Newsletter sub>urban. Reinventing the fringe | Düsseldorf in 3 words gathering, galvanizing and storytelling

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Düsseldorf in 3 words: gathering, galvanizing and storytelling

Transnational meetings (TM) are all about sharing interesting ideas and focussing more in-depth on one of the challenges of our network URBACT III sub>urban. Reinventing the fringe. In less than a year the network will come to it's final conclusions, meaning that we are now at full speed. Host of our fifth meeting was Düsseldorf. A great team that welcomed every guest warmly, made up an interesting program, organised walks through the project sites, hosted a play and invited mind opening speakers.

Key facts of the transnational meeting:

  • Location: Düsseldorf, Germany
  • When: October 9-11
  • Central topic: Transforming for Social Inclusion
  • Programme


First Impressions

It's wonderful to see that every host of the transnational meetings raises the bar for the next one. Here are some first impressions:

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Warm welcome by the Mayor of Düsseldorf Thomas Geisel and Alderwomen Cornelia Zuschke. 

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Movie on Social Inclusion and the dynamics of the meeting in Düsseldorf. Click on link or on image above to watch video.


What is Düsseldorf all about?
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A visit to Rath in the fringe of Düsseldorf.

In numbers

  • Size of the metropolitan area: 2404 km²
  • Size of the city area: 217 km²
  • Density of the metropolitan area: 2800 inh/km²
  • Density of the city area: 2780 inh/km²


The history of Düsseldorf is marked by WO II. More than 80% of the buildings were destroyed or heavily damaged and during the reconstruction period afterwards, the city grew rapidly. A lot has changed yet again in the last decade: while the population increased significantly, the demographics of Düsseldorf shifted even harder.

The main challenge is maintaining a balance between the growing population and the limited available space for additional residential housing, taking into account the observation that the population growth is not equally distributed throughout the city. This has social, environmental and urban development consequences.

The main goal is to establish a strategy of neighbourhood development that allows every neighbourhood to share the benefits of redeveloping the city.


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Stefan Fischer-Fels, Artistic Director of Junges Schauspielhaus.

Most inspiring was our visit to the youth theater of D’Haus in Rath, Düsseldorf, were young actors perform for a young audience. D’Haus doesn't merely focus on youths per se, but also on establishing contact between different nationalities and cultures. This isn't just reflected by the diversity of the group of actors, but even more so by the meeting place ‘Cafe of Eden’ itself, which is a crucial part of the company where young people, refugees and the neighbours gather. Social inclusion in full effect!

Thank you very much for your inspiring introduction of the theatre, the food, conversations and the play: “Natives” by Glenn Waldron.


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Daniel Legault from Montréal inspires all participants with the way Montréal is realising mixed social housing successfully.

In every transnational meeting you meet people that leave an impression and can excite you to take action. General exchange between the partner cities generate this inspiration, but one speaker stood out. Düsseldorf invited Daniel Legault from partner city Montréal to give insight in how they are realising Social Inclusion. As an urban planner it is interesting to see that they are not only studying the topic or making theoretical plans. They have done it. The numbers speak loudly: since 2005 Montréal has realised: 21598 units 100% rent geared to income housing (social housing), 6883 units affordable housing (below-market units) and 32091 units of non-profit corporations and Housing Cooperatives.

Dive into reality and get a glimpse of how the city of Montréal is making it happen in this presentation.



Storytelling can be done on many levels. Since social inclusion is a very difficult topic that is very specific for a neigbourhood, it is not easy to bring a coherent and appealing story. During the workshop 4 teams zoomed in on 4 topics to understand the topic better: empowering citizens, social economy, affordable housing and mixing strategies. Illustrator Susanne Ferrari managed beautifully to bring all insights together in this drawing. 

On Twitter @suburbanfringe you can look at the short film where the illustrator explains her drawing.

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Two work sessions have been captivated in one great story: this wonderfull illustration. 


Special thanks goes out to the Düsseldorf team for making this happen!

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