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Schweinfurt „Inner-City“


New ways towards a new inner-city profile

Traditionally, Schweinfurt was dominated by the mechanical engineering industry. At the end of the 90s, the city provoked a change of the economic structure and the image by systematically expanding services and culture in the inner city. In practising a consequent regulatory policy and an active land policy combined with public-private cooperation, Schweinfurt breaks new ground towards achieving a new inner-city profile.


Blick in die Fußgängerzone SpitalstraßeSource: FIRU GmbH

The city of Schweinfurt has around 54,000 inhabitants (2007) and has the function of a high-order centre. Historically, it has been dominated by the mechanical engineering industry but it is also increasingly characterised by the medical technology, the measurement and control technology and the plastics processing industries. The city provides just under 50,000 jobs (2007) and thus attracts a large number of commuters from the surrounding area. The challenges to urban development, caused by the change of the industrial structure in the field of mechanical engineering in the mid-90s, were all the larger.

With regard to the spatial division of functions in Schweinfurt, the inner city is situated between the business areas in the south and the residential areas in the north. This is why the city centre is affected by a high traffic volume, which has negative impacts on the residential quality in the inner city. Last but not least against this background, the residential population in the inner city has slightly decreased since 2000.

Nevertheless, the inner city of Schweinfurt offers a number of strengths and potentials on an area of 111 hectares. It includes the medieval old town and a town extension area of the 19th century with a mostly closed system of two- to five-storey buildings. The inner city is the shopping and service centre for local residents and commuters. The variety of offers, a manageable density and a pedestrian zone with circular pathway turn the main business area in the old town into an attractive shopping area. Since 2009, the traditional retail sector has been facing competition by a new shopping centre on the edge of the inner city.

Project description

Museum Georg SchäferSource: FIRU GmbH

According to the planned constellation in the mid-90s, the role of the whole city and the perspectives of the inner city had to be newly discussed, which led to a push of investments and functional reorientation of the inner city. The new orientation of the inner city towards services and arts aims at diversifying the job opportunities of the whole city. Another aim is to improve the quality of the residential function of the inner city and to stabilise it in quantiative terms. With the reorientation, the inner-city renewal gained an important status in local policies, the administrative sector and for citizens.

The City of Schweinfurt has started to expand the service and the cultural sector systematically. The Georg Schäfer Museum, the alteration of the public library in the Erbacher Hof building, the main customs office etc. became key projects. This group of buildings represents a cultural and educational centre in the old town. It was realised in an ambitious architectural style and within a historic context. Building culture-related requirements to future projects in the inner city as well are planned to receive high attention. In order to promote the intended image change, Schweinfurt argues for the qualities of architecture and urban planning as a marketing instrument. Furthermore, the inner-city development concentrates on redeveloping the old town, altering the municipal bath house into an art gallery, building a youth hostel, planning green areas and squares. The squares in the old town, a market square for major and market events, the “Postplatz” for people to have a rest, the “Roßmarkt” as main bus station, complement each other in functional terms.

In the four redevelopment areas in the old town, the city prepares gaps between buildings for individual residential housing. Families and elderly people are the target groups for housing in the inner city. Locations in green zones and on the River Main are improved in order to create an attractive housing quality. In carrying out the redevelopment activities, the city intensively participates in purchasing, refurbishing and modernising old buildings, in preparing properties and in marketing.

The master urban planning plan is set by an integrated urban development concept. Another relevant document is the city’s policy decision against admitting large-scale retail trade businesses on unintegrated sites. These are the bases on which master plans and concepts for urban areas clearly define the inner-city redevelopment. In order to finance these activities, urban development funds (Urban Development and Redevelopment Measures programme), EU funds (Objective 2), funds by “Bayerische Landesstiftung” (foundation of the Bavarian state government supporting building measures), municipal funds and private financial resources are combined.

The inner-city development is coordinated by an advisory and steering committee managed by the city’s Lord Mayor and supported by a large number of citizens. A neighbourhood management office serves to network stakeholders. In the context of this organisation, public-private partnerships carry out various projects and activities, especially building projects such as the Higher Social Court, the main customs office, the adult education centre. The operator of the new shopping centre participated in the costs for replanning public roads and squares and in the city marketing costs via urban development contract etc. For other measures in the inner city, the city council provides financial incentives through a city fund for example by awarding investment grants for designing façades. An inner-city non-trading partnership (50% owned by the City of Schweinfurt, 25% by absentee property owners, 25% by retail traders) finances activities of the inner-city neighbourhood management office (family brand for the shopping district, lighting master plan etc.) via a revolving fund. The City’s redevelopment department provides intensive construction consulting for improving the building culture quality. Competitions for structural engineering projects and in public areas are obligatory. Finally, there is a development association for the inner city of Schweinfurt, which plans to create an Urban Improvement District on a voluntary basis.

Project chronology

Since 1979old town redeveloped via four redevelopment areas
2000Georg Schäfer Museum completed
2006-2009Municipal bath house altered into an art gallery
2007-2008Youth hostel rebuilt
2009„StadtGalerie“ shopping centre opened


  • To diversify the job opportunities of the whole city
  • To reorientate the inner city towards services and culture
  • To strengthen the inner city’s residential function
  • High-quality architecture and urban planning
  • To promote the city’s image

Types of measures

  • Altering and constructing new public buildingsConcentrating cultural and educational facilities in the inner city
  • Modernising and constructing new residential buildings
  • Planning green areas and squares
  • Public-private cooperation
  • Neighbourhood management
  • Revolving funds
  • Providing construction consulting
  • Competitions


Reihenhäuser an der Stadtmauer, Oberer WallSource: FIRU GmbH

The City of Schweinfurt’s combination of consequent regulatory policy and active land policy with various measures to initiate private action and public-private cooperation has to be mentioned.In this way, Schweinfurt breaks new ground towards a new inner-city profile.

The change of the economic structure and of the image was caused by systematically expanding services and culture in the inner city. The commercial sectors meanwhile seems to have stabilised, services and administrations offer numerous jobs in the inner city. Furthermore, many jobs at Bavarian state authorities were created (e.g. Higher Social Court, Bavarian statistical office), but also smaller handicraft businesses (shoemakers, carpenters).


  • Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Bau und Stadtentwicklung (BMVBS) Online-Publikation Nr. 19/2010: Reurbanisierung der Innenstadt (Reurbanisation of the Inner City) (Abstract in English), >>more information

Further information

The projekt site ist to be found at postal code: 97421 - town: Schweinfurt - street: Schillerplatz 9.

Poject site on Google-Maps: Schweinfurt - Innenstadt

Last update: 15.01.2017

Additional Information


  • Stadt Schweinfurt, Stadtplanungsamt, Norbert Bauer, Markt 1, 97421 Schweinfurt, Tel.: +49(0)9721 – 54140, email: .

Record inserted on 28.02.2011 by the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) within the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning (BBR).

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