2010/02/01، 07:10 PM
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URBANISM AS REFORM:
MODERNIST PLANNING AND THE CRISIS OF URBAN LIBERALISM
IN EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA, 1945-1975
Presented to the Graduate Faculties of the University of Pennsylvania in Partial
Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
Bruce Kuklick, Supervisor of Dissertation
Thomas Sugrue, Graduate Chair
Eugenie Birch, Professor of City Planning
David Brownlee, Professor of Art
Peter Conn, Professor of English
Robert Fishman, Professor of Urban Planning
Lynn Lees, Professor of History
George Thomas, Lecturer in Urban Studies
Michael Zuckerman, Professor of History
This dissertation examines urban renewal in six cities—Berlin, London, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Toronto—and the effects of its demise on attitudes toward cities, in general, and on urban planning, in particular. While similar policy instruments and objectives were in place in these cities by the end of the 1950s, the underlying assumptions of European and North American planners and policymakers came under divergent criticisms and revisions in the 1960s that spelled the end of a transatlantic urban renewal consensus. While clearly inspired by international modernism, planning nevertheless functioned in specific political environments. Each particular failure transformed the possibilities of planning and left distinctive imprints on these cities for the rest of the twentieth century. Each of them reaffirmed its traditional urban texture and rejected wholesale redevelopment. But in discrediting certain planning approaches, the confrontational political culture of Great Britain and the United States, by comparison with West Germany and Canada, left residues which continue to inhibit urban initiatives.
I examine the efforts of both professionals and residents to gain influence over cities. The professionals emerged within a broad field of policy-oriented inquiry, called urbanism or urban studies, that included sociologists, economists, planners, architects and even historians. Looking at these intellectuals’ plans, publications and pronouncements, I explore their authority in journals, universities, exhibitions, and consulting. By the 1950s, an international movement calling for the eradication and reorganization of the traditional city had migrated (along with many specific leadership figures from the Bauhaus school of design and the Congrès Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne) from Europe via Britain to universities and planning agencies in the United States. Its critics were initially dismissed as nostalgic, reactionary, or unscientific, though mounting public resistance eventually shifted the ground. Focusing on watershed projects and confrontations, I place these controversies in sociopolitical context and assess their impact. The “golden age” of postwar planning was essentially a struggle to reconcile the conflicts between expertise, power, and democratic accountability.
The mobilization of urban constituencies around planning as an issue in city politics catalyzed the field of urbanism—and vice versa. Residents’ feelings of neighborhood attachment and protectiveness received belated recognition from social scientists,
complicating the picture of a period still often characterized in terms of either suburban out-migration or revanchist gentrification. During the 1950s, sociologists studying urban populations in London’s East End or Boston’s North and West Ends discovered the deleterious side-effects of the urban renewal programs that urbanists (in some cases the very same researchers) had shaped. In the early 1960s, the articulate, aggressive counter¬attack from Greenwich Village residents and activists epitomized organized neighborhood resistance. Later in the decade, young architects and planners helped residents challenge the plans of their mentors, and the repulse of redevelopment schemes became common in gentrifying areas like London’s Soho and Covent Garden, or even the more racially-charged atmosphere of South Street in Philadelphia. Community organizers and ratepayer advocates took over Toronto’s city hall to reform planning by the mid¬1970s. In West Berlin, where neighborhood attachment was always muted, a squatters’ movement in the late 1970s distantly echoed the earlier renewal critics in Britain and America.
West Berlin had been purist in its application of modernist principles, and experienced the least controversy from citizens eager to inhabit modernized apartments. But after late revisions to its renewal approach, the city emerged with a strong planning apparatus as capable of implementing neo-traditional schemes as it had been at clearing old districts. In Toronto, the confrontational clashes—by Canadian standards—of the late 1960s and early 1970s also resolved into a reformed, pro-planning consensus. The US and UK, however, came away with deeper scars. Britain, though never completely enamored of dogmatic international style, had thoroughly embraced total planning in the immediate postwar period. Yet the country’s bi-partisan consensus ended by the late 1970s in anti-planning backlash. Similarly, the rejection of liberal urban programs fed the rise to power of anti-reform mayors in Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. Sobered by a sense of intractable urban crisis, a relatively small, though influential circle of Boston intellectuals dismantled the very local and federal planning initiatives they had advocated. Ironically, many with a shared interest in advancing urban life ultimately emerged estranged—witness the professional polarization among planners in Philadelphia, or the mutual alienation among Democrats in New York— reflected in a widespread loss of faith in the possibility of constructive urban interventions.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION 1 CHAPTER 1: From “Metropolis” to “The Public Sphere”—Democracy and Urbanism in Post-WWII Berlin. Berlin’s Discontents from Anti-Urbanism to Reconstruction 24 Social Scientific Critiques of Planning: Public Sphere and Urban Democracy 40 CHAPTER 2: Beyond MARS—Dissenting Intellectual Traditions in London Planning. Postwar Politics and Planning 66 Counter-Revolutions against Modernist Renewal 71 Britain backs away from Planning—Slowly 87 CHAPTER 3: The Crisis of Expertise—Boston’s Intellectuals and the Urban Debate. Consolidation and Challenge in the Urbanist Establishment 100 The Joint Center for Urban Studies at Harvard and M.I.T. 108 Urban Crises 120 Changing of the Guard 125 Taking Stock of the 1960s 130 CHAPTER 4: Caught between Moses and the Market in New York City— Jane Jacobs and Urban Renewal’s Lost Middle Way. Moving Beyond Moses 145 Instability and Diversity in the West Village 152 Jacobs’ Critique: Unslumming and Self-Destruction 158 Reform and Resentment in the Planning Profession 161 Missed Opportunities and Mutual Alienation 168 Hollow Victories 182 CHAPTER 5: Aesthetic Reform—Social Analysis and Design Innovation in Philadelphia Planning. The Philadelphia Lawyer meets the Philadelphia Planner 199 Urban Renewal a la Bacon: Society Hill 207 Two Cultures: Artists and Analysts at Penn 213 South Street: End of the Road? 224 CHAPTER 6: Better Late—Toronto’s Alternate Planning Outcome. Jane Jacobs’ Victory in Exile 245 Toronto’s Conversion to Comprehensive Planning 249 Toronto’s Alternate Path in the 1970s 255 CONCLUSION: The Final Frontier 263
Foolish things are often written,
And also oft told,
Yet leaving everything unchanged,
They harm not the body or the soul.
But foolishness placed before the eye,
Has a magic power;
Because it captivates our senses,
The spirit is cowered.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,
Zahmen Xenien (1827)1
This dissertation is concerned with liberal intellectuals and the city, yet one of its themes could perhaps best be summarized with a slogan of twentieth century conservatism: “Ideas Have Consequences.” Of course, few of the actors in my story shared anything like the world view Richard Weaver expressed in his 1948 manifesto bearing that title. Still, the cities examined in this study plainly manifest the concrete, physical legacies of various intellectual debates. As William Carlos Williams, like many planners a denizen of two distinct realms—art and science, once remarked, “We meet the past in every object it leaves behind. Not in ideas but in things.”
Conversely, the political battles around urban renewal left scars on our civic dreams. This is then also a story of the constraints on ideas, the limitations of planning. But beware: There is an age-old debate lurking in these waters. Simplistically one could contrast latter-day Weberians (Hegelians even), primarily intellectual historians but also planning historians and others concerned with the power of ideas and images, versus the Marxian camp (Castells, Mollenkopf, Harvey) that sees late twentieth century planning and design as epiphenomenal to deindustrialization, stagflation, and the other shocks that doomed the golden age of liberal urban policy. Economics is doubtless an important, perhaps dominant factor. But there have always been economic cycles in cities, and I will emphasize some distinctive elements in the professional and political cultures that would prove decisive for the period under study. Political culture and national character are abstract, intangible entities—although maybe no less real for being so. In this study, I intend only to suggest their presence indirectly, rather than attempt to conjure such elusive spirits into my analysis.
Understanding that this is an intellectual history, perhaps first and foremost, helps to explain the selection of Berlin, London, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Toronto as case studies. Each of the cities represents a major intellectual center of debate and radiating influence, of soft power—and in some cases hard power, too. New York, like London a subject that requires no scholarly justification, remains the urban center of gravity, plain and simple. The Philadelphia School—if its urbanist tradition is broadly conceived to include Louis Kahn, Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, Herbert Gans, Paul Davidoff, Edmund Bacon, Martin Meyerson, and even (at times) Lewis Mumford— has suffered unjustifiably in esteem for its proximity to the metropolis. Similarly with
Toronto. Berlin was a major preoccupation of German and other continental thinkers from its dynamo golden age in the 1920s to its later incarnations as geo-political showplace scarred by hot and cold wars. Boston has been a center of American intellectual life for three centuries, but it is also a stand-in for Washington, D.C., since Bostonians disproportionately composed the national policy elite in these years.
