October 28, 2014, Riga

Opening: Weltstadt – Who creates the city?

Exhibition: 28.10. - 08.11.2014 // Goethe-Institut, Riga


After a succesful opening of WELTSTADT in Berlin, the exhibition is currently traveling around the world. Since then it has traveled to Prague, Johannesburg, New York, Plovdiv and most recently to the Goethe-Institut in Riga.

The Weltstadt exhibition opening in Riga on October 28th 2014 was followed by a lively discussion of the exhibition's main themes and their meaning and relevance for the local situation.

Who develops and builds the city? Who creates the cities’ future? A working group of artists and urban activists in Riga understood these questions as essential in order to better understand the contemporary challenges in dynamic and complex urban development structures. Will the city of the future be designed by experts, decision makers and investors or will new actors take the initiative to define and articulate their opinion?

Since 2012 the local Riga „Empty Spaces“ activist group worked and fostered their ideas and visions, forming a new movement – „Free Riga“ has radically popularized a discussion questioning the situation of abandoned houses and spaces in Riga. The exhibition now shown in Riga visualizes on the one hand the working process from „Empty Spaces“ to „Free Riga“ as well as showing possible connections to some of the other Weltstadt projects all around the world!

The exhibition builds not only a bridge between past and future, but also in between the multilayered urban spaces, on various continents and its involved actors. Empty Spaces, the Riga-based Weltstadt project, focuses on the transition, the urban shift from classic industrialization towards new forms of settlements, urban spaces and its architectural realization. Abandoned spaces and buildings are tremendously dominating certain central areas of the European Capital of Culture in 2014. The working group has devoted itself to create an awareness about these left-behind post-industrial, post-soviet as well as Art Nouveau and wooden buildings with a high heritage value.

The opening of the exhibition was followed by a Baltic network meeting of urban activists from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. It was decided to continue working on the many challenges connected to empty spaces in Latvia's capital and furthermore to reach out to Riga's Baltic neighbors in order to create a strong network and future collaboration.


Do not hesitate to contact us in case you are interested in showing WELTSTADT in your city.

Weltstadt – Who creates the city? is curated by Matthias Böttger, Angelika Fitz and Tim Rieniets (until 2013).

WELTSTADT – Who creates the city? is an initiative by the Goethe-Instituts and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety. 



All photos © Jonas Büchel