As I completed my cycling trip -- some 722 kilometers in nine days including visits to some cultural/historical sites -- I could not help but notice that a lot of money has been put into the renovation of buildings on town squares in eastern Germany, but that all of these investments have not led to local prosperity. In many cases, the blight starts at the building directly adjacent to the one on town square -- such is the case on the picture to the left, where the building shares a wall with a fancy remodeled building overlooking the town's main square.
The second picture shows an example of a compromise. In this building on a central artery of the old part of the same town -- it's just around the block from the picture above -- a local community project has rented out the bottom floor, and the top floors seem to be completely unused. When you are standing on the street, you therefore have the impression that most of the buildings are at least in use, but a closer look reveals that it is only the ground floor in many cases.