Postwar American intellectuals were attempting to make sense of a radically changing U.S. landscape, wracked by both physical and political shifts. The dialectics of sprawl, urban decay and renewal, hinted at by the neighborhood succession models of the Chicago School of sociology in the interwar period, were becoming visible on a large scale, and preoccupied thinkers including Jane Jacobs, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Mumford, Gans, Venturi, Scott Brown, and Meyerson. Their analyses and responses were imbricated into a set of transatlantic attitudes toward urban reform and urban aesthetics. This dissertation follows two titanic twentieth century concepts, modernism and liberalism, as they begin to run aground in post-World War II European and North American cities. They get tangled up together and each contributes significantly to the other’s decline. In advance, however, some terms need to be defined. What precisely do I mean, the reader may ask, by Modernism, Urbanism, Planning, Liberalism, etc?
I am using the term liberal in its common American sense, corresponding roughly to socialist or social democratic in Britain, or sozial in Germany, by which is meant progressive, non-revolutionary economic and political reform impulses born in reaction to the perceived volatility of industrial capitalism and mass democracy. Thus I am not using it in Louis Hartz’s narrow sense of privatist individualism à la John Locke and Adam Smith.2 Political liberalism began to move away from the laissez faire, “classical
liberal” attitude sometime in the last third of the nineteenth century and embrace corporatist, interest-group organizations, inspired in the U.S. case by the vastly expanded, activist, bureaucratic state apparatus first glimpsed in the Civil War (as well as in giant commercial companies).3 This meliorist administrative state then saw its capacities expanded through successive wars and economic crises until, by the 1960s, it encompassed various social insurance measures (“welfare”) within a mixed economy of regulation and private enterprise.
Confidence in informed, social scientific expertise underlay much of the liberal project. Gerstle traces American liberals’ episodic search for realms that could be constructively affected by rational policies. Walter Lippmann’s embrace of a technocratic elite after his rejection of mass democracy would epitomize this trend. By the 1920s liberals had abandoned many cultural issues, particularly race and ethnicity, as too irrational—that is until the disaster of Nazi racism and the vilification of Soviet communism (not to mention postwar prosperity) began to make economic issues seem less pressing than racial ones. Then, of course, the civil rights movement ultimately did prove to be too explosive for the liberal coalition in the United States.4
But just where and how liberalism met its demise is still under investigation. Debate continues over whether to declare the liberal political order dead or alive by the 1970s. H.W. Brands argues that the Cold War was the last national emergency to provide an impetus for an activist state in the U.S., and the coming of détente revived older anti-statist attitudes.5 Others, including Thomas Sugrue and Arnold Hirsch have suggested that any consensus that ever existed around liberalism was already wilting under heavy fire across domestic ethno-racial divides by the 1940s.6 Some argue that the reports of
liberalism’s demise have been greatly exaggerated by the focus on electoral contests, and can be flatly contradicted with evidence from regulatory and judicial trends in the 1970s.7 And Francis Fukiyama maintains that liberalism is only now coming into its own on the world stage. The picture is indeed complicated, and the evidence contradictory. But I would argue that, in both halves of the twentieth century, it was cities that always offered the greatest possibilities for liberalism, while they also posed the greatest risks. This dissertation also finds the history of liberalism is written very differently on the walls of Berlin, London, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Toronto.
So what does liberalism mean in the context city politics? Is there a distinctive urban liberalism? Liberals in Wilhelmine Germany, in contrast to their fateful failure to establish a presence at the national level of politics, emerged with a very strong base in the cities of the Kaiserreich.8 J. Joseph Huthmacher was probably the first to argue that early U.S. liberalism was inherently urban, that the city, with its concentration of both social outrages and an outraged electorate, provided much of the impetus for reformist (not to speak of radical) politics: “Not until the reform spirit had seized large numbers of urbanites could there be hope of achieving meaningful political, economic, and social adjustments to the demands of the new industrial civilization.” Huthmacher maintained that early twentieth century progressive reform was the product of collaboration between moralistic middle-classes and pragmatic urban ethnic workers, the latter providing the real political muscle. Similarly, John Teaford sees the most fruitful reform efforts resulting from a de facto partnership—in effect a truce—between urban ‘machine’ political organizations and those elites who would see them abolished. Only when the
latter began to impose cultural assimilation policies like prohibition did the turn-of-the¬century coalition collapse.9
Gary Gerstle notes that the New Deal’s pragmatic liberals were once again willing to make accommodations with distasteful urban machines in their search for economic stability. That may be true from the standpoint of the White House. Yet local anti-boss reform campaigns that sought to destroy corrupt machines did not end in the 1920s and 1930s, when liberal intellectuals supposedly turned away from cultural issues toward economic ones. Nor did the ongoing suburbanization of urban elites dissipate this anti-boss impulse. Instead, it was just after World War II that movements such as the Young Turks in Philadelphia, and those around Robert Wagner, Jr. in New York or John Hynes in Boston, made their electoral breakthroughs. By that time they were also armed with the corpus of urban renewal legislation compiled during the New Deal, and a city planning agenda hatched in interwar Europe. City planning would become the liberal technocratic panacea par excellence. Where Americanization, prohibition and other cultural programs had foundered in the 1920s, this time reformers were poised with funding, new authorities and an electoral mandate to impose a rational order on the urban polity.
The urge to improve cities is probably as old as urban settlement. Public and private infrastructural solutions to the engineering problems of industrial cities (sanitation, transportation, energy) were well-developed by the end of the nineteenth century. Despite industrial building booms, however, housing conditions remained a preoccupation of American and European civic reformers into the twentieth century. In the United States, Progressive-era housing initiatives reached legislative fruition with the New Deal (especially the Wagner-Steagall Housing Act of 1937), but there they also
mixed with Depression measures to stimulate stagnating urban economies. By the post-World War II period, these were further complicated by calls to rescue downtown “central business districts” from the effects of suburbanization and to mitigate the impact of industrial relocation. In the United States, a series of state and federal appropriation acts and enabling legislation from the 1930s through the 1960s assembled immense resources and authorities to address this convoluted agenda. The creation of a U.S. cabinet-level department for Housing and Urban Development marked its high water in 1965, yet this entire decades-long regime of city-directed programs can be referred to collectively as Urban Renewal.
Liberal urban reform from the New Deal through Great Society became consummately enshrined in the impulse of urban renewal, which included numerous legislative and administrative initiatives at the municipal, state and federal levels. This regime, with its iconic comprehensive plans and zoning resolutions, encompassed a broad alliance of policymakers (politicians and bureaucrats), policy-oriented intellectuals (liberal social scientists), designers (architects and planners), and members of the business community (real estate, construction, banking). Contributors included many of the best and brightest in their respective fields, all of whom were trusted and underwritten (both financially and electorally) by a coalition of voters consolidated by FDR (and often referred to as the liberal consensus). The ambitious urban renewal program yoked noble social goals to an innovative aesthetic vision, fueled by an unprecedented fiscal mandate.
The aspects of urban renewal concerned with slum clearance and housing construction were heavily influenced by the modernist European planning and design movement. In part, this was a testament to the fact that many of the European workers’
housing projects, funded either by associations or the government, were completed in the formative 1920s, when the movement was sweeping into vogue (though this was notably untrue for the housing trusts in Britain at the time). In Germany at least, the provision of cheap housing seemed the ideal application for modern industrial materials, and it resonated with the radical ideals of many modernist designers. Not only were the German housing projects available as models to those formulating housing policy from the Depression onwards, but what’s more, Nazi persecution of leftists had brought many of the designers of those projects to Britain, the United States, and Canada (often in that order), where they gained positions of great influence in universities and on various commissions. With them came the notion that not only did progressive housing need to look different, but that the entire city structure should be reorganized according to the ‘functionalist’ principle of segregated uses. So what precisely did this mean?
Modernism refers to a set of movements which swept every branch of the western arts. Almost without exception the outlines were visible within the twentieth century’s first quarter, and then remained dominant for at least the next two. Across all disciplines, modernism was generally characterized by a purist tendency toward abstraction, (atonality in music, non-representational visual art, minimal decoration in architecture, non-referential dance), but more than anything it represented a break with European stylistic canons and professional academies formalized over the centuries since the Renaissance. This latter aspect also encompasses those more populist, non-abstract modernists—like the mural painters of the W.P.A., jazz-influenced composers, or (what Marshall Berman has called) James Joyce’s “modernism of the streets”—who embraced elements of commercial mass culture in their works. Modernism should not be confused
with modernity, the broad periodization of world history describing the dramatic emergence of European nation states, imperialism, protestant Christianity, humanism, capitalism, democracy, science, industrialization and urbanization after about 1500. There were thus moderns long before there were any modernists—and there probably will be long afterwards as well.
