Wuppertal, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

© Wolf Sondermann

Utopiastadt started in 2011 with 200 m2 of coworking space and has since expanded to about 40 000 m2 of central urban development space. It emerged as a complete bottom-up project from the city’s creative and engagement scene. It was conceived from the outset along the principles of community, participation and sufficiency, thus becoming a catalyst for experiments in sustainable social life:  communally used spaces; sharing principles in mobility, tools or premises; sustainable uses through repair cafés; futurology practiced in hacker spaces and theoretically in conferences with citizen science; practical testing of common good-oriented economic models, and much more.

“Utopia in Wuppertal, not only Engel’s grandchildren are jumping for joy. Also jumping for joy: Mike Groschek” (entry in the guestbook by Michael Groschek, Minister of Infrastructure NRW 2012-2017).

Facts and Data

  • Up to 2016, here’s a good overview (in German)
  • 2011: Opening 1st coworking space in Wuppertal.
  • 2012: Start 1st electric repair café of Wuppertal
  • 2013: Start 1st bicycle repair café of Wuppertal
  • 2014: Founding of open wood, metal and CAM workshop
  • 2014: Start of free bike rental with donated used bikes
  • 2014: Foundation of the support association Utopiastadt e.V.
  • 2014: Start of cooperation in real laboratories as a practice partner on the topic of “Business model for sustainable transformation processes”.
  • 2014: Start “Fairteiler”, food sharing station at Café Hutmacher
  • 2015: Foundation of Utopiastadt gGmbH by Förderverein Utopiastadt e.V.
  • 2016: Rental start of Wuppertal’s 1st free electric cargo bike, fully financed by crowd donations.
  • 2016: State of NRW grants funding for the renovation of the main building as part of the funding access “Take the initiative”.
  • 2017: City of Wuppertal sends forwarding notification for the state funds for the renovation of the main building as part of the “Initiative ergreifen” funding access.
  • 2018: Utopiastadt gGmbH secures approx. 11 000 m2 of space for community-oriented urban development with the help of a Sparkasse loan and numerous individual donations.
  • 2019: Utopiastadt gGmbH secures another approx. 25 000 m2 of space for public welfare-oriented urban development with the help of a Sparkasse loan.
  • 2021: Provision of Utopiastadt campus space for the international sustainability building competition “Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22”.

German Overshoot Day is far too early. Together we can #MoveTheDate. This project supports urban actors in finding solutions which create the future they desire.

The project is lead by the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP) of Wuppertal and Global Footprint Network and financed by Stiftung Mercator.

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