The Urban Offline Forum took place with great success in Dortmund. The fact that the topic – the future of inner cities – is highly topical both economically and politically was demonstrated by the broad public interest. The almost 300 attendees were a diverse mix: representatives of cities and municipalities, city marketing organisations, retailers, restaurateurs, real estate companies as well as representatives from politics and society. Since online trade has boomed massively, many inner cities are struggling with declining sales and vacancies. The old strategies no longer work, new interdisciplinary ideas and instruments have to be developed. “We urgently need to focus on the original core competencies of the inner cities,” stressed congress initiator Ralf Beckmann from the organiser Stadt + Handel, who is passionately committed to the inner city. “For economic success, urban city centres also need opportunities for encounters and a variety of uses – the spectrum of a functioning city centre is broad. Above all, people must be the focus of attention”.

In the run-up to the “Urban Offline Forum 2019”, the organisers have launched a competition for innovative city centre startups. A jury of top-class inner-city players judged the numerous entries. “A new generation of inner-city thinkers is needed,” stressed congress initiator Ralf Beckmann. “The award-winning startups each received prize money of 1,000 euros.

We are proud to be a part of the award-winning startups and looking forward to the next Urban Offline Forum in June 2020 in Osnabrück, Germany.