by Ares Kalandides and Markus Kather
This is the second part of the article. In part 1 we looked at the German legal framework and the particularities of green planning in Berlin. Today we will be looking at examples. You can read part 1 here.
a) Tempelhofer Freiheit
Temporary gardens at Tempelhofer Freiheit
The airfield of the former Tempelhof airport is one of the largest landscaping areas in central Berlin today with a total surface of about 370 ha. Following the closure of the airport in 2008 several plans were design and rejected, reflecting the lack of development pressure by the real estate sector. This gives the city the luxury of both space and time to try out innovative planning processes, in particular trial-and-error through interim uses. Three themed fields in the outer ring of the field (urban gardening, culture and sports/wellness) have been defined as experimental interim use spaces, while the totality of the centre is to keep its meadow character. Interim uses for the three fields are chosen by competition, while the best projects may be integrated in the final plans. A large building project is to take place in the south-west edge of the area with a location reserved for a large library. Yet the main feature of “Tempelhofer Freiheit”, as the project is called, is this of a vast inner city field, with a clear open view across it.
A tree standing alone in the landscape. At former Tempelhof Airport.
by Ares Kalandides and Markus Kather
In the warmer months of the year Berliners of all ages and backgrounds flow into the squares, parks and gardens of the city. The more adventurous ones are not even discouraged by the bad weather: under rain and snow, sleet and fog, there are children in the playground while adults take longer walks in the woods, crossing frozen lakes and snow-covered fields. Nature is an integral part of the city; for many people it is the quintessence of public space. Its deep roots in German culture – exemplified by German 19th century romanticism – cannot be stressed enough. Yet, the importance of nature in the city has taken many different forms and there is no doubt that it means very different things to different people. In this article we focus mostly on gardens (and parks) as community spaces, though in order to understand what that means we take a closer look at some of the other functions.
Diepsloot, Jo’burg, from above
You can download the full call here.
This call for participation is addressed to students and young professionals (incl. PhD candidates) who want to work on the subject in a team composed of 10 participants from Germany and 10 from South Africa, two weeks in July (30/6 -14/07) and two weeks in November (17/11- 01/2) 2013.
The (In)formal City is a project initiated by Inpolis and the Goethe-Institut and funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung, aiming at bringing together practitioners and scholars from urban and cultural studies in Berlin and Johannesburg to work on the broad issue of informality.
The candidates need to address their interest until May 15th to firstname.lastname@example.org (see below for details). Those shortlisted will be invited to an interview. The maximum number of available places is 5 students (2 in a waiting list) and 3 young professionals (1 in waiting list)
Image 1: Preparing to bury the large Sounion Kouros. © National Archaeological Museum
The hiding of the ancient treasures of the National Archaeological Museum on the eve of the German occupation of Athens, 1941.
by Kostas Paschalidis (1)
During a period of six months prior to the German invasion of Greece a group of workers and archaeologists was digging the floors of the National Archeological Museum to bury Athens’s most valuable treasures: its Kouroi and Lekythoi.
On Sunday 27th April 1941 the German troops occupied Athens. Early the next morning, when the German officers hurried up the marble steps of the National Archaeological Museum, they were surprised to discover that they were taking over an empty building. They couldn’t find a trace of the thousands of valuable exhibits that were housed in the country’s largest museum for the past sixty years of its existence. Instead of statues they saw before them the few frozen and expressionless archaeologists and guards who were on duty at the time. To the officers’ persistent questions, the latter answered enigmatically that antiquities are always where everybody knows they are: under the ground. And it was true. The antiquities had in fact returned underground – to the only ark in the world where they would be safe. Continue reading
by Renard Teipelke
On the 15th February 2013, Chelyabinsk Obast in Russia was hit by the glowing remainders of a meteorite which entered the earth and caused approximately 1’500 people being injured and 3’000 buildings in the region being damaged. It was the first time since 1908 that a meteorite of that size reached the earth and resulted in such a scale and scope of injuries and damages. Following these unforeseen news, it did not take long until experts discussed possible impacts of meteorites on our cities. Not well known to the broader public, this has actually been a concern amongst scientists for much longer, but no political decision maker (with one eye on the budget and the other one on the next elections) seriously wanted to put this ‘national security’ issue on the agenda.
by Eduardo Oliveira
The curtain has now closed on Guimarães 2012: European Capital of Culture, but what is the effect of the legacy left behind? Has the event strengthened the region position? What contributions have been made towards a potential place branding strategy for the north of Portugal?