Modernism in architecture is marked aesthetically by the end of the stylistic eclecticism that characterized the turn of the twentieth century and institutionally by the eclipse of the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris as the center of influence. But it is characterized perhaps most of all by an impulse to express the industrial construction processes (by then actually generations old), as well as the style of industrial structures (e.g. factories, grain elevators). [It must be noted that the narrative of elite architectural history, which views architects as a species of artist, is complicated by the fact that the great majority of structures are designed by engineers, anonymous architects, or amateurs, and often either disregard approved academic styles in the interest of expediency or else follow the dictates of vernacular taste cultures.] With antecedents in the sleek iconoclasm of Frank Lloyd Wright, the industrial-craftsmanship of Peter Behrens, and the workers’ city envisioned by Tony Garnier, the generation of architects coming to prominence after the World War I embraced Louis Sullivan’s maxim that “form follows function.” After some expressionist experiments, the group including architects Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (a.k.a. “Le Corbusier”), J.J.P. Oud, Walter Gropius, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe rejected decorative elements that were seen to disguise the modern, industrial nature of structures. By the mid-1920s this reductive “functionalism,” as it was sometimes called, was seeking to limit the shape of
architecture to rectilinear prisms and its materials to iron, glass and concrete. Since such a palette did not leave much room for regional distinctions, adherents dubbed this approach the International Style, and promoted it via the Congrés Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM).10 Just how much embellishment could be tolerated within the strictures of the dogma and still be rationalized as functional would be the subject of perpetual debate.
Functionalism, while a less-than-clear concept in modernist architecture (Gropius would revise it up until his death), was both explicit and rigid in terms of modernist urban planning. The 1933 Athens Charter of CIAM decreed the segregation of the four functions of work, residence, transportation and leisure. It may well be said that “Architecture is art’s ambassador to the real world.”11 But the application of functionalist principles put city planners at pains to bridge the realms of the rarefied atelier and the rough asphalt. After all, how a building looked was still largely an aesthetic question. Certainly the search for cheap industrial building methods for the mass production of housing did give a social flavor to some modernist projects, yet the Levitt and Sons’ suburban developments (among many others) were simultaneously achieving the same ends using quaint, traditional styles. So matters of architectural taste could remain just that. But any design proposal that moved beyond the individual building, site, or client to take in a block, neighborhood, or (in the case of master plans) an entire city, was bound to become much more deeply entangled with questions of economics, sociology, and above all politics.
One is tempted to wonder whether modernist planning was merely an aesthetic preference masquerading as social reform. Certainly, the extent to which abstract design
can be said to have political content is questionable. Barbara Miller Lane has emphasized the politicized nature of architectural debate amongst the radical Bauhaus designers and their reactionary contemporaries in Weimar Germany. More recently, architectural theorists like Aldo Rossi, Manfredo Tafuri, and Leon Krier have attempted to untangle the conflation of ideology and design, asserting: “There exists neither authoritarian nor democratic Architecture. There exists only authoritarian and democratic ways of producing and using architecture…. Architecture is not political, it can only be used politically.”12 It is clear, at any rate, that social reformers and modernist designers made common cause in the redevelopment of cities, and that they were united by a faith in environmental determinism, the belief that social problems inhered in city form. City planning had become aesthetics plus politics; policy and design had become interdependent.
A political economy of design may seem overdrawn, but to really understand liberalism’s urban fate, we must attend to these relationships of legitimation as they unraveled. Was it bad design, bad economics, or bad democracy that killed urban renewal? Did renewal die of economics ailments (what Jane Jacobs called its “internal contradictions”) or just a political blunt trauma (the loss of its funded mandate)? The fact is that urban scholars are generally sloppy in the way they talk about the end of urban renewal and the dissipation of its momentum. In most cases, they either re-articulate the policy critiques of contemporaries like Herbert Gans and Jane Jacobs, or else they use the national power shifts (Nixon’s ‘silent’ electoral majority) as a shorthand for its demise.
It was expert advisers and professionals who formed the liaison between the spheres of politics and planning. City planners were riding a crest of professionalization
by the mid-twentieth century, with the establishment of city planning commissions and dedicated training programs across the United States and Europe. But they were but one part of a general western trend of enshrining experts in complex social scientific questions. City and regional planning was just one dimension—spatial—of a comprehensive twentieth century planning impulse, seen not only in the extreme Soviet collectivization schemes, but also very strongly in British postwar social and economic policy, and even, in diluted form, in New Deal initiatives like the National Resources Planning Board. The underlying unity of such programs was the enlightenment/positivist assumption that previously thorny problems of the organization and allocation of resources (territory, labor, food, energy, capital) were soluble by human reason, particularly when administratively concentrated.
The mid-twentieth century intellectuals from various disciplines who concentrated their attentions on the industrial metropolis included not only architects and planners, but also sociologists, economists, political scientists, geographers, historians and other social scientists. Together they composed a thematic meta-field which I will refer to as Urbanism.13
The political-economic rationale for urban renewal was a microcosm of post-war Keynesian liberalism. Cities seemed mired in a depression despite sustained national growth. Government spending, it was thought, might halt the economic decline of neighborhoods and business districts. Disappearing industrial plants were not lamented by policymakers until much later, perhaps since the presence of manufacturing in the city was considered a nuisance by planning elites and others. The unanswered question
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underlying all urbanists’ and planners’ assumptions, however, was the degree to which the market and the demos could in fact be molded or bent into some desirable form.
Housing reformers like Edith Elmer Wood and Catherine Bauer had always been concerned with questions of economics and poverty.14 It is only with the end of the urban renewal order that planning and design professionals began confronting economics, as opposed to idealized modernist form alone, and democratic political resistance—neither of which were really the case for the well-funded and administratively-empowered planners of the New Deal and early Cold War.
So how does the great modernist planning experiment turn out? In comparison with the longevity of some other programs rooted in the Great Depression, such as Social Security in the United States or the National Health Service in Britain, urban renewal’s slum clearance programs rarely lasted more than about a decade and a half after their active implementation, irrespective of their intended goals. Why not? The controversies and criticisms they unleashed have, in some cases, already been well documented; others will be treated in this dissertation.
My strategy is to juxtapose significant developments in six cities that were both intellectual centers and demonstration sites for the deployment of major urban renewal resources. Berlin, London, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Toronto were key locations not only for the aggressive urban renewal programs they undertook amidst extensive older cityscapes, but also for the influential constellation of intellectuals and practitioners concentrated in these communities. For each city, I have tried to keep three considerations in view. First is the realm of ideas. Robert Fishman has encouraged scholars to view major plans as an intellectual history of cities. While my sources are not
master plans per se, I do share his sense of a system of ideas that become explicit in the planning process. Each chapter implicitly revolves around some ur-texts that epitomize the planning debate. Second, I identify watershed projects in the cities’ built environment, which embody the issues at stake in the planning debates. Finally, I chart the related power shifts with regard to political figures and planning law.
Thus, in Berlin I have emphasized the writings of sociologist Hans Paul Bahrdt, his influence on planning legislation, and the “gentle renewal” approach that emerged in connection with the International Construction Exhibition. Gordon Cullen’s “Townscape” publications, together with the politically explosive relocation studies of Peter Willmott and Michael Young regarding East London, complement the residents’ struggles to preserve Soho and Coven Garden neighborhoods. Edward Banfield’s Unheavenly City looms like a dark cloud over the closely-watched urban renewal episodes in Boston’s West and North Ends. Jane Jacobs’ Death and Life of Great American Cities is both a field report and call to arms from her embattled West Village neighborhood. Philadelphia’s South Street urban renewal corridor becomes an inspiration and political testing ground for the ideas expressed by Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi in Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture and Learning from Las Vegas. Toronto’s St. Lawrence Neighborhood pairs with Up Against City Hall, the memoir of Mayor John Sewell, the apotheosis of a radical anti-renewal neighborhood activist cum mainstream politician in a distinctively Canadian development.
Following about a generation of widespread acceptance, functional segregation first became a major point of contention when, in the 1950s and early 1960s, Jane Jacobs
argued forcefully in favor of its opposite: functional (and social) diversity as the lifeblood of the city’s form and economic vitality. Functionalist planners could point in their defense to the tendency throughout the West of increasing numbers voting with their feet (or streetcars or automobiles or whatever) in favor of a de facto segregation of residence from work and everything else. ‘Jacobeans,’ other the other hand, had the advantage of defending the existing (if dwindling) conditions of the traditional urban fabric, with its marbling of retail, residence and industry, rather than trying to promote any radical reorganization. But those who agreed with Jacobs would face an uphill battle against both demographic trends as well as zoning statutes which had given the force of law to a functionally-segregated city vision.
