Now! Vote for change in Heidelberg
Dear International Heidelbergers,
On 6 November, you will have the opportunity to decide the course our city will take in the next 8 years. You are an important part of the city, animate Heidelberg and contribute to Heidelberg’s special scientific and economic strength as students, scientists or professionals. With your vote, you can support concrete changes in the coming years: more affordable housing, priority for bicycle traffic, heat-adapted public spaces, open spaces for a diverse culture.
As Lord Mayor, I want to ensure better interaction and the constructive participation of the entire city society. This also means integrating the perspective of the international citizens of Heidelberg even more. In dialogue with all interested parties and consistently oriented towards the matter at hand, I want to work with you to put the best solutions for all of Heidelberg into practice.
For more than 20 years, I have represented Heidelberg in the state parliament of Baden-Württemberg. From 2011 onwards, as Minister for Science, Research and the Arts, I worked on the best conditions for science and culture for over eleven years and was elected „Science Minister of the Year“ four times.
In September 2022, I resigned from the state government because I will devote all my energy to our city of Heidelberg without any compromises:
I want to take responsibility for Heidelberg as your Lord Mayor.
For this, I ask for your trust – and your vote on 6 November.
Making it easier for international Heidelberg residents to arrive
Whether students, scientists or specialists for the innovative companies in Heidelberg: international specialists contribute to Heidelberg’s scientific and economic strength and strengthen our city. My goal is to make it easy for them to arrive in Heidelberg. To this end, I will consistently expand the support structures and contact points for international professionals and companies in the city. Whether dealing with authorities, looking for daycare and housing or job opportunities for partners – I want to create an optimal environment that supports Heidelberg’s internationality in an unbureaucratic way.
Strengthening the innovative economy
Important future motors of Heidelberg’s economy are the innovative science landscape in the city and companies that are created in its vicinity. Even today, clever business ideas are being put into practice – I would like to further strengthen this start-up culture in cooperation with the city and the university.
Good ideas shouldn’t fail because of bureaucratic hurdles. That is why I would like to establish an enabling culture in the administration: with uncomplicated answers and courage for pragmatic solutions.
Promote cooperation between the city and science
The university and research institutions, the students and scientists shape the city. I want the city to create good general conditions for them and to involve them more in local policy decisions. That is why I would like to regularly invite student representatives to city committees – such as the municipal council – when decisions are made about student issues.
In addition, I will regularly meet with the academic facilities for an institutionalised exchange. Through a closer exchange between the city, science and civil society, better solutions for the challenges in Heidelberg can be developed. For example, on the topic of health.
Innovative and young companies need good infrastructures
I will specifically take start-ups into account when allocating commercial space and consolidate space offers for young companies from the creative sector. I will also work to ensure that more parts of the city are quickly and reliably connected to the high-speed internet.
More Creative spaces for Heidelberg
Heidelberg is Germany’s youngest city and has all the ingredients it needs to be a perfect home for the lively and creative spirit. But ideas only develop where they can find a home and flourish. More creative spaces for innovative cultural and creative projects, but also more sports areas and meeting places in public areas are therefore particularly urgent concerns. We need more courage to allow temporary uses and to simply try out new things. For this purpose creative headquarters should be created on the „Airfield“ and allow new ideas to grow. This will create more space for diverse, international culture in our city.
Affordable and diverse housing
Housing in Heidelberg must remain affordable! Particular attention must be paid to those groups that have particularly high needs – such as growing families or professionals with middle incomes, e.g. from day-care centers and nursing care. Leasehold contracts, concept assignments by the city and an active land policy help to create more affordable housing. When developing new areas, I want to focus on working with public welfare-oriented developers such as housing cooperatives. Building groups and solidarity-based housing projects can also play a special role – for affordable rents, as well as diversity and urbanity in the residential neighborhoods. The vacant buildings on Patrick Henry Village, some of which are in very good condition, I want to quickly open them up for pioneering use! In a short time, a relevant number of affordable rooms could be created for students or staff, e.g. for the staff of our clinics.
By bike or on foot, by bus and train or car sharing – many people are already travelling in an environmentally friendly way on their everyday trips. In order for even more people in and around Heidelberg to be able to switch easily to cycling or public transport, we need better bus and train schedules, a continuous network of cycle paths and more local transport lines to the surrounding area. And we must finally overcome the implementation backlog in Heidelberg’s transport policy – starting with the designation of bicycle lanes that have already been decided on, more traffic-calmed zones and a region-wide expansion of car-sharing services.
In this way, we combine effective climate protection with more quality of life in public spaces and greater safety for all.
The consequences of global climate change are also clearly perceptible in Heidelberg. In order to safeguard the health of the people of Heidelberg and to become climate-neutral by 2030, climate protection needs to be a top priority! We must not lose any more time now – the pace of action must be multiplied. This requires professional management at the highest level. Climate protection must finally become top priority, and this will involve close cooperation with the municipal energy suppliers, the municipal housing company GGH and the local trades. By 2030, all suitable building roofs of the city, GGH and the state will be completely equipped with solar systems – car parks, schoolyards, large squares will be covered with them. The district heating supply will be produced in a completely climate-neutral way and 30% more households will be connected. For better air in the city, more shade and more heat protection, I will plant 30,000 new trees by 2030.
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