Halle, capital of Saxony Anhalt has about 230,000 inhabitants. The old city lies on the eastern bank of the river Saale. West of the Saale the gigantic neighborhood Neustadt was built during DDR times. In the 90s Neustadt was inhabited by about 93,000 people. Nowadays there are only 45,000 inhabitants left in Neustadt.
About sixteen years after the Wende, Halle doesn’t shrink any more. The population is stable, according to Lars Loebner, head of the planning department of the city of Halle. There are however big differences between the different city districts. The old quarters of the city now slightly grow, the large plattenbau areas shrink even further.
When addressing the shrinkage problem Halle has stimulated investments in the towncentre and the old quarters around it, with success. In Neustadt only some apartments have been refurbished. On the edges a lot of buildings have been demolished.
The predominantly social housing in Neustadt is now mostly occupied by elderly people who started living there before the Wende and by immigrants. For a durable development of Neustadt, new generations have to move in. In order to stimulate that Lars Loebner wants to give Neustadt a ‘cool’ image. During an international design workshop with students the idea was suggested to connect Neustadt and Heide Süd. In Heide Süd you can buy a plot to build your own home. The question is if this strategy will work. The two areas are not well connected and very different.
Neustadt still has some fantastic empty plattenbau- buildings. These buildings are perfect to develop as ‘klusflats’ (cheap casco appartments, infill by the inhabitants) . Maybe such a strategy would be more successfull in making Neustadt ‘cool’.