As James Scott notes in his study on the bureaucratic logic of large administrative state projects, benign intentions can tend toward tyranny in the hands of a bureaucratic elite—even when allied with less radical manifestos than the revolutionary Bauhaus. Mark Lilla has analyzed the disastrous political consequences of a tendency among intellectuals to disdain democratic process and to justify tyrannies.15 The “golden age” of postwar planning essentially became a struggle to reconcile the conflicts between expertise, power, and democratic accountability. The New York case study in chapter four is an important pivot of the story about the civic issues which the urban renewal order had brought to a head.
Robert Moses had wrapped himself in mantle of progress New Deal housing reform and slum clearance.16 But Moses ultimately came to represent a kind of entrenched bureaucratic power, which liberal crusaders sought to reform by demanding more responsive public servants (which ironically, Moses had once personified). Jane
Jacobs and her Greenwich Village allies held a substantially different conception of the locus of power and the nature of its exercise. In The Death and Life of Great American Cities, she theorizes at length on the practice of democracy in an urban context. Most of her examples drew from the experiences of various Greenwich Village ad hoc committees (to preserve Washington Square or close it to traffic, to oppose street widening, and finally the master plan), as well as the coalitions they mobilized. The three different visions of urban democracy—embodied by Moses, Village activists, and elite New York liberals from the administration of Robert Wagner to that of John Lindsay— entailed contrasting tactics. Moses mobilized a vast and invisible network of patronage and mutual obligation (like the Tammany machines he displaced). The liberals attempted to outmaneuver Moses from within the city’s (and state’s) institutions, contracting alliances to tip the balance of power on various commissions and agencies—though they did generally not object to what he did so much as the way he did it. The Villagers, in contrast, did not share any such assumptions. What’s more, they screamed bloody murder. Their rhetoric and strategies were confrontational and inflammatory. Their opposition was not just a matter of degree, but rather a rejection of the entire proposition of renewal.
Villagers adopted the tactic that the best defense was a good offense—they didn’t just resist the renewal plans, they attempted to get control and reshape them. Their ability to appropriate the process and redirect it, due both to the resources of their community as well as its organized persistence, distinguishes the Villagers’ resistance from the more widespread opposition to government projects that would later be called “NIMBYism” (for “Not-In-My-Backyard!”). While the Villagers shared with such impulses a
suspicious disdain for the liberal expertocracy, they differed in their idealization of an alternative grassroots democracy.
Planning, if broadly defined as Robert Fishman has done, is simply collective action for the common good.17 Moses defined such action with his own will; liberals defined it through an oligarchy of enlightened specialists. Jacobs and her allies saw the means of planning in the incremental interactions and micro-organizations of neighbors and affinity groups. To Jacobs, urban renewal’s greatest offense was not that it threatened to destroy vibrant communities, but that it was tyrannical in its concentration of power and undemocratic in its application. Thus, having been awakened to these dangers within their own vicinity, the Villagers became harbingers of more widespread, later movements, and not only in their suspicions of liberal officialdom, but also in their devolutionary definition of all politics as local.
Jane Jacobs has denied that critiques and protests like hers did anything to bring down the urban renewal program, maintaining instead that it was doomed to die of “internal contradictions.” One interpretation is that planning was a highly artificial imposition on the urban scene with little internal logic, ultimately no more than a costly works program for planners. Keynesian policies and the postwar economic expansion offered stable streams of funding, consensus administrations provided the mandate. Later, planning simply foundered in their absence. Alternatively, one could argue that had planning proposals been better grounded in the workings of urban communities and economies, their support would have continued. This latter proposition is the implicit policy prescription of Jacobs’ book.
The mobilization of urban constituencies around planning as an issue in city politics catalyzed the field of urbanism—and vice versa. Residents’ feelings of neighborhood attachment and protectiveness received belated recognition from social scientists, complicating the picture of a period still often characterized in terms of either suburban out-migration or revanchist gentrification. During the 1950s, sociologists studying urban populations in London’s East End or Boston’s North and West Ends discovered the deleterious side-effects of the urban renewal programs that urbanists (in some cases the very same researchers) had shaped. In the early 1960s, the articulate, aggressive counter-attack from Greenwich Village residents and activists epitomized organized neighborhood resistance. Later in the decade, young architects and planners helped residents challenge the plans of their mentors, and the repulse of redevelopment schemes became common in gentrifying areas like London’s Soho and Covent Garden, or even the more racially-charged atmosphere of South Street in Philadelphia. Community organizers and ratepayer advocates took over Toronto’s city hall to reform planning by the mid-1970s. In West Berlin, where neighborhood attachment was always muted, a squatters’ movement in the late 1970s distantly echoed the earlier renewal critics in Britain and America.
Major conceptual shifts, indicative of changing aesthetics but also of a change in the planning process, were visible by the mid-1960s in the West Village Houses developed by Jane Jacobs and her neighbors, and in Paul Davidoff’s Harlem advocacy planning. Even the private “Entstuckung” of Berlin’s Wilhelmine apartment blocks, whereby landlords had for decades stripped the neo-classical embellishments off their buildings to approximate better the modernist aesthetic, was being lamented as folly. It
was a sign of just how far the reputation of Walter Gropius had fallen that upon his death in 1969 the obituary took pains to note that the Bauhaus founder and longtime Harvard architecture chair was not “irrelevant.”18 All this agonizing and shirt rending among urbanists meant that the unexamined questions underlying planners’ physical determinist motivations could now be re-addressed:
•What form should the city take: Le Corbusier’s Ville radieuse, or something newer/older/more complex/more suburban?
•What mechanism should determine form: planning commissions, community planning boards, the marketplace?
•How does form matter: Can it solve perennial questions of housing, safety, growth, economic vitality? Can/should the city be art?
However, the chastening of planners for insensitive designs and urbanists for social scientific hubris was purchased at a high cost: a major opportunity for improving urban life was missed. The move from physical determinism to a more radically democratic model, such as the maximum feasible community participation mandate of the Model Cities program, and toward market economics, including embrace of suburban tendencies, meant that the New Deal/Great Society vision was lost, at least in cities. Sobered by a sense of intractable urban crisis, a relatively small, though influential circle of Boston intellectuals dismantled the very local and federal planning initiatives they had advocated. In Philadelphia we find a failed rapprochement between designers and social science/social justice planners. Here was the abandonment of the last great attempt to find a middle way between total planning and a surrender to the ‘creative destruction’ of markets, especially the real estate industry. Bureaucratic tyranny was checked at the expense of the whole liberal urban program.
Being out of step with the natural constituencies that could sustain urban liberalism—in fact actively alienating them—spelled the end of such programs. It would
have come as no surprise if the anti-statist and anti-urban elements of the population rejected what was after all an enormous government program for cities. But instead it was urban renewals’ supposed beneficiaries who became its most vocal opponents. Like Prohibition, which alienated urban ethnics, urban renewal would prove to be another example of urban reformers knocking out their own supports. Having been given a virtually free hand, the experts (in this case the planners and urbanists) were left not only to recognize the inherently irrational element of democracy (a theme since Walter Lippmann), but also the fallibility of their own expertise. An unprecedented mandate was squandered on functionalist modernism.
Britain, although never completely enamored of dogmatic international style, had thoroughly embraced total planning in the immediate postwar period. Yet the country’s bi-partisan consensus ended by the late 1970s in an anti-planning backlash. Similarly, the rejection of liberal urban programs fueled the rise to power of anti-reform mayors in Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. In the United States these failures were more dangerous not only because of the anti-statist or anti-urban suspicions they revived, but also because of the country’s explosive racial dynamics. Rather than alleviating or even simply neglecting them, urban renewal exacerbated and inflamed racial tensions. Progressive housing policies and aid to cities came to symbolize the antithesis of the ideals that motivated them. City planning based on functional segregation had the effect of intensifying racial segregation, whether in the race moats that were perceived in downtown beltway proposals like the Philadelphia’s South Street expressway, or the “second ghetto” that was constructed in perfect Corbusioid verticality on Chicago’s south side.
The mistakes were not fundamentally different in German and Canadian cities, but the legacies were. In the former case, a confidence in government intervention remained unshaken by urban renewal’s failures. West Berlin had been purist in its application of modernist principles (after the expediency of postwar reconstruction), and experienced the least controversy from citizens eager to inhabit new apartments in the 1960s and 1970s. Even after making late revisions to its renewal approach, the city retained a strong planning apparatus as capable of implementing neo-traditional schemes as it had been at clearing old districts. In Toronto, the politicization of planning only served to invigorate civic democracy through the inclusion and reconciliation of various groups. The confrontational clashes—by Canadian standards—of the late 1960s and early 1970s resolved into a reformed, pro-planning consensus similar to that of Berlin. Ironically, given these cities’ social democratic reputations, one should note the role of moderate conservatives interested in pursuing social progress. Such “Red Tories,” including Berlin editor-publisher Wolf Jobst Siedler and especially Toronto mayor David Crombie, were pivotal in criticizing and reformulating urban planning in those cities.
