Thüringen, LeerGut-Agenten

Network for revitalizing vacant properties

In Thuringia, vacancy is visible in many places, especially in rural areas and smaller towns. With the term LeerGut, the IBA Thuringia explains that vacancy is not only its field of action but also a valuable resource. LeerGut is a storage for local history and identity, building materials and craftsmanship knowledge, grey energy and conversion potential. By providing inner-urban space reserves and development options, LeerGut and fallow land can help spare the further development of natural areas and agricultural land and contribute to strengthening rural communities.

In 2016, the IBA Thuringia made the activation of vacant properties the topic of its LeerGut conference. More than 250 people came to the Eiermannbau in Apolda for the event. Since 2017, the IBA has developed ideas and contacts for a Thuringian network to revitalize vacant properties, in order to continue this central concern beyond its own projects. One of the models was the nationwide network Immovielien, which was founded in Leipzig in 2017 with a focus on nonprofit real estate and urban development. On the initiative of the IBA Thuringia, the LeerGut Agenten were founded in 2018 as a Thuringian network for the community-oriented revitalization of vacant properties. Since then, the network has steadily grown with each of the now twelve local meetings held in Gera, Cobstädt, Tonndorf, Lauscha, Tannroda, Schweina, Schwarzburg and Ummerstadt, among others.

The LeerGut Agenten aim to support new users, municipalities and previous property owners in reviving old buildings and fallow land. Many vacant buildings and fallow land, including old factories, schools, accommodation facilities, administrative buildings, and farmsteads are too large for a single unit. Accordingly, it requires vacancy management, the formation of building groups, the development of usage and operator concepts, and advice on planning and building law, financing and funding, up to alternative forms of ownership such as building lease and cooperatives. 

The LeerGut Agenten link initiatives, knowledge, and experience so that good ideas become feasible projects. The goal is to show alternatives to speculation, decay, and demolition, but also to further construction ›on greenfield sites‹. In doing so, the LeerGut Agenten enable the personal development of the participants, strengthen the common good in the region, small town or village, and consider planetary boundaries, especially land, environment, and climate. With their self-image as Thuringian lobbyists for community-oriented real estate development, they are committed to the reuse and redevelopment of buildings and fallow land in rural areas and to a building culture that produces innovations in planning, financing, and funding.

In 2021, with the financial support of the IBA Thuringia, the LeerGut Agenten established a corresponding consulting offer with ›LeerGut Certificates‹. They aim to network, advise and support initiatives for the development of vacant properties, especially in the so-called ›Phase 0‹ - from idea to project. They have so far awarded 17 LeerGut Certificates for professional consultation. The range of projects included a former mayor's office, farmsteads, village pubs, grocery stores, and housing projects in a forest house. The on-site, appreciative consultation contributed to the motivation and qualification of the different initiatives and projects, especially in the areas of organizational structure, usage concepts, and legal forms, as well as urban and building planning and funding. The LeerGut Agenten also developed online formats for professional in-depth training and interregional exchange.

At the 8th Networking Meeting in 2021 at the Alte Feuerwache Weimar, the LeerGut Agenten networked with Quartier für Alle e.V., formerly known as WohnStrategen e.V. This collaboration gave rise to the idea of a future workshop for municipalities, which was implemented in 2022 in Apolda with 80 participants, in cooperation with the Thuringian Ministry of Infrastructure and Agriculture. In the same year, the LeerGut Agenten offered the training ›Leerstand als Chance‹ (Vacancy as Opportunity) for the first time at the Thuringian Municipal Academy, with a focus on new user groups as well as vacancy and land management.

In 2022, the LeerGut Agenten were granted the status of an IBA (International Building Exhibition) project, which came with continued financial support from the IBA. This is linked to the expectation that the LeerGut Agenten will establish a permanent structure for their work in order to continue their networking activities, advisory and training offerings, as well as their lobbying efforts for the preservation of existing buildings and a culture of renovation in Thuringia. The LeerGut Agenten offer themselves as an open, cross-sectoral platform for exchange and as a mediator of specialized knowledge and experience for the resource-conscious activation of vacancies in the public interest. The participants and target groups are both the entrepreneurial civil society, consisting of new users and property owners, as well as planning offices and municipalities, the state, and interested institutional owners and investors. The particular challenge is to financially secure the activity of the LeerGut Agenten in the face of the economically precarious situation of many vacancies and municipalities. Their societal relevance and breadth justify public funding beyond the duration of the IBA. With the LeerGut Agenten, an innovation was created within the framework of the IBA that is not visible in a single building, but rather strengthens and accompanies diverse actors in the sense of a new culture of renovation for Thuringia in existing building investments.

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The LeerGut Agenten regularly convene in networking meetings with experts and interested parties, visit established and emerging projects throughout Thuringia, create public awareness, and facilitate connections. Meetings have already taken place in Gera, Cobstedt, Apolda, Tonndorf, Schwanditz, Lauscha, Tannroda, Schweina, and at the neighborhood project ›Alte Feuerwache e.V.‹ in Weimar..
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Over 50 actors, initiatives, residential, cultural and commercial projects, administrative staff, planning and project offices, as well as construction professionals, are now represented in the broad network.

The LeerGut Agenten are members of the  Netzwerk Immovielien, which is managed by the Plattform e.V. in Erfurt.


Project Sponsors

Plattform e.V., Erfurt


Internationale Bauausstellung Thüringen GmbH

Contact Persons

Katrin Hitziggrad
Telefon +49 176 830 548 61

Dr. Bertram Schiffers
IBA Projektleiter


Netzwerk LeerGut-Agenten im IBA Finale 2023
Transferveranstaltung "Leerstand als Chance" - Zusammen denken, gemeinsam handeln
12. Netzwerktreffen Rodachtal
IBA Fachbeirat empfiehlt Projektstatus für die ›LeerGut-Agenten‹
11. Netzwerktreffen Sundhausen
Netzwerktreffen der LeerGut-Agenten bei IBA Projekt Haus Bräutigam
Fortbildungsangebot ›Leerstand als Chance‹ bei der Thüringer Kommunalkademie gestartet
Thema "Bestand als Ressource" beim Netzwerktreffen spezial online
9. Netzwerktreffen Schweina
8. Netzwerktreffen Weimar
7. Netzwerktreffen digital
IBA Fachbeirat empfiehlt Kandidatenstatus für die ›LeerGut-Agenten‹
6. Netzwerktreffen Tannroda
5. Netzwerktreffen Schwanditz
4. Netzwerktreffen Apolda
3. Netzwerktreffen Lauscha
2. Netzwerktreffen Cobstädt
1. Netzwerktreffen Gera

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