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A spatial development focus for the Harz region: IMPULS kick-off event in Halberstadt

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IMPULS kick-off event in Halberstadt © Pressestelle Stadt Halberstadt
IMPULS kick-off event in Halberstadt. From the left: Mr Szarata (Halberstadt), Mr Balcerowski (Landkreis Harz), Mr Thäger (Ministerium für Landesentwicklung und Verkehr), Mrs Hartz (agl Hartz)

The debate about creating equal living conditions in all regions has gained considerable importance in recent years due to increasing imbalances. The term “supposedly detached regions” comes up especially in the context of discussions about the future of rural areas. Demographic changes (ongoing ageing and shrinkage) and a lack of an “Oberzentrum” also pose special challenges for the municipalities in the Harz region. The lack of accessibility to surrounding “Oberzentren” not only compromises the provision of high-quality services of public interest, but the region also lacks a spatial development focus.

The IMPULS project has set the goal of developing a cooperation model for the mutual fulfillment of functions for the provision of services of general interest with the municipalities of Halberstadt, Wernigerode and Quedlinburg. The cooperation intends to improve and consolidate the cooperation of the participating municipalities in order to ensure the provision of high-quality services of public interest for the entire region. The designation as a “funktionsteiliges Oberzentrum” could also normatively secure the spatial development focus of the region.

On September 9, 2021, the official kick-off event of the IMPULS project took place in the city hall of Halberstadt. In two panel discussions, the strong motivation of the participants to tackle the existing challenges and to form future-oriented cooperation in close collaboration was made clear. The expectations range from improved cooperation between the municipalities of Halberstadt, Wernigerode and Quedlinburg to a regionally coordinated concept for the safeguarding of the provision of services of public interest, to a designation as an “Oberzentrum”. From the scientific point of view, this model region could be the opportunity to establish the first practiced “oberzentrale Funktionsteilung”. Overall, there is a consensus on the region’s outstanding potential to achieve the goals set.

In the next step, an inventory of local and regional stakeholders as well as the spatial distribution of the services of public interest is carried out in coordination with the project partners. Together with existing analyses and based on the basic principles of the division of functions, a SWOT analysis of the existing central provision and development functions in the Harz planning region is carried out and forms the basis for the development of a cooperation model.