Testing the City – Living and Working in Görlitz

© A. Putschke_IÖR-Media

This project offers interested people the opportunity to try out living and working in Görlitz, for free, with the aim to stabilise the number of inhabitants in the long term.


Görlitz is a medium-sized city, located on the Polish border, known for its large historical building stock. The city offers a diverse range of living and working space at moderate prices, with beautiful surroundings and a lively subculture. However, the city is also affected by demographic and socio-economic changes in the Lusatia region. The aim of the project was to analyse the potential and challenges of a medium-sized city as a living location, to combat the trends of population loss, higher vacancies, and decreasing importance. 


Following an open call for applications, interested people got the opportunity to try out living and working in Görlitz. For a period of four weeks, a free-of-charge trial flat and a workplace were offered. The project attracted people who weren't tied to a particular location, such as those who are freelance or work in the creative industries. An accompanying study investigated the wishes and experiences of this target group, resulting in recommendations for the future development of Görlitz, as well as general conclusions for medium-sized cities undergoing transformation. 


The project offers research findings based on real-world experiences in the field of migration and location-decision studies. Detailed insight into the importance of social and emotional factors in location decisions were investigated. In addition, everyday experiences were elaborated and potential opportunities for establishing the city as an attractive place to live were derived. Through long-term monitoring of the participants beyond the project, we were also able to gain insights into the process of individual decision-making.

Project team
Constanze Zöllter
Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development
Project team
Lisa Ludewig
KommWohnen Görlitz GmbH
Project owner
City of Görlitz Amt für Stadtentwicklung
Project owner
Project owner
Kühlhaus Görlitz e. V.
Project team
Jana Lübeck
Wildwuchs e. V.