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Join the online discussion about the redesign of Ernst-Abbe-Platz


The online participation for the climate-friendly redesign of Ernst-Abbe-Platz will start shortly. From 23.04.2024, all interested parties can participate on the participation platform of the city of Jena to discuss how Jena's heat hotspot can become a climate oasis. A wealth of information about the project can already be found on the platform.

Public participation launched with workshop

Public participation got off to a successful start last Friday with a workshop. Around 50 participants, including students, employees of the university, Studierendenwerk Thüringen and the city administration as well as younger and older citizens, came to discuss and work out what requirements there are for the area. After all, Ernst-Abbe-Platz is one of the central squares in Jena's city center and combines a variety of functions: It is a public transport connection point, serves as an event venue and as an outdoor area for the university. Several thousand pedestrians and students pass through and linger there every day. The requirements that need to be taken into account during the redesign are correspondingly diverse.

The completely sealed square is one of the hottest places in the city and at the same time an area with high usage, emphasized Mayor and Head of Department Christian Gerlitz in his introduction. There was no doubt that something had to be done here.

"Ernst-Abbe-Platz is one of the most important public squares in Jena's city center. Thousands of citizens pass through and linger there every day. A redesign should therefore meet as many requirements as possible. I would therefore be delighted if as many citizens as possible could get involved in the process. However, the outcome is still completely open," said Gerlitz, who thanked everyone for their great interest in the workshop.

Lars Liebe, Head of Urban Development, first took a look back and traced the development of the square, which began in 1911 as the factory yard of the main Zeiss plant. Over the decades, the district has undergone massive changes. After industry moved away, the Goethe Gallery, an underground parking garage, lecture hall buildings and the canteen were built here. Sculptures by the artist Frank Stella also found a home here.

In three groups, the participants then discussed the problems and potential of the square and formulated needs and requirements for the redesign. Innovative greening, the active use of rainwater, water features, light art, relocation of the parking garage entrances, mobile seating, clear pathways, vertical design and, above all, "more green" - the numerous constructive suggestions clearly showed how different the use and therefore the requirements of the square are. All the results were then compiled. Using a points system, the participants had the opportunity to rate what they considered to be the most important requirements.

Online participation begins

The results of the workshop will be published on the city's participation platform. From 23.04.2024, 14:00, to 12.05.2024, 24:00, they can be evaluated and commented on here. Further up-to-date information on the project will also be added to the platform in future.

Results to be incorporated into planning

The results of the public participation will be incorporated into the planning together with the requirements of the funding body. An important aspect of the redesign is a climate-adapted design. To this end, the federal government is supporting the conversion with funds of around 6.3 million euros as part of the "Adaptation of urban spaces to climate change" funding program. This funding of 85 percent of the conversion costs is intended to turn the current heat hotspot into another climate oasis in Jena's urban space.

The background

The approximately 10,000 square meter Ernst-Abbe-Platz functions as the campus of the Friedrich Schiller University and is therefore a central communication space for students. At the same time, the inner-city square combines a wide variety of uses, such as science, education, health, shopping, administration and gastronomy. The pedestrian frequency is further increased by the terminus of a streetcar line and the exits of the underground parking garages beneath the square.

Due to the aging design of the square, the constantly increasing pressure of use and the increasing heat load in the inner city area, the area no longer meets the requirements of modern, inner-city squares. Accordingly, a fundamental redesign is to take place. The underground car parks directly beneath the square, which only have a limited load-bearing capacity, pose a particular challenge. This means that it is only possible to backfill soil on a large scale or plant trees to a very limited extent.

Previous plans for the redesign

A competition to redesign and upgrade Ernst-Abbe-Platz was held back in 2012. A total of 18 entries from local, national and international planning offices were submitted to the jury. From these entries, three plans were each awarded a prize. Two entries received recognition for their outstanding details. Due to the difficult budgetary situation and the resulting lack of funding, the plans could not be implemented.