Looking at the first half of the twentieth century, James Kloppenberg and Daniel Rodgers have emphasized the commonalities between U.S. and European liberal reformers:
Moderate social democracy emerged in Europe for many of the same reasons, and made possible the appearance of quite similar coalitions, as those behind the more far-reaching American progressive reform measures. Those coalitions’ disappearance had consequences as dramatic in England and France as in the United States. The consequences in Germany, of course, were far deadlier.19
I would support Rodgers’ assessment that “the same concerns with city space, shelter, and design agitated every nation in the north Atlantic economy,” but also extend it beyond World War II, a period of even more direct relationships and common
influences.20 Yet as Kloppenberg must admit with Germany’s descent into Nazism, similarities of intent can belie a variety of outcomes.
While similar policy instruments and objectives were in place in these cities by the end of the 1950s, the underlying assumptions of European and North American planners and policymakers came under divergent criticisms and revisions in the 1960s and spelled the end of a transatlantic urban renewal consensus. While clearly inspired by international modernism, planning nevertheless functioned in specific political environments. Each particular failure transformed the possibilities of planning and left distinctive imprints on these cities for the rest of the twentieth century. Each of them reaffirmed its traditional urban texture and rejected wholesale redevelopment. But in discrediting certain planning approaches, the confrontational political culture of Great Britain and the United States, by comparison with West Germany and Canada, left residues which continue to inhibit urban initiatives.
In the first half of the twentieth century, the reform impulse in the U.S. managed to persist amid changing liberal coalitions (and despite conflict), to build its achievements over successive generations. Meanwhile similar impulses in continental Europe were rent by war and revolution. In the post-World War II period, however, it was the American liberal tradition that shredded itself, and nowhere so much so as in the city, both its original seedbed and the site of its most aggressive interventions. Again, the urban renewal policies—even the crises they experienced—were remarkably similar in Berlin, London, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Toronto; the differing outcomes and legacies, however, are clear to anyone visiting these cities today.
CHAPTER 1: From “Metropolis” to “The Public Sphere”—
Democracy and Urbanism in Post-WWII Germany
This dissertation examines the changing intellectual, professional and political context of decisions about the form of particular urban places in Europe and North America. It begins, like many of the modern design ideas under consideration, in Berlin. After World War II, German cities were quickly rebuilt as these ideas ricocheted back and forth across the Atlantic and the Iron Curtain. However, the extensive application of functionalist urbanism yielded gradually to a re-examination of underlying assumptions about democracy and planning.
Berlin’s Discontents from Anti-Urbanism to Reconstruction
On the eve of Hitler’s accession to the German chancellery in 1933, Berlin had come to be “with little doubt the architectural capital of the world.”1 The pathbreakingly influential Bauhaus school, founded by Walter Gropius and by then under the direction of Mies van der Rohe, moved from the provinces to the metropolis, and the city bristled with radically new ideas about the shape of the world. Yet there was an uneasy relationship, as Berlin’s urbanists possessed a fundamental self-loathing for the urban industrial setting they inherited.2 Werner Hegemann’s Das steinerne Berlin: Geschichte der grössten Mietskasernestadt der Welt (Berlin, 1930, roughly “Petrified Berlin: History of the World’s Largest City of ‘Rental Barracks’”) epitomized intellectuals’ excoriation of Germany’s largest (and Europe’s most dense) city as it had developed within the
framework of James Hobrecht’s 1862 plan.3 The disdain for Berlin-as-it-stood permeated every city planning proposal from the architectural avant garde. With an iconoclastic shock value akin to that of Le Corbusier’s Voisin plan to raze central Paris for superblocks, Ludwig Hilbersheimer’s 1928 photo collage imagined rows of wall-like, 20¬story, 600-meter-long high-rises, which would have completely obliterated 18 blocks on either side of Friedrichstraße, Berlin’s busiest commercial thoroughfare.4 Similarly, Cornelius van Esteren, a Dutch architect affiliated with the Bauhaus, won a 1925 competition with his (unexecuted) design to replan Unter den Linden’s baroque promenade for high rise superblocks and high speed traffic.5
As a symbol of continental Europe’s most urbanized nation, Germany’s capital had been the subject of intense concern for architects, planners, politicians and reformers since the nineteenth century. Andrew Lees, who surveyed attitudes toward cities in the US, Great Britain, France and Germany during this period, concluded that
Without question, Germany produced the most extreme polarization of opinion. It was also the country in which anti-urban hatreds were most pervasive. For reasons that have to do primarily with the tenacious grip of pre-modern attitudes and values among powerfully entrenched social groups whose members felt increasingly threatened by an extremely rapid process of industrialization, the big city attracted markedly more animosity in Germany than anywhere else.6
By the 1920s, such ideas were exacerbated by the fact that attitudes toward the city were often politically-linked, and were thus buffeted by the vehemently polarized context of Weimar politics. If, as Lees contended, “acceptance of the city was most pronounced among men and women closer to the ideological center,” then this moderate position was increasingly rare in a period (to borrow Barbara Miller Lane’s description) “compounded of extravagant artistic creativity and extreme political instability.”7
It is well known that the rise of National Socialism in Germany forced the
Bauhaus to close—a gesture symbolic of the very real break with the cultural ferment of the “Golden Twenties.” Yet Hitler and the architects and planners patronized during the Third Reich embraced many of the modern industrial design ideas taught at the banned school, while rejecting its leftist ideology.8 Thus, emphasizing the continuity of this architectural discussion in her classic study, Architecture and Politics in Germany 1918¬1945, Lane argues that, “although the political involvement of architecture reached its height in Germany under Hitler, it began in 1918.”9
Nazis exercised control over architectural style not simply because it was the habit of the new regime to regulate public opinion. They did so because they saw architectural styles as symbols of specific political views, and they believed this to be more true of architecture than of the other arts. This belief was not, however, the product of the ‘totalitarian’ structure of the Nazi state. The Nazis inherited a political view of architecture from the Weimar Republic, and any discussion of Nazi architectural policy must trace the sources of this inheritance in the republican period.10
Many of the leaders in the modernist movement were driven into exile, primarily for what they had striven to symbolize politically. (Reactionary conservatives, in effect, took Bauhäusler at their revolutionary word.) But the Nazis not only retained the politicization of architecture from the Weimar intellectuals, they also embraced its anti-urban strains. Describing the ideas anti-modernists like Paul Schultze-Naumburg and Alfred Rosenberg, Lane notes that the “opposition of conservative architects to the new architecture[…] shows that, whatever their differences, they all shared a passionate hatred of the metropolis.”11
This widely-held wish to eradicate the nineteenth century character of Berlin and other European cityscapes would largely come true—albeit cataclysmically—through the deus ex machina of World War II. By the “Zero Hour” of 1945, fascist repression and the violent upheavals of the 1930s and 1940s had scattered the community of modernist
architects and planners who rose to prominence during the Weimar period. As many found their way into positions at prestigious universities in the United States, their radical politics often moderated by corporate clients, the group remained united through an influential professional organization, formalized in 1928 as the Congrés Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM).12 At a series of conferences, the group formalized its tenets into what came to be called the Athens Charter (drawn up in 1933, first published in Vichy France a decade later), which declared that cities needed to be decongested and reorganized into four functionally-segregated zones: work, residence, transportation and leisure. Over the next decade, this “functionalist” recipe—linked to the International Style of modern architecture favoring separated, unadorned boxes—was evangelized as the sole possibility for enlightened city building. The reconstruction of a Europe knee-deep in rubble offered an unprecedented opportunity for the application of the group’s principles, just as these ideas were reaching the apex of their institutional influence.13
By the end of World War II, the fate of Germany’s cities lay in the hands of the conquering powers, especially the United States and the Soviet Union. The wartime strategies of all the belligerents had escalated the effects of the conflict on urban targets to the point that many cities were effectively razed—not to speak of the human toll.14 In Germany, according to Jeffry Diefendorf, “somewhere between 400,000 and 600,000 civilians died in the air raids and between 650,000 and 850,000 were injured. Of the large cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants in 1939, on an average about 50% of their built-up area were destroyed.” Berlin lost one third of its housing, and while not the most extensively damaged, as the largest target it amassed many times more rubble than any other city—enough in fact to fill the Great Pyramid twenty times over.15 Having suffered
intensely during the German invasion of Russia, the Soviets proved more interested in exacting reparations than promoting reconstruction.16 For its part, the American occupation initially followed the Joint Chiefs of Staff directive 1067, essentially calling for the re-pastoralization of the industrial belligerent, though such a punitive approach was reversed once Germany’s strategic position in the emerging Cold War became clear.17 But even after the more constructive Marshall Plan became U.S. policy, the American military government contributed little substantively toward the physical and aesthetic rehabilitation of German cities:
The Americans exhibited much less interest in town planning or planning of any sort than the French or British. They gradually recognized the pressing need for massive housing construction, both to replace the housing damaged in the war and to provide new housing for refugees and displaced persons, and they urged the Germans to build modern, mass-produced, inexpensive housing units. Generally, however, the Americans failed to generate a consistent, high-level American policy on what, if anything, to do about helping the Germans repair their war-torn communities.18
