peill); the science and research sector (Prof. Dr. Harald Bolt from Forschungszentrum Jülich and Prof. Dr. Bernhard Hoffschmidt from DLR); the high-level podium discussion with district executive Wolfgang Spelthahn, Alexandra Landsberg (MWIDE NRW), Ralph Sterck (Zukunftsagentur Rheinisches Revier), Prof. Dr. Christiane Vaeßen (Region Aachen Zweckverband) and Dr. Reimar Molitor (Region Köln/Bonn e.V.); the town-hall meetings with 13 municipal mayors; the paper Expert Contribution 2.0 for a new regional planning, presented by Oliver Lühr (Prognos AG); and from the audience itself through just-in-time online polling and word cloud tools resulted in highly concentrated mental and emotional networking.

As EwiG CEO Bröker had previously remarked, only this broad basis could form the foundation for a successful structural transformation. “The concern for a good future is not a matter for any single group: the general welfare is the responsibility of us all. A good future is only possible together.”

The conference was moderated by Dr. Stephan Kaußen.

Photos and sources: indeland Entwicklungsgesellschaft 2019