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Selb „Bürgerpark“


Temporary use of an inner-city commercial wasteland

In the former porcelain town of Selb, a sustainable investment concept could not be found for an inner-city wasteland space for many years. As part of a town-wide urban redevelopment process, a public ideas competition was praised for a temporary use of the site as a public park. Several contributions from the suggestions received were rewarded and implemented with the involvement of the public.


Der Bürgerpark in der EntstehungsphaseSource: Stadt Selb

The development of the town of Selb is closely linked to the porcelain industry. Over the course of the roughly 150 years in which this industry blossomed, this led to a close dependence between urban development and porcelain production. The sales crisis in the ceramics industry in the mid-1990s resulted in a considerable fall in employment and at the same time led to high population losses. In the last three decades, the population fell from 24,000 inhabitants to approx. 18,000 (2007). Unemployment is approx. 12 % and the average age of the population is disproportionately high; more than 26 percent of the population is older than 65.

The closure of the production plants has left large industrial wastelands in the urban area. The reduction in population, on the other hand, led to large levels of vacancies in the town's rented housing stock. In order to deal with this shrinkage caused by the economic structural change, new and temporary uses have been developed for the closed industrial sites. In addition, upgrading measures for the public spaces and adjustments to the housing stock have been undertaken because of the falling demand.

Project description

Bürgerbeteiligung bei der Gestaltung des ParksSource: Stadt Selb

For many years, new uses have been sought in vain for the former brewery site on the fringe of the historic Altstadt. Within the framework of the ExWoSt research project "Stadtumbau West" the town of Selb was able to offer a prize, through a public ideas competition, for a temporary use of the site. With the competition, ideas from the public for urban development were collected. Overall, 22 project contributions were submitted. Based on three winning proposals, expert planners devised a tangible implementation plan for a public park, which has been realised with public participation.

The design measures include landscape architectural aspects such as terracing, planting, the construction of footpaths and individual elements around the subject of porcelain. A multi-purpose space has been created, which can be used for markets, exhibitions or for playing boules. A chess board with glazed tiles has been realised in a central location and various seating possibilities have been created, which recall the porcelain industry. The implementation of the porcelain chess set was linked to a call for donations: The people of Selb were able to sponsor one of the 64 squares on the chessboard within the framework of many campaigns, the population was intensively involved in the realisation of the temporary use. For example, experts, the public and representatives of the town together filled stone baskets with plaster moulds, a waste product from the porcelain industry, and used them to build the boundary of the park. In this way, it was explained to the people that shrinkage can also mean an increase in quality.

Infotafel zum Ideenwettbewerb des BürgerparksSource: Stadt Selb

The park opened in November 2004 with the active participation of the public. The budget for the temporary use, including the planning services, totalled € 150,000. The temporary use has succeeded in steering public attention to the centrally located space. If a new commercial use of the space is found, the town of Selb remains open to all possibilities for returning the space to its original use.

Project chronology

Late 2002Inclusion in the ExWoSt research project Stadtumbau West and first development of ideas for temporary use
Mid-2003Public ideas competition held
11/2003Contract awarded for planning the temporary use
01/2004Town council decision on the design plan
03/2004Workshop with winners of the ideas competition
05/2004Start of building
11/2004Celebratory opening of the public park


Blick auf den neu gestalteten BürgerparkSource: Stadt Selb

  • To explain the subject of "shrinkage" to the public
  • To realise a temporary use of a commercial wasteland
  • To increase the attractiveness of the town centre
  • Public participation in the urban redevelopment
  • To strengthen the public's identification with the town and its history
  • To maintain the usability of an inner-city commercial wasteland

Types of measures

Blick auf den neu gestalteten Bürgerpark mit Porzellanfläche im SchachbrettSource: Stadt Selb

  • Public ideas competition
  • Architectural and landscape architectural expert planning
  • Redesign measures
  • Public participation in the planning and realisation of the measures


Blick auf den neu gestalteten Bürgerpark Source: Stadt Selb

Using the instrument of "temporary use", combined with a public competition, the town of Selb was able to achieve several successes. Firstly, it succeeded in revitalising the appearance of the inner-city and making it attractive. At the same time, the possibilities for the commercial use of the space were maintained. Secondly, the extensive participation process led to the people of Selb being actively involved in the redevelopment process and it also encouraged their identification with the town. Through its design, the park recalls the traditional porcelain manufacturing, which is an important part of the town's history, and provides a symbol for the change in the town. Since then, the park has been well received. Regular events are held there, such as the porcelain festival and the erection of the Maypole.


Further information

  • Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung (Hrsg.) (published by the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning): Stadtumbau West. Stadtumbau in 16 Pilotstädten – Bilanz im ExWoSt-Forschungsfeld Stadtumbau West (Urban Regeneration West. Urban Regeneration in 16 pilot cities) ed. 2008. Berlin/Oldenburg 2008.

The projekt site ist to be found at postal code: 95100 - town: Selb - street: Poststraße/Schillerstraße..

Poject site on Google-Maps: Selb Bürgerpark

Last update: 10.01.2018

Additional Information


  • Helmut Resch, Stadt Selb, Ludwigstr. 6, 95100 Selb, Tel.: 09287-883-157, Email:
  • Bundestransferstelle Stadtumbau West (Federal Transfer Office "Urban Restructuring in Western Germany"), FORUM Huebner, Karsten & Partner, Schlachte 1 / Erste Schlachtpforte, 28195 Bremen, phone +49.(0)421 - 696777-0, email:

Record inserted on 06.09.2009 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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