In an attempt to attract city dwellers to the countryside, the German village of Loitz is offering free housing and income for a year.
Currently, more than 55% of the world’s population are living in cities, and this number is only expected to rise in coming decades. Due to these demographic shifts, small villages and towns in the countryside are facing major decay and dereliction. Despite the continuous flock to big cities, local governments continue to raise flags about inadequate infrastructure and declining quality of life in cities. Solutions are popping up across Europe for city leavers fed up of the hustle and bustle of urban life and seeking a more peaceful existence in the countryside.
Your Year in Loitz offers a change of scenery and adventure to restless urban souls. This project takes place in the Loitz region of Germany; a region made up of small towns and villages in Western Pomerania. The area has been facing decline and shrinkage, but the fortune of Loitz has started to shift. Local Loitzers are participating to improve the image and quality of life in the region. In 2015 Loitz won the nationwide competition “City of the Future 2030+”. Loitz managed to take home the prize with its ambitious ‘Your Year in Loitz’ concept. The scheme proposed to attract creative city dwellers to the region by the promise of a basic income and residency in one of the area’s vacant houses, which they would, in turn, develop a creative usage concept for.
Until September 30, 2020, interested parties could apply to the scheme for free space, basic income, rent-free living and development opportunities that are hard to come by in big cities. In April 2021, the lucky winners, two ex-Berliners will move into a vacant house in Greifswalder Str.253a Loitz for one year and transform the ground floor of their house into a lively space for the community.
If you are bored and tired of living in the big cities, projects like ‘Your Year in Loitz’ can provide inspiration for a new rural adventure. This project offers a new, natural home not too far from the city; a place of openness for a new life, where regionality and urban innovation merge. It not only offers a healthy new environment to live in but also a chance to become part of the creative process of urban regeneration.