Preservation of the urban monuments
After decades of neglect the urban fabric at the heart of many east German towns was characterized by vacant real estate and by signs of decay; there was a danger that important cultural ensembles would be lost. In order to save this endangered cultural heritage, in 1991 central government joined forces with local authorities to launch a special programme for the preservation of urban monuments.
In 2009, this programme was also introduced in west German states. Here, too, the focus is on looking after the kind of important historical centres, buildings and ensembles will that it is in the public interest to preserve. Since then, the focus has not only been on historical town centres but also on other places that have defined the character of a town, suburban districts, areas with buildings dating from the Wilhelminian era and settlements dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries.
The goal of the programme: to preserve the integrity of historical town centres and urban districts, with their characteristic buildings, streets of houses and squares, to ensure their upkeep and to develop them. What the programme hopes to do is to transform them into living places, places that are equally attractive to live and work in, to enjoy culture and leisure activities in, places that will appeal both to residents and visitors. The programme contributes to bolstering the local SME economy, particularly small trade businesses.
With the investment programme national UNESCO World Heritage sites, the central government in Germany is also, from 2009 through 2014, promoting the development and care of Germany’s world cultural heritage and world natural heritage. The programme encourages investment measures and ideas of an exemplary nature for planning and developing these world heritage sites.