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2022 RSA CEE Walking Tour Grünau – the model district of socialist GDR

14 September 2022 to 14 September 2022
Leipzig, Germany
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This pre-conference walking tour is optional and free of charge.


Grünau – the model district of socialist GDR. Old glory and new divides.

As an alternative to the classical Leipzig tour, which we can only recommend, we will explore not all, but one district of Leipzig. We shall start directly at Jahnallee Campus, the venue of our conference. Right in the middle of the campus square, we will take a closer look at the monument, which was removed from the main university building in 2006– the Karl Marx-Relief and the revolution of the communist international. After learning the history of the university and the campus, we are crossing the street and will take tram number 3 in direction to the heart of the Grünau district. It was the 3rd largest GDR large panel system-building district during the GDR era with a total of 8th microraions, and was finalized by 1988.

After the fall of the wall, the district witnessed major disruptions, symbolically and literally. Following the downgrading demographics, many of the buildings were included into a program of demolition, reduction in size and height, or reconceptualization. Large groups of the pre-transition generation, now at age, continued living in the district, but with new neighbours. The district hosts the largest part of migrants and refugees in Leipzig, living next-door with "native" German folks, who constitute the highest number of income support receivers (the so called Hartz 4) per capita in a single district in Germany.

The short excursion to Grünau will display the old life and the new divides in a former socialist model district and will give us a look into its past, present and chances for the future. We will gain insights of developments of post-socialist panel districts, typical not only for the GDR, but for elsewhere in the former socialist world before 1989, as a counter example of gentrification.


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Click here to view more information on the 2022 RSA CEE Conference.


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The Regional Studies Association works with its international membership to facilitate the highest standards of theoretical development, empirical analysis and policy debate of issues at this sub-national scale, incorporating both the urban and rural and different conceptions of space such as city-regions and interstitial spaces. We are, for example, interested in issues of economic development and growth, conceptions of territory and its governance and in thorny problems of equity and injustice.

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