Learning from new old towns – Urban scale reconstructions and their impacts
This thesis discusses reconstructions on an urban scale that can be assigned to the so-called “postmodern reconstruction wave” (BMVBS 2010), which has been observed in Germany since the 1980s. In this context, this PhD project aims to empirically investigate which of the anticipated effects of these reconstructions can be confirmed today. Projects such as Potsdam’s Mitte, Dresden’s Neumarkt, and Frankfurt’s New Old Town affect the aesthetics, use, and character of the city’s most central locations. Accordingly, they are the subjects of lively debates: experts and laypeople alike express their expectations for the projects, ranging from hope for strengthened social cohesion through a “healed” urban identity, to tourist effects, to a feared neglect of German history and war guilt. At the same time, the debate focuses on aesthetic preferences and the interpretive sovereignty of the “right” cityscape. Thus, in a second step, the dissertation project asks which new urban practices, orders, and narratives the reconstruction projects produce and how they impact discourse and practice in architecture and urban planning. Thus, the thesis aims not only to contribute to the qualification of debates on reconstructive and historicist planning, but also to achieve methodological progress in urban impact analysis as well as insights into the agency of architectural aesthetics in urban spaces in general.