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Sprecher*innen: Miriam Venn

Miriam Venn is social scientist and scientific research assistant in the project: Transformation town - Citizens do research fpr a better life (supported by the Federal Ministry of Eductaion and Research)

Miriam Venn is social scientist and scientific research assistant in the project: Transformation town - Citizens do research fpr a better life (supported by the Federal Ministry of Eductaion and Research). The project is conducted by the member organisations of the so called "transformation town: Neue Effizienz, Utopiastadt, Wuppertal Institut und Zentrum für Transformationsforschung und Nachhaltigkeit (TransZent) der Bergischen Universität Wuppertal. She is certified systemic coach, mediator and trainer for key skills. She is founder and coordintor of a volunteer refugee organisation in her hometown.

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Utopiastadt, the former railway station ”Bahnhof Mirke“ and its surrounding area is located in the north of Wuppertal, a city of the region „Bergisches Land“ in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) with 360.000 inhabitants. The exposed position - directly located at the most used cycle track in Wuppertal, close to the city centre and a highway, combined with the spirit of innovative making and creating – makes it one of the most popular venues in Wuppertal.

In 2007, the clownfisch agency was founded to publish a “statement magazine” dealing with different societal topics. The 2009 issue however raised discussions about the realisation of visions and concepts enhancing people’s quality of and satisfaction with life and how they could be implemented. The idea of establishing Utopiastadt was born. And only two years later restoration works on the run-down railway station building were initiated and the first co-working spaces and ateliers started off conducted by the new formed non-profit limited liability company Utopiastadt gGmbH. Since then, a lot of initiatives and organisations found a place and space in the building to work on their perceptions of how to make the city a more liveable place and foster social cooperation. The project was initially meant to run for a trial phase of two years but it has proven to be an enrichment to the quarter and the city as a whole. So today Utopiastadt is known as a place where utopia is lived and continuously enhanced. The creative cluster and city-hotspot is sustained by the broadness of civil engagement. As a city lab of utopias, visionary ideas and innovative business models it is furthermore focal point of creative city development and urban transformation – with supraregional mass appeal. Impulses are also set on an international level by co-research. Utopiastadt offers everyone a place where future ideas are shared and together brought one step further – and even more, a place, where ideas not only stay ideas but can be tested and realised. In different modules, professionals, more than 150 volunteers and amateurs work together cooperatively and collaboratively in the different fields of better life and sustainability. Schools, politics, science and other non-profit organisations are often visiting Utopiastadt and cooperate as partners in various projects. Visitors in Utopiastadt find an open repair shop/garage, urban gardening, a free bike rental, a hackerspace, food sharing, an open knowledge lab and much more next to a café, concerts, dance performances, outstanding open-air festivals, literary readings and markets. So it is not surprising that Utopiastadt already won several prices such as “LBS Zukunftspreis 2014” (Price for Future) “Orte des Fortschritts NRW 2015” (Places of development) or CREATIVE.Spaces NRW in 2018. And most important: Utopiastadt is continuously growing and influencing the urban transformation process. The new Utopiastadt Campus will be a forward-looking rolemodel of how to successively build an integrative campus at the interface between social affaires, culture, sports, science, recreation and microeconomics on 50.000 sqm fallow land – oriented towards common goods.