Last May 2012 I discussed my thoughts on the European Capital of Culture – Guimarães 2012, where I tried to define the event’s role in a potential place branding strategy (link) for the north of Portugal. One year has now passed since the start of the event, and many of the same questions still remain unanswered.
Once again, I want to emphasise that the nomination of the Portuguese city of Guimarães as one of the two European Capitals of Culture for the year 2012 (ECC-2012) created an enormous excitement among the national authorities. This buzz was felt especially strongly among the public and private city entities. Now, after the title has been handed over to Marseille-Provence (France) and Košice (Slovakia), we can pose the following questions: What is the legacy for the city? Has the region strengthened its position at the national and European level? What were the contributions towards a potential regional brand? Continue reading
Market at Maybachufer in Berlin-Neukölln
by Gabriela Chavez*
I knew early on in my research project that I wanted to focus on some aspect of the Turkish community but I began at first with an arguably unanswerable question: are the Turkish communities “integrated” into society in Berlin? After attempting an interviewing process with young Turks in Kreuzberg I soon realized how obtuse my focus was. Every person I spoke to had such different opinions of their own “integration” in Berlin that it would have been impossible to extrapolate or come to some sort of yes-or-no conclusion—especially with the small amount of interviews I could feasibly conduct. After spending so many Tuesdays and Fridays at the Turkish market, however, a new focus began to emerge. I began to see the space as more than just an opportunity for me to talk to young Turkish vendors, but as a space of recreation, business, and social interaction among many different types of people. This realization then inspired me to also visit the sports club Türkiyemspor and the Hamam Turkish Bathhouse in order to look at how all three of these recreational institutions function as spaces of interaction and cultural exchange for all sorts of Berliners. Furthermore, I hope to connect these observations with discussions of multiculturalism, social integration, and the specific integration of Turkish communities in Berlin (Bloomfield 2003, Silver 2006, Mueller 2007) and see how they might play into Berlin’s status as a global city, a bridge between East and West, and a future metropolis (Cochrane and Passmore 2001, Eckardt 2005, Molnar 2010, Scott 1997)
by Darius Rafieyan*
“Suddenly, they were all here. All these students, artists, layabouts. The complete mob called creative class[…] and suddenly all was changing. The rents were no longer cheap, the drug dealers left the Reuterplatz, whorehouses closed, instead we got open-minded and open-gendered[sic] galleries, junk dealer became to dealer in antiques, and dirty dog shit was turned into peaceful baby buggies. More general this phenomenon is called gentrification”1.
These words are taken from the so-called “video manifesto” of one Mathias Merkle, a disgruntled Neukölln bar owner who blames the recent influx of students and ex-pats for the rapid changes occurring in his beloved borough. This point of view is not an uncommon one in Berlin. Merkle’s 10 minute, broken-English rant went viral in Germany last year and he has become something of a self styled anti-hero for the hipster-averse Berlin purists who want to stem the tide of young, affluent creatives who are supposedly ruining the ‘old Berlin’, whatever that is. Continue reading
By Renard Teipelke
There is probably no index missing in the profession (and obsession) of ranking cities. One index that was recently mentioned in the UN-Habitat State of the World Cities Report 2012/2013 is the Innovation Cities Index.
2thinknow, the company behind this index, advertises it as the “world’s largest city classification and ranking with 331 benchmark cities classified”. Cities are ranked globally and per region and are classified as “nexus”, “hub”, “node”, “influencer”, or “upstart” – basically ascribing to cities a higher to lower degree of importance/relevance with regard to ‘innovation’; with “nexus” cities (such as Boston, Vienna, Munich, Copenhagen, Hong Kong, or Seoul) at the top as being the crucial centers for multiple social and economic innovation sectors, and “upstart” cities (such as Jakarta, Kolkata, Johannesburg, Karachi, Manama, or Lima) at the bottom as having potentially some innovative sectors in the future.