UTOPIASTADT

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UTOPIASTADT: make your passion change society

Utopia is everywhereWuppertal, Germany
Year Founded:
2011
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$1 million - $5 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

When cyclists meet urban gardening, when hackers collaborate with artists, when photographers share ideas with longboard-builders, when designers discuss perspectives with urban administrators and when all of this is scientifically accompanied in high-classed seminars - this must be UTOPIASTADT!

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

things you like doing best could change society for the better?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Increasing individualization is a contemporary issue society has to deal with. Individually it can easyly overburden people, leading to effects of social withdrawal, loss of faith in political solutions, sometimes even turn to antisocial or xenophobic behaviour.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Offering people a location for low-threshold and vital encouters and networking is the easiest way to prevent social withdrawal. Combined with a most broad offer for immediate participation - from coworking spaces to a fablab to urban gardening to repair cafes etc. - the base is formed for a striking impact on a society of individually responsible people. UTOPIASTADT offers this space. Space for ideas but also space for actions and experiments plus room for scientific contemplation. In allmost no time, every contemporary artistic, cultural, social or scientific trend or movement already found actors, space or room in UTOPIASTADT to grow and develop without ecconomic or conceptual pressure.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Let's go to the bicycle workshop: There where a couple of enthusiastic cyclists - a pretty unusual species in the topography of Wuppertal - wanting to tinker with their bikes in the open workshop of UTOPIASTADT. Not least because of the freshly built bike lane 'Nordbahntrasse' on the old railway passing behind UTOPIASTADT and the monthly offer of a bicycle repair cafe, the 'Mirker Schrauba' - they now call themselves - became increasingly popular. By now, there is a free bicycle rental for the 'Nordbahntrasse' with almost fourty bikes, over hundered donated bicycles to be prepared for rental, a nicely restored trishaw and a politically well perceived initiative to make Wuppertal - despite it's topography - a bicycle city.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

While a group of TransZent-Students (TransZent is a center for transformation research and sustainability) are currently collecting all information for this asked qualitative and quantitative data, we here can state, that by now there are over a hundered active Utopists, a fablab with 3d-printer and laser cutter, a fully equipped open wood and bicycle workshop, urban gardening, a small concert hall, artist's workshops, exhibition rooms, approx. 25 coworking places constantly used by approx. 50 coworkers, design office, conference rooms, a hacker space and monthly repair cafes for bicycles and electric gadgetry. All gained with almost only personal commitment. The society UTOPIASTADT e.V. has round 80 members. The conference FORUM:MIRKE, a meetup of the Mirke quarter's active protagonists initialised by UTOPIASTADT ist meant to be funded by the latest councillor's decision.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The mentioned councillor's decision further ruled the entry of the restoration of the train station building and its fore court into the urban development promotion programme and adopted an integrated action concept concerning the quarter Wuppertal-Mirke, strongly characterized by the developement of UTOPIASTADT. Especially the urban dev. prom. prog. is an important step towards the funding of the restoration, which is already signalised from the state's funding programme. This restoration is planned to root the whole project as long lasting and to gain more space for the increasing demands.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

3.5 Million Euros by the state's urban development promotion programme for restoring the landmarked train station building, 20% equi ratio, fundraising via charitable trusts, crowdfunding, donations and municipal support, organized by UTOPIASTADT e.V. - letting rooms, eg. to external conferences or private and commercial events, coworking, gastronomy - running a small hostel - workshops and seminars - constant fundraising by UTOPIASTADT e.V.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

For all we know there is no other initiative addressing the mentioned problems in such a wide range complexity. The Unperfekthaus in Essen is pretty close, but concentrates more on the personal outcome for artists or founders, Die Urbanisten in Dormund don't have a fix location. Both are close acquaintances of ours. We believe UTOPIASTADT's unique feature is not only the wide varity of contents but even more the vibrant concurrence of all aspects and modules, unrolling a strong social impact even yet in the start up stage.
Team

Founding Story

Beate Blaschczok and Christian Hampe, two communications designers, publish the statement magazine clownfisch since 2007. Releasing an issue dealing with 'SCHÖPFUNG' (creation), they staged a lot of events around that topic. During that time, numerous artists, scientists and other active protagonists started to interact in various ways around those events. The desire to stabilize this vital exchange of ideas and thoughts led to the plan to establish a lasting location, a 'concrete utopia'. Driven by the strong believe that even seemingly utopian ideas can be made real, the magazines next issue initialised creating UTOPIASTADT in the almost almost idle landscaped train station Mirke. UTOPIASTADT became real is lively growing ever since.

Team

There is no team in the strictest sense. Flat hirarchies makes everyone compulsory to take care for duties. The core are Beate Blaschczok, comunications designer, Christian Hampe, communications designer, Ralf Glörfeld: Dipl.-Ing. (equiv. MSc) electr. engineering (planing, design, transfer) Achim Konrad: Dipl. Sozialarbeiter (Social Worker, M.Sc. programme ‘Practical Research in Social Work and Pedagogy) and others excess characters here.
About You
About You
First Name

David J.

Last Name

Becher

About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

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Project
Organization Country

, Wuppertal

Country where this project is creating social impact

, Utopia is everywhere

Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Friends and family, Individuals, Foundations, NGOs, Businesses, Regional government, Customers, Other.

Supplemental
Awards: What awards or honors has the project received?

- Heimat. Zukunft. Kooperation. 2012 (Exhibition with the 38 most innovative projects of the region Bergisches Land)
- LBS Zukunftspreis NRW 2014 (10 projects awarded of 215 applications statewide)

Where have you learnt about the competition?

Internet research

Tell us about your partnerships:

Humboldt Universität Berlin - > Cooperation in context of SEiSMiC-Project of the EC
Wuppertal Institute - > Scientifical Partner, esp. TransZent
Bergische Entwicklungsagentur - > Mobility
Local business development - > Assistance from the beginning
Stadtsparkasse Wuppertal - > Provides the building
Alte Feuerwache Wuppertal - > Partner in (childrens-) social projects
Pro Mirke e.V. - > Rebuilding lido
hebebühne e.V. - > Nextdoor neighbour

Challenges: What challenges might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

Challenged each day, there's an unbroken spirit in all the active Utopists to overcome them with yet ever-growing ideas and creative solution plans.
One actual challenge is to structurize the whole project - e.g. to satisfy state funding guidlines - without choking off its vibrantly growing diversity.
After already having founded the reg. assoc. UTOPIASTADT e.V., the plan is to found a gGmbH (a charitabe limited company) for the operational business and an "UTOPIASTADTRAT", a form of council for actives of all groups and initiatives that associate under the idea of UTOPIASTADT.

Comments

JEAN FALL's picture

Hi! Come to Senegal and link up with us CINEWAX!