The ALT/BAU Transfer Network, as part of the European exchange programme URBACT, connects European cities with the aim of testing strategies for the revitalisation of vacant buildings. It is based on the experiences of Agentur StadtWohnen Chemnitz, an agency which was awarded "URBACT Good Practice" in 2017, and is now to be adapted and transferred to the six partner cities Constanța (Romania), Riga (Latvia), Rybnik (Poland), Seraing (Belgium), Turin (Italy) and Vilafranca del Penedès (Spain).
The agency as a successful initiative by the City of Chemnitz in collaboration with the private WGS mbH, works on the reactivation of vacant and derelict buildings, mostly listed, in Chemnitz's inner city. Chemnitz's vast Gründerzeit neighbourhoods from the industrial era in the late 18th and early 19th century are an essential part of the city's cultural heritage and identity. The agency addresses both the building owners as well as people and companies who are interested in a creative and sustainable re-use of the buildings as users or investors. The agency is understood as a coordination hub through which owners, potential users and investors as well as the administration can be connected. Through its work, it has already been possible to reactivate numerous vacant tenement buildings from the industrial era.
On 3 and 4 September 2018, the City of Chemnitz welcomed 13 representatives of the European project partners in the URBACT transfer network (see video). At this final meeting of the first project phase, the work and results of the Agentur StadtWohnen Chemnitz were shown and explained to the guests from the partner cities in the network through site visits and presentations. Through the introduction and networking of the project partner cities, the foundations are laid for the second project phase which will last until December 2020. With the support of the URBACT programme, the aim of the network is to support the six cities in setting up a coordination hub based on the Chemnitz model and in this way to counter their local vacancy problems and to protect their cultural heritage. To this end, transnational network meetings will take place in all seven cities and thematic working groups will be formed to deal with local implementation.