© MarcoKD, KölnTourismus GmbH

Going urbanana

In the polycentric urban jungle

Between 2016 and 2019, the #urbanana project addressed the polycentric urban jungle that extends from the Rhineland to the Ruhr region. The project was launched by the Cologne Tourist Board and its partners Düsseldorf Tourism and Ruhr Tourism under the leadership of Tourismus NRW. This banana was already ripe — a fact already confirmed in previous years by the huge popularity of the content in the Cologne Tourist Board focus areas #urbanCGN and Culinary Cologne. With open eyes and ears and boundless energy, the urbanana team explored Cologne and the banana-shaped metropolitan region, focusing not on traditional tourist attractions but on the region’s neighbourhoods. The measures and campaigns they came up with shone a spotlight on the region’s hospitality, revealed the creativity distributed throughout the entire project region, and generated opportunities for creative shared experiences instead of passive consumption. In recognition of this idea, urbanana was granted the European Cultural Brand Award in 2017 as the cultural tourism region of the year.

© Tourismus NRW, Joris Felix

The sound of urbanana

The themes that make our urban banana well worth seeing and experiencing are just as diverse as the creative thinkers on the urbanana team. Ever since the project began, the urbanana team has swivelled its antennae in many directions in order to expand and reinforce local scenes such as music and urban art. In August 2018, the Cologne Tourist Board welcomed the Music Tourism Convention to our cathedral city as part of the urbanana project. The organization of the world’s biggest music tourism conference was not the only factor highlighting the significance of the local music scene for Cologne and the surrounding region. Brand-new formats sprang up around this event, and familiar formats shone with a new glow. Urban Art Walks through Cologne’s street art scene, as well as excursions into the history of pop in the metropolitan region, can still be experienced today via the web app “Sound of urbanana”. Many English-language information resources were created for the first time in connection with these activities. They include city maps focusing on art, as well as blogs and magazines that offer a closer look at Cologne’s creative scene and the two other urbanana regions: the Ruhr region and Düsseldorf.

A city in FLOW

But of course the end of this project didn’t mean that Cologne’s and urbanana’s creative scene came to a halt. That’s why the urbanana team has stayed on the ball, vigorously promoting the follow-up project FLOW.NRW since 2019. With a broader focus, which now also includes projects, ideas and players from the digital landscape of Cologne and NRW, we are turning our gaze toward the features that make Cologne a place where people come and want to stay. You can find answers and inspiration in the information tiles, at urbanana.de and on our social media channels @goingurbanana (InstagramFacebookTwitter).

Take a look: Join us as we explore our metropolitan region and our favourite places in Cologne. Take a look at liveable neighbourhoods and get to know the ideas that are springing up from the asphalt all over urbanana, as well as the people behind them.

Hidden cologne

Off the beaten tracks

With the help of the English-language city magazine Hidden Cologne, you can explore the city like a local or take a fresh look at your favourite neighbourhood if you’re a resident of Cologne. Here you can find tips on where to eat, personal insights into the world of Cologne’s creative artists, tips about exciting events, and insiders’ articles about the city’s art, design and digital scenes. Feel free to check out the magazine now!