What does our future in Europe look like? In coordination with ARTE, SARAH SCHILL (36) is traveling to five European cities in search of new ideas and concepts. She wants to get to know the people and initiatives that are inspiring our future and show us Europe's most exciting urban centers.
Cities have always been the driving force behind social change. Today nearly 70 per cent of Europe's population lives in urban centers while modern forms of communication are increasingly connecting young people around the globe.
Sarah follows friends she's met over the Internet from Krakow to Toulouse and from Dortmund to Maastricht all the way up to Tallinn. Her focus will not be on big metropolises, but on slightly smaller cities that are in the public eye because of the innovative solutions they are coming up with due to unique challenges they are facing.
Krakow, for example, which has always been the intellectual and cultural hub of Poland, is an up-and-coming hotspot of global investment while Toulouse has turned into one of the most important technology centers in Europe as a result of its aerospace industry. By contrast, Dortmund has been forced to reinvent itself since the decline of mining and heavy industry in the area. Maastricht stands out first and foremost due to its broad mixture of independent initiatives and a liberal municipal policy, which focuses on quality of life instead of just economic growth. Meanwhile, Tallinn, unlike any other city in the world, offers free WiFi in nearly all of its public spaces – even parks – and has liberated itself from its socialist past to become a pioneer in the integration of modern technology into the daily lives of its citizens.
It is SARAH's dream to find an innovative, cosmopolitan yet sustainable city in Europe driven by citizens who are creatively shaping their own future. Is it just a utopian dream or does this ideal city really exist right here in Europe?