Award / Auszeichnung | 06/2023

New European Bauhaus Education Champions 2023

Danube Design Lab Ruse

BG-7000 Ruse

Winner | Prioritising the places and people that need it the most

The Collective Foundation

Vereine / Verb├Ąnde / Kammern


  • Geb├Ąudetyp:

    Kultur-, Veranstaltungsgeb├Ąude

  • Projektgr├Â├če:

    keine Angabe

  • Status:

    In Vorbereitung

  • Termine:


In Ruse, deindustrialisation has left the Danube river detached from the city, while career and social opportunities for youth have diminished. The Danube Design Lab empowers socially excluded youth to change their environment. With help from mentors and in dialogue with officials, vocational school students design public space that opens the riverfront for people. They have the opportunity to learn through experience how to find allies to realise their creative vision, and they become social entrepreneurs who activate urban and civic development.

Limited social and job prospects cause youth alienation and migration: in 2010-2016, nearly 10% of people aged 15-25 left Ruse. Trade school students, in particular, are even more excluded from public life and professional development, and they distrust local institutions. The system of vocational schools no longer adequately corresponds to the labour market. Despite their skills these students face obstacles in their career paths; they need more mentorship and they lack civic competences. On the other hand the symbol of Ruse - the Danube river - is largely disconnected from the city, even though it has the potential to once again become a source for social and cultural activities, tourism, and connection to nature.

The Danube Design Lab employs placemaking as a creative mechanism to integrate vocational students and their skills both into the urban and the social fabric of their city. đÉs a result of the project, Ruse Municipality included the creation of active public space for sports, art, social activities, and tourism on the riverbank as a goal in its Plan for Integrated Development of the Municipality 2021-2027. The municipality plans to apply for European funds to help realise this goal. The Danube Design Lab has also united a wide network of local stakeholders, activists, artists, businesses, and NGOs, creating an active community for urban and civic development around the initiative.