SolarGardenCity Hoyerswerda, old town – climate-conscious re-valorization of urban wasteland

Background and Goals

Hoyerswerda – formerly the centre of the lignite coal and energy industries of the GDR – has shrunk from 71,000 inhabitants in 1990 to some to 37,500 today. 150,000 jobs were lost in the region in this time. The regional climate has changed significantly, particularly due to the  large-scale lowering of the groundwater level caused by the mining industry. Meanwhile, the mining landscape is slowly being transformed into a recreational area (the "Lusatian Lakeland"), shortly to become Europe's largest artificially landscaped lake area. The new town will continue to shrink, but the old town is to be strengthened in the long term, particularly by residential, service, trade and non-disruptive industry projects. Despite intensive efforts, attempts to revitalize the inner city wastelands have so far been unsuccessful.

It is against this background that the vision of the "SolarGardenCity" was developed, encompassing two wasteland areas in the northern city centre with a total of around 6 hectares. In this context, the term "solar" stands for climate protection, energy efficiency and renewable energy, "garden" stands for climate adaptation, vegetation development and temperature compensation, while "city" stands for inner city development, urban life and short distances. Once the renovation of the existing buildings is largely completed, the centre of the old town is to be developed into an attractive location with particular emphasis on new residential properties for sale and for rent, residential options for senior citizens, and small business and industry.

"SolarGardenCity" is a vision for a climate-conscious revitalizing of the urban wasteland sites in Hoyerswerda, which will become a reality with the aid of the instrument of project development. The "SolarGardenCity" project is derived from the energy and climate protection concept. At the same time, it is also an element of the intended regional economic and resource development and of strategic importance in the context of the city repairs.

Project development is perceived as a central module of real estate business strategies. The objective is to work out how the project development can play a supporting role:

  • in urban planning, resulting in attractive inner city neighbourhoods;
  • in construction, resulting in buildings attractive to both users and investors;
  • ecologically, resulting in an innovative contribution to climate protection and adaptation;
  • politically, as a tangible success of policy measures;
  • commercially, resulting in a range of services with a unique selling point.

To this end, the following steps are necessary:

  • Establish a suitable stakeholder mix and secure necessary collaborations;
  • Manage inalienable conditions such as planning law, availability of land at reasonable prices, infrastructure and utility connections according to the stipulations of the energy and climate protection concept;
  • Positioning on a difficult housing market;
  • Identify relevant target groups (market analysis) and get them interested (market test);
  • Present and evaluate the design media, technologies and measures for climate protection and adaptation for potential property users and buyers;
  • Develop and test a marketing model;
  • Moderate and mediate in conflicts in the area of climate adaptation/climate protection – urban development – profitability.

Content time


Research area/region

  • Germany
Region of implementation (all German federal states)
  • Baden-Württemberg
  • Saxony
Natural spatial classification
  • South-Eeastern basin and hills
Spatial resolution 


Steps in the process of adaptation to climate change

Step 1: Understand and describe climate change

Approach and results 

Recent regional climate projections, scenarios, and information are provided by the DWD (German Meteorological Service). At the city level or neighbourhood level, reliable projections are still lacking.

Changes in annual average values are normally not critical factors with regard to climate change adaptation in the real estate and housing industry. Far greater significance must be attached to the increase in extreme weather events.

Parameter (climate signals)
  • River flooding
  • Heat waves
  • Extreme precipitation (incl. hail, snow)
  • Storm
Further Parameters 

extreme weather events

Step 2a: Identify and assess risks - climate effects and impact

Approach and results 

The effects of the increase in extreme weather events are considered:

  • Heat waves particularly affect building users and require countermeasures in the form of careful site planning, technical building equipment and changes in user behaviour.
  • Driving rain, hail, and storms can pose new problems for the building shell.
  • Heavy rainfall and floods affect the suitability of land for building.

Step 3: Develop and compare measures

Measures and/or strategies 

In addition to climate protection measures such as energy saving, increased energy efficiency, and renewable energy (passive & active use), the "SolarGardenCity" vision also considers adaptation measures, such as improved temperature compensation for heat relief, adapted water management, vegetation development for improved air quality.

A focus on innovative solutions for the climate change (climate protection and climate adaptation) can be a unique selling proposition and ensure a successful positioning on a difficult housing market.

Time horizon
  • 2071–2100 (far future)


Funding / Financing 

Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS) and the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR): KlimaExWoSt - ImmoKlima

Project management 

Promoter: asenticon AG;
Project researchers: R & B Research and Consulting


City council, housing association Hoyerswerda, housing association habitats Hoyerswerda, urban economic and utilities, urban development company,
Corporate network / Project network Hoyerswerda, Saxon Energy Agency Dresden, Martin-Luther-University Halle


Bundesinstitut für Bau-, Stadt- und Raumforschung (BBSR)
im Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung (BBR)
Deichmanns Aue 31-37
53179 Bonn

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Fields of action:
 buildings  spatial planning, urban and settlement development