The Ruhr Metropolis has a long history of economic and structural transformation. During the past decades, it changed considerably - from a coal and steel powerhouse to a multifaceted, polycentric metropolis. Regional initiatives, including European and international flagship projects, repeatedly provided an important impetus for regional development. These flagship initiatives and their achievements are part of the Ruhr Metropolis' unique European profile.
The Ruhr Regional Association (RVR) is a driving force of regional development. It initiates and implements flagship initiatives to move the Ruhr Metropolis further ahead.
The International Building Exhibition Emscher Park (IBA Emscher Park) 1989-1999 addressed questions of industrial decline and structural change. Projects aimed at an ecological, economic and cultural renewal of former industrial sites. They created new perspectives while retaining the region's identity. The IBA Emscher Park was an important step in a series of regional initiatives that decisively shaped the Ruhr Metropolis. Its landscape oriented approach prepared the ground for future regional flagship projects.
The European Capital of Culture RUHR.2010 celebrated the unique urban, social and cultural landscape of the Ruhr Metropolis. Through various public events, festivals and exhibitions, it succeeded in broadly engaging the local population, including social groups usually less culturally interested. It drew on the achievements of the IBA Emscher Park and provided an impetus to further "Change through Culture".
Ten years after the European Capital of Culture RUHR.2010, the Ruhr Metropolis was announced host of the 16th European Nomadic Biennial "Manifesta 2026". Under the leadership of the Ruhr Regional Association (RVR), a broad coalition of local institutions and cultural practitioners supported the application. Manifesta 2026 will reflect on the Ruhr Metropolis' specific history as a focal point for industry, migration and logistics in Europe.
The International Gardening Exhibition „IGA Metropole Ruhr 2027“ is part of an attempt to make the Ruhr Metropolis the greenest industrial region in the world. Its main purpose is to create a testing ground for new solutions in sustainable urban development. A broad involvement of municipalities, associations and initiatives makes it arguably the biggest gardening festival in the world. Like the IBA Emscherpark and the European Capital of Culture, it mobilises investment to shape structural change in the Ruhr Metropolis.