The Resilient Cities Congress in Bonn on the first weekend of June 2013 was thought of as an event where climate change, natural hazards, and urban resilience are discussed – most often with case studies from the Global South. If, for instance, the issue of floods is raised, Bangladesh, Thailand, or other South and South-East Asian countries are regularly mentioned. That was different this time: The flood has returned to Central Europe. What I have been working on for countries like Madagascar, Pakistan, or Cameroon has been ‘coming home’. I am attending the Resilient Cities Congress in Bonn, hear lessons about land use planning in flood-prone areas and on the TV screens horrible images are shown of the Czech Republic, Austria, and Germany being hit by disastrous floods – my old hometown included. Continue reading
Category Archives: opinions
In my last article, I wrote about Frankfurt’s high ranking amongst German cities with regard to locational qualities, and I discussed the city’s high livability. While reasons for the good ranking of Frankfurt are found quickly, the logical next question is about the reasons for Frankfurt’s actually good standing. Obviously, we could turn to a multitude of (partly wrong) theories on how cities become successful, ranging from planning utopia to hard neo-liberal recipes, or from the eco city to the creative city.
by Ares Kalandides
I recently received a list of interview questions on Place Branding by a master student. I found them very interesting and decided to share the interview with you:
1. Place Branding applies modern marketing methods that position and market consumer goods and transfers them to cities. What are in your opinion the most important differences between a geographical area and a product in relation to brands?
There are indeed very few commonalities between places and consumer goods – except when places become commodities:
First, places do not have an ontological existence. Except for their purely physical coordinates, places are manifestations of social relations. They are the loci of interconnections and open-end trajectories. In this sense, they rather resemble processes than objects. Continue reading
by Renard Teipelke
Before I actually start with the topic, I would like to contend: Once a city is at the top of statistical economic rankings, it is in a quite good position to stay there. Just refer to New York, London, and Tokyo in various kinds of rankings…
Frankfurt came out first (again) in this year’s study by the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) and Berenberg Bank on the locational qualities of Germany’s 30 largest cities (here). The average productivity output of an employee in Frankfurt is 87’000 Euro per year. Two fifths of the city’s workforce can be found in knowledge industries, and employment rates are improving. Those are the prime facts for the economic category of the study as SPIEGEL Online reported recently.
by Daniel Wagner*
Davao City is the third largest urban concentration in the Philippines with more than 1,5 million people. But that seems not to be enough. Everywhere, it looks like the city is trying to assure itself, leading to the thought that the city lives in a constant state of self assurance, of self defining. As if it is constantly screaming to everyone: “Look! I am a City!”
The first impression of Davao is that the city is one entire periphery, like a giant suburb. Except for the most expensive hotel in town, there are no high rise buildings, and the city sprawl takes shape of a continuous amalgamation of houses and small streets between a couple of highways. And like Venturi’s views of the symbolism in the buildings of the “strip” in Las Vegas, in Davao giant billboards emerge from much smaller buildings below. Symbolizing something evidently bigger than the building itself, both in material size and meaning. Like an architectural crown stating that this is not a mere building, but is part of something greater, a city! The actual construction doesn’t matter much, it seems that the important thing here is not the object – no great architectural value, or impressive size – but what is it saying, what is it holding proudly on the top of its head. Continue reading
Studying ‘streets as places’ through in-situ research is nothing new to social science. A classic in this regard is Doreen Massey’s work on the global sense of place with the example of Kilburn High Road in London. Other researchers – and most naturally anthropologists – also went to the streets of settlements and studied everyday life, community, and society. But why not take the bus to go from these inner-city streets to the outer rings of urban settlements and study their larger pendants: highways?! * Continue reading
by Valentin Schipfer
Did you know that some years ago the megalopolis São Paulo in Brazil had banned commercial advertising in the city? Since stone-age cave-painting we know, there has always been kind of a natural urge of humanity for signs and symbols in public space. That’s why after the ban in São Paulo graffiti increased exponentially. Nevertheless the city continued to exist and 70 percent of city residents find the ban beneficial . Some times I wish the landscapes of European cities strip too all of its billboards – at least the boring ones. Fortunately, some advertising agencies have discovered more creative modes to utilize urban public space. My first example on how this is done comes from Berlin. Continue reading
This is the second part of the guest article by Daniel Wagner. You can find the first part here.
by Daniel Wagner*
The relationship between the Philippino and the street is a very intimate one. Actually there is no clear distinction for the variety of outdoors activities among different types of public spaces. The western European modern tradition segregates different activities in specific public spaces. In this sense, the street are for cars, the squares for people in recreational times, sidewalks can be to a certain point occupied by cafes and its tables, and so on. In the Philippines everything happens on the streets. You play, you walk, you rest, you shop and you eat in the same lane that jeepneys and tricycles are supposed to pass.
by Jaime Hernandez*
The Citigroup with the Wall Street Journal,and the association of the Urban Land Institute launched a campaign to determine the most innovative city of the year. From an initial list of 200 cities, online public votes were asked to narrow down the list to 25, and then to three finalists: New York, Tel Aviv and Medellin.
“Few cities have transformed the way that Medellin, Colombia`s second largest city, has in the past 20 years. Medellín’s homicide rate has plunged, nearly 80% from 1991 to 2010. The city built public libraries, parks, and schools in poor hillside neighborhoods and constructed a series of transportation links from there to its commercial and industrial centers. The links include a metro cable car system and escalators up steep hills, reducing commutation times, spurring private investment, and promoting social equity as well as environmental sustainability…Medellín’s challenges are still many, particularly in housing. However, through innovation and leadership, Medellín has sowed the seeds of transformation, leading to its recognition as a city with potential for long-lasting success”
by Daniel Wagner*
Arriving at the airport in Manila, my first choice of transportation to go to the hotel (which was carefully chosen in a central neighborhood close to the airport) was a public one. One of the greatest metropolis of the world with about 11.5 million people, Manila has two rail way systems, Metro Rail Transit (MTR) and Light Rail Transit (LTR). None of them reaches the international airport. Like the majority of the big cities in the so called “global south”, integration of the public transportation system is a problem. So, since there are no buses, I would have to take a jeepney (local private transports) to the first train station – a LTR, change to a MTR line, and after a few stations take another jeepney to the hotel. Conclusion, I took a taxi.