Although the U.S. offered little material support directly to architects and city planners, the occupation did offer a medium for the reintroduction of some German émigrés who had found shelter across the Atlantic—and their influence would decidedly shape the course of reconstruction. Of the modernist exiles, none had found more fertile ground than Walter Gropius did in the United States.19 As chairman of the department of architecture at Harvard from 1937 until 1952, Gropius made “a tremendous impact on the American city,” through his own pedagogy and via his equally influential students like Marcel Breuer, Phillip Johnson and I.M. Pei.20 Diefendorf has identified Gropius as occupied Germany’s “central, if often removed, personality…whose influence was felt in the areas of planning and housing…he was seen by many Germans as representing American polity toward German cities. When Americans spoke of modern housing and town planning, what was meant was the kind of modernization advocated by Gropius.”.21
Gropius’ 1947 visit under the auspices of the U.S. Military Government, while notable at the time primarily for his impolitic pronouncements about redesigning Frankfurt to become the western capital of a divided Germany, nevertheless “left a deep impression on many German planners.”22 Another (less famous) planner-in-exile was Hans Blumenfeld (discussed in Chapter 6), a German communist who fled to Russia during the 1930s, and then on to Philadelphia’s planning commission by the 1940s (McCarthyism finally drove him to Toronto by the 1950s), who toured Germany in 1949 and advised the
U.S. Military Government.23
Ultimately, however, Germans would largely be left to undertake the reconstruction of their cities on their own. The German architecture and planning professions proved highly unified throughout the initial postwar decades. Even amidst some gradual alterations in the idealized forms they pursued, the CIAM-derived disposition that opposed the nineteenth century urban form remained coherent and dominant throughout the period. Gerhard Rabeler, whose research provides illustrations (literally and figuratively) of the ideas and images motivating the German planning profession between 1945 and 1960, identifies four phases during the first decade and a half of reconstruction: The initial phase, lasting from 1945 until the currency and constitutional stability of 1949, was characterized by an emergency posture as well as wide-ranging discussion. The second phase, corresponding to the first half of the 1950s, saw debates over the restoration versus new construction of bombed centers, leading to the dominance of the ideal of ‘deconcentrated und reorganized cities.’24 By the mid 1950s, economic momentum, the transition from manufacturing to service industries (“tertiarization”), and personal mobility engendered a more regional planning perspective
(phase three). Hans Bernhard Reichow’s call for highway modernization, Die autogerechte Stadt: Ein Weg aus dem Verkehrs-Chaos (Ravensburg, 1959, roughly: “The Automobile-Ready City: A Way out of the Traffic Chaos”), was pivotal. Finally, in the early 1960s, a fourth phase saw the emergence of a modest reaction with critiques calling for more density and urbanity.25
John Burchard, an architectural engineer and MIT professor who toured occupied Germany in 1945 and again in 1963 (at the invitation of Boston’s Consul Gerneral from the Federal Republic of Germany, funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), collected his observations in Voice of the Phoenix: Postwar Architecture in Germany (MIT, 1966). Unabashedly opinionated, he was particularly interested in the ways Germans wrestled, not altogether successfully, with the juxtaposition of old and new, as well as accommodating the automobile. In general, Burchard was struck by the Herculean achievements of German urban reconstruction, above all in West Berlin.26 With a purist’s desire for authenticity that was typical of the CIAM school of thought, Burchard subscribed to the German medieval ideal in terms of urbanism, yet he insisted only modernist approaches were appropriate for modern times:
…it is pretty clear that the most pleasant cities in Germany are the few medieval ones like Rothenburg which went untouched in the war and remain untouched by modern life. The next best are those which having suffered great damage are content to be new cities along new lines, the good examples being Berlin, Hamburg Stuttgart and Düsseldorf. Cities caught up in modern life but trying too hard to restore their past, like Hanover, or to preserve it, like Munich, are having their troubles; and if they continue to be too sentimental and too short-sighted they may, like Frankfurt, become only ghastly reminders of another era.27
Burchard’s argument against restoring in “quaint and phony” older styles, however, is undermined by the fact that he, like the tourists for whom it was intended, was fooled by the painstaking reconstruction of Rothenburg, a town which few realize lost almost one
third of its historic center to bombing.28 Nevertheless, Burchard’s sensibilities mirror architectural discussions on both sides of the Atlantic about the place of older structures within the modernized city. Stuttgart-based Wilhelm Westecker, attempting a similar “mid-term evaluation” of reconstruction in over 30 West German cities for the general public, found much to celebrate and almost nothing to criticize among the historic reconstructions and modernist redevelopments.29 His approbation was typical, since by and large, public or professional criticisms of the late 1950s tended to focus on the unfulfilled promises and missed opportunities of post-war planning (especially transportation) rather than challenge its goals.30
Some however were beginning to do just that. Gerhard Rabeler noted that sporadic objections coexisted with this dominant narrative of modernist reconstruction— some even going so far as to describe the measures of reconstruction and urban renewal as a “second destruction.” Though their influence would remain limited initially, such ideas anticipated the planning reorientation of the 1970s. Rabeler cites Josef Wolff’s pointed 1951 observation that the population’s return to even bombed-out urban areas, (“an unexpected referendum of the people”) should have prodded planners out of their technocratic fixations on modernizing traffic and shown them that old cities were not so bad after all: “... a real sense of home had also developed in the old, much abused city structures. Shouldn’t that have made the conscientious planner wonder whether his theories about the deficiencies of the old cities were right? Shouldn’t it have forced upon him the heretical notion that those cities weren’t as bad as their reputation?”31
During the growth period of the late 1950s and early 1960s, some skeptics proposed that planning should seek to steer these dynamics rather than simply pursue
fixed physical conceptions. Economist and sociologist Edgar Salin celebrated the humanistic “urbanity” of antiquity and earlier German cities, which although not literally appropriate for industrial mass culture, provided a model for planners to cease promoting “decentralization” and instead prevent the “hollowing out” of a vital core: “It is not the dissolution of the city that creates a new form, but rather only a strengthening of the core can enable new life to radiate out into the furthest districts.”32 Rabeler observes that Salin’s ideas were translated into reactive over-simplification: “An unreflective ideology of deconcentration was replaced with an equally unreflective ideology of urbanity and densification.”33
Wilhelm Wortmann similarly affirmed the metropolis, calling for the preservation of urbanistic lifestyle in the face of “overblown pastoralism,” including concentration around public transit nodes. He rejected the deconcentration/reorganization model as an anachronistic response to the city before the second industrial revolution, which had never envisioned the possibility of self-renewal.34 In 1963, planning professor Peter Koller of Berlin’s Technical University warned the city council against destructive and “technocratic conceptions.”35 In another Berlin government study (begun around 1963 though not published until 1967), Werner March praised the “power of the solid enclosed blocks to unite and encourage community.”36 Werner Hebebrand’s 1964 city planning seminar for the federal Germany industrial federation in Regensburg called for the re¬building of cleared areas and questioned CIAM functionalism as an end in itself: “A city has to be more than just functional, and it is precisely this ‘more’ that gives it the glitter and radiance.”37
Even some outsider critiques, from beyond the professional establishment, garnered attention. Jane Jacobs’ anti-planning manifesto, Death and Life of Great American Cities, first published in the United States in 1961, appeared in German by 1963.38 The following year, Berlin editor-publisher Wolf Jobst Siedler published his own paean to a city he saw being destroyed by modernist planning. Die gemordete Stadt: Abgesang auf Putte und Straße, Platz und Baum (1964, roughly: “The City Murdered: A Farewell to the Putto and the Street, the Square and the Tree), essentially a collection of essays published during the late 1950s, became a coffee table manifesto (Siedler called it “an exercise in ironic melancholy”) by juxtaposing photographs of lively, unreconstructed West Berlin cityscapes against those of foreboding—and above all empty—modernist redevelopments.39 Twenty years later, Siedler recalled in a television interview, the relief with which, as a 20-year-old soldier returning home in 1947, he found Berlin’s characteristic streets at least skeletally intact. More shocking was the subsequent “second destruction” which undertook a systematic “demolition for reconstruction.” It was no question for him that “the modern city planning did more to alter the face of old Berlin than the American fifth bomber fleet.”40 Perspectives such as that of Jacobs or Siedler were generally dismissed as being reactionary or conservative— a label which, in some cases, was not altogether inappropriate. Siedler, who preferred being called an “old conservative” to a neoconservative, embraced Die Zeit’s assessment, when the newspaper described him as “Germany’s only left-wing Tory.”41
By the mid-1960s, some of these retrospective ideas had found modest accommodation in professional architectural and planning journals like Bauwelt (published in West Berlin by the Ullsteinhaus). Its editor in chief, Dr. Ulrich Conrads,
reprinted Martin Wagner’s 1931 appreciation of Karl Friedrich Schinkel.42 The occasion of the 250th anniversary of “Karlsruhe’s world-famous city plan” provided an opportunity “to confront building past with building present,” whereby the journal celebrated the incorporation of the classical façade from a bombed out 1817 margrave’s palace on Rodellplatz into the building of the Central Depository of the Southwestern German People’s Banks by local architects Möckel and Schmidt in 1963.43 Of course, emphasizing the historical sensibilities of a CIAM pioneer or preserving exceptional architectural monuments certainly did not bring modernist urbanism into serious question.
