Thursday, April 2, 2015

Global, creative, ordinary? Re-imagining Berlin since 1990 in light of urban theory building - Summer school 2015

In October 2015, the 25th anniversary of German reunification will take place. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent reunification are not only politically and culturally important events but also mark a crucial turning point in the urban development of Berlin, as the city had been divided for almost 30 years. How has the city changed ever since and how has the city been re-imagined during these turbulent times?
Berlin’s reappearance on the global urban map in 1990 occurred during an era of increasing interurban competition (McCann 2004). Both in urban policy as well as in urban theory, concepts such as the global city (Sassen 1991) or the creative city (Florida 2003; Krätke 2011) have been dominant. These concepts have become hegemonic narratives and strongly influenced how the ongoing changes in Berlin have been perceived and have been made sense of. Over the last 25 years, however, it becomes evident that Berlin’s urban changes have only partially coincided with the narratives of those times. For example, Berlin’s global city aspirations were marked by failed policies in the 1990s whereas today the city is experiencing an increasing globalization with regard to both international visitors and real estate investment.

Against this background, the Summer School aims at retracing the dominant narratives of Berlin’s post-Wall development and at reflecting how they have informed our way of looking at Berlin. By disclosing the simultaneities, fractures and inconsistencies of urban theories, we will deconstruct the assumptions about the linear development path of post-Wall Berlin and consider a more heterogeneous conceptualization of the city (such as Robinson’s (2006) ordinary city approach). As architectural theorist Charles Jencks (1996) has put it concisely: “Virtually all theories about the city are true, especially contradictory ones”.
(Ulrike Mackrodt, Geography Department, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

We want to invite all students who are interested in this topic to take part in our Summer School from 17th of August up to 28th of August 2015 at the GSZ, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.
More information about the application is available at: 

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