The journal also did attack a model project of modernist reconstruction, the Technical University at the center of West Berlin.44 Simultaneously, and much more fundamentally, Ernst Heinrich, Professor of Architectural History at the TU, was cultivating an appreciation of Berlin’s eclectic and vernacular architecture, calling for contextual sensitivity in renewal as well as the preservation of entire streets and squares.45 This unorthodox sensibility found its way into the journal Bauwelt via his followers Johann Friedrich Geist and Dieter Huhn, who wondered whether city architect James Hobrecht—the architect of Berlin’s 1862 city plan—might not in fact deserve a memorial for shaping the city’s effective pattern of housing, commerce and public spaces.
Does [Hobrecht] deserve a monument? Those who blame him for what they call the fatal, petrified Berlin would reject such a monument; they would renovate. But another answer is also possible, for those who say that the hallmark of the city is not the density of concentration alone, but its solid enclosed blocks. They would not hesitate to approve the monument. 46
Their discussion swung between concrete observations of Berlin (documented with photographs) and “ideal types” of the public sphere invoking “the shared public space,”
“the public realm,” or the bounded town square as delimiting the first “public grounds.” All these terms bear the imprint of Jürgen Habermas and Hans Paul Bahrdt: “It is noteworthy that this applies exceptionally well to the nineteenth century apartment house, as an ideal type. People of all social classes live in such a building, which Hobrecht referred to as ‘commendable mixing’ in his rightly famous essay, ‘On the Creation of a Central Government Office for the Maintenance of Public Health.’”47 Like Siedler, they lamented the loss of Hobrecht’s cityscape at the hands of uncomprehending modernists (“A green preservative is spread around every city building”); they decried the “dissolution of the apartment districts” into either “solitary houses” or by the “break-up and reorganization of the population by income class;” and they rejected the new anti¬urban settlements: “the relatively insignificant difference between the cabins of a summerhouse colony and an assemblage of luxury houses lies only in the number of residents: both thoroughly reflect clear, anti-urban contours.” Citing the “perversion of the façade into a simplified structural wall that can be arbitrarily repeated at any scale,” the authors bemoan the fact that “there is no longer any privileged square in new housing projects.” The treatment of corners provided a telling contrast between the constructions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries:
The distinction between the old and new development of corner lots is so striking and so consistent that it is impossible to take as coincidental. This fact seems symptomatic. […] The cause must therefore be the consequence of general attitudes. In the nineteenth century the corner was a privileged site. It was the natural place for pubs, shops, or exceptional apartments. Architects competed using bay windows, towers, and colossal formations. The corner was emphasized in striking manner. The reverse is just as conspicuous today: no shops, no pubs, an all around embarrassment—a few shy balconies, otherwise parking spaces, garbage dumpsters, shrubbery, prohibition signs, perhaps gas stations. Houses shun the corners as if they were indecent. Sidewalk slabs and curbs are the last remaining markers. What does this mean?48
German urbanists published in Conrads’ pages appeared to be in the midst of a reform in the mid 1960s, self-critical and at times even suffering from a crisis of confidence. Prof. Julius Posener in a widely reprinted talk delivered at the Munich Seminar of the Institute for Housing and City Planning in April 1965, wondered “Is the city dying from city planning?”49 As editor, Conrads invoked the parallels to the turn-of¬the-century, when (in 1904) Theodor Goecke and Camillo Sitte also saw themselves in the midst of transitional period.50 Conrads’ journal contributors also closely watched developments abroad, often providing summaries of American and British journals. An expatriate Bauhäusler like Sibyl Maholy-Nagy still denounced the comparative banality—and continuity—of architectural theory and practice in Germany:
Postwar German architecture is characterized by fatal monotony and unimaginativeness, as if any deviation from the pre-war apartment house minus mansard roof and balcony caryatids would be a step into the abyss. A look down the reconstructed (and that’s what they really are) re-planned streets of Bonn, Hanover, Hamburg, Munich, Wolfsburg or any other city demonstrates a uniformity of risk-averse mediocrity.51
Creative exceptions were primarily from “non-committed” foreigners who “distinguished themselves by being completely disconnected from the cityscape.” Hans Scharoun’s celebrated “individual expressionism” was likewise “anti-contextual.” This state of affairs, according to Maholy-Nagy, was the result of unimaginative professional training, which emphasized imitation for placement in established firms. “Today the German exchange student is disdained in North America on account of his cold arrogance. His attitudes toward ‘American materialism’ have the primitiveness of his fathers’ ideas about ‘French morality.’ His maniacal exploitation drive has no interest in the profound wellsprings of the spirit of solidarity, experimentation, and optimism in American life.”52
Conversely, American observer John Burchard defended German training: “Architects [in Germany] have a far more serious grounding in engineering and science;
they understand construction better; the schools at Stuttgart, Brunswick, and Berlin, at least are working on a deeper integration of city planning and design and architecture than has even been begun here except in a verbal way.”53 And against the accusation of dogmatism he could point to the unorthodox Werner Ruhnau, who advocated “fluent, movable, and indeterminate” modern architectures in which “the people using them must be the elements themselves to determine the form” around 1960.54 Such a flexible approach, however, was the exception that proved the rule, since, Burchard admitted, “most architects will line up on the other side” ( “issue clearly between those who would extrapolate the earlier simple ideas of Mies and Gropius and those who follow the old paths of Wright, Le Corbusier, or Aalto or their later versions of Rudolph and Kahn.”) Burchard judged German architectural training and practice as less driven by personality cults and changing fashion (“a system which regards every new building as a potential seven days’ wonder”), but consequently more bland in its outcomes.55 “Examples can be found at random in any German city. … But the differences between such buildings to the passing eye are slight indeed; none is memorable; and the first impression is of a Germany with a monotonous style of which the examples could be multiplied indefinitely, if not very well recalled.”56 He could explain this phenomenon, if not excuse it:
Indeed, the sobriety was surely in part not a matter of choice but instigated by poverty of money and materials, necessity for rapid utilitarian rebuilding, the emigration or exile of some (though not all) of the potential innovators, and the reminiscences of the Nazi neoclassic which some thought could perhaps be purged of its connotations if it were simplified and shorn of its monumental elements. There may have been also some mystique of atonement through modesty such as some Italian critics think underlay the first postwar Italian architecture. Too many buildings may have been controlled by the bureaus. Whatever the cause, the result is a large number of workable, not very noticeable buildings from the early years, neither ugly nor beautiful.57
Burchard contended that “Despite the excellences, or the mediocrities, or the vagaries of the new German architecture, it is at the city level that any new architectural phoenix must be measured.”58 And seen on those terms, he found much to admire. For Burchard, “The most promising features of German city planning are most evident in West Berlin.”59 Berlin, he admitted, was a special case because of the wall, the city’s role as a showcase (attracting disproportionate public and private funds), an inherited imperial plan, good transit, and its identity as virtual capital. Yet these anomalies, especially the girdling wall, had forced those in the western sectors toward Burchard’s ideal of “total planning,” making him almost envious of Berlin’s awkward political conditions:
Planning has got to find new green areas or other compensations to relieve the terrific weekend crowding of the two verdant facilities. The wall has the effect on the other hand of limiting the need for an automobile. Outside excursioning, motoring to other parts of Germany, and so on, are just too hard to arrange. The Untergrundbahn can reach the farthest local boundary easily. There is therefore no great reason for most West Berliners to own automobiles, or to use them regularly if they do. As a result the ownership ration is lower than in most German cities, about 1 to 5 elsewhere and 1 to 7 in West Berlin, and the amount of in town driving is also reduced. But the wall has another benign effect, according to the planners. It prevents sprawl, but it also forces total planning. Not much of the valuable space can be left to accident; and the Berliners can easily understand why this has to be so. Can a wall be made by either law or planned building? Some Chicago planners think so; I doubt it.60
By and large, challenges to the prevailing planning paradigm were dismissed. Hamburg and Hanover planner Rudolf Hillebrecht, according to his American contemporary Burchard, had [by the 1960s] “the highest national and international reputation of any of the German planners”61 Hillebrecht addressed “Resistance against City Planning,” lamenting the excessive esteem for older structures (and related legal frameworks) as a nineteenth century inheritance that jeopardized effective planning. 62 He stumped to counter public suspicion of planning (lingering resentment of wartime controls) in hundreds of meetings.63 Hillebrecht responded publicly to anti-planning
provocations with an essay, “From Ebenezer Howard to Jane Jacobs—or: Was it all wrong?”64
Hillebrecht’s influential answer to Jane Jacob’s question of whether planners had been completely wrong for the past century was a qualified no. Despite the popularly-oriented writings of Jacobs or (closer to home) Siedler, and even given the reservations expressed by certain figures within the planning establishment, the critique of modernist renewal in Germany was in minor key. Such doubts did not get in the way of renewal projects just beginning to gather momentum. As planning historian Harald Bodenschatz has emphasized, the dawn of the 1960s marked the moment when resources were finally available to realize the postwar proposals of 1950s urbanists—most of whose ideas were derived from the pre-war functionalist dogma—aimed at the redevelopment of the Wilhelmine city. Having already brought those areas destroyed during the war into line with the new principles, German urbanists turned in earnest toward eradicating the surviving remnants of the nineteenth century.65
Not only were the architectural and planning professions firmly resolved on an ambitious and aggressive renewal course that lasted throughout 1960s and well into the 1970s, but there was also very broad political support for the program. Having overcome initial suspicions that lingered from the deprivations of wartime planning, many residents were eager to inhabit modern dwellings in functionally-separated settings. Initiatives such as Bernard Werres’ call on citizens to voice their opposition to plans in Dusseldorf—his flyer: “No, I don’t like this City Planning!”—were exceptional and ineffective.66 Bodenschatz notes the quiescence even amongst residents directly impacted by relocation schemes:
In every case they vacated apartments without legal pressure; not one eviction was needed. There was no civic opposition in the renewal areas in these years. And given the absence of a tradition of conflict in other realms, the civic confrontation had no institutional or programmatic advocacy for those relocated. More extensive citizen participation was simply unnecessary for the administration.67
Likewise, Burchard, whose writings are silent on the fate of old neighborhoods (he favored modernist housing models like those exhibited at the 1957 international building exhibition in Berlin’s Hansaviertel), at the time saw German citizens in complete sympathy with both the means and ends of urban renewal. He attributed this to a healthy political culture, including less anti-communist paranoia than in the United States. “Germans have been used for a long time to considerable state control of land and to serious restrictions on uninhibited private exploitation and development. Until the people of the United States understand that these are not slippery roads to the perdition of ‘socialism,’ beautiful and happy cities will become more and more difficult to make in America, or to preserve.”68 Particularly in the area of housing, Burchard admired the balance between public and private sector, as well as the German consumer’s “good taste” in distinction to American suburbanites.69
One corner, however, where criticism was sustained and mounting in the face of 1960s urban programs, was in the social sciences. The psychological and, especially, sociological analyses of city life during that decade would anticipate citizen opposition and influence that flourished only in the 1970s.
Social Scientific Critiques of Planning: ‘The Public Sphere’ and Urban Democracy
By the mid-1950s were calls—like that of the president of the German Academy of City and Regional Planning in 1955—for more urban studies by economists, sociologists, geographers and medical researchers.70 Around 1960, Wolfgang Hartenstein
and his colleagues at the Institute for Applied Social Science in Bad Godesberg undertook several sociological studies. Essentially public opinion surveys, they sought to explore “motivations, opinions, and behavior,” taking Hamburg as their “sociological microcensus.”71 The studies were commissioned by the city council with the support of city Baumeister Rudolf Hillebrecht, who saw sociology as the servant of good planning, complementing more statistical analyses.72 Topics included political consciousness, attitudes toward the Nazi past, but also an entire study devoted to “traffic sociology.” They observed a growing enthusiasm for the emancipating independence of the automobile, but also an aggressive quality in the power play of “armored car” drivers in a perceived competition for individualized mobility. The study urged traffic planners to take these socio-political risks in consideration alongside technical data.73
Their patron Hillebrecht received the findings of “traffic sociology” as a salutary contribution to democratic planning, and found support in it for the proposition that Germany was in danger of repeating the mistakes of North American cities that abandoned public rail transportation in the 1920s.74 Above all, the methodology seemed to him a good way to answer a question that plagued many planners—one which was tied up with the complex process of denazification in post-war Germany—namely, how the messy practice of democracy could provide the clear vision necessary for good planning.75 At the Dortmund conference in February 1955, “The Master Plan Concerns Us All,” a public meeting of the German Association for Housing, City and Regional Planning (Bad Godesburg), Markus Kutter had called planning an exercise of power that needed to make expertise more politically and democratically accountable.76 Later, Regensburg planning director Paul Schlienz, who had called for the clearance of every
other apartment house in that city to create space “in accordance with the principles of contemporary planning,” wondered at a 1960 Augsburg conference “just what is our model for the renewal of the cityscape? Shouldn’t renewal begin with the individual and his attitudes? We lack the cultural foundation for building a clear will to plan.”77 Some planning historians have noted that such uncertainties vis-à-vis German democracy appeared to be a chronic malaise:
A position was taken in 1960 that was surprisingly similar to the ‘collapse’ of 1945, right down to its terminology. With similar desperation, a cultural foundation was sought for housing units robbed of their political content. In 1945 as in 1960 they longed for the ‘clear planning will’ that National Socialism had seemed to offer. For some planners, ‘Democracy as Patron’ was a comparatively unconvincing alternative. With reference to the ‘present instability in all areas of life,’ people apparently still yearned for a stronger hand.78
For psychologist Alexander Mitscherlich, the Hamburg public opinion studies revealed darker undertones: In his commentary on the work, he castigated the residually authoritarian family structure as a poor foundation for democracy.“It should not be forgotten that our democracy twice owed its life not to a popular uprising against autocratic or terrorist forms of government, but rather to wartime defeats.”79 Mitscherlich, born in Munich in 1908, had received medical and academic degrees from Heidelberg, where he joined the faculty during WWII as director of the Psychosomatic Clinic.80 Later turning his attention to urban questions, he produced a widely-read 1965 monograph, entitled Die Unwirtlichkeit unserer Städte: Anstiftung zum Unfrieden (Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp, 1965, roughly: “Our Inhospitable Cities: An Incitement to Unrest”). In it, Mitscherlich disputed the ancient reputation that cities were the source of all evils, noting how remarkably “city-firm” the civic loyalties of German population remained even in the wake of their complete destruction.81 Taking cities as an inevitability for modern industrial society, Mitscherlich concerned himself with how they
might be rendered more humane. Returning to a late-Freudian social-psychological project—though in a decidedly less pessimistic mode than its originator—Mitscherlich saw hope for giving succor to civilization’s discontents through relatively simple improvements in the civic experience though he conceded this was not just a matter of formal regional planning.82 From his methodological point of view, these were ultimately questions of socialization and individualization; however, for Mitscherlich, that process had shifted so conclusively onto the dwelling that he could declare: “Show me your residence and I’ll tell you who you are.”83 Given such stakes, Mitscherlich criticized postwar architecture, “most of which naively reflects the rigid, practically caste-ridden societal norms,” (p. 137) citing (in a rare concrete example) the failure to provide children with places of play and disorganization that can generate the personal attachments necessary for a sense of place. Yet again he acknowledged these were not primarily questions for architecture, but rather more fundamental. “I therefore consider it a weak-spirited, insufficient solution to build and plan housing at such a scale, in such mindless rows, and with such deficient ‘side space’ for play and relaxation, without vibrant meeting places—not to speak of internal deficiencies—as has been the case with us since the end of the war.”84
Mitscherlich was by no means the only German social scientist in the 1960s attempting to educe the relationship between urban form and democratic society. German sociologists were particularly attentive to urban issues.85 A 1960 article in Bauwelt (51/52), entitled “Neighborhood or Urbanity,” introduced the sociologist Hans Paul Bahrdt to the discussion of urban quality of life. Dresden-born (1918) and trained in Dortmund and as a researcher at Ludwigshafener Industrie, Bahrdt taught in Mainz
(Habilitation, 1958), at Hannover’s Technische Hochschule (1959), and ultimately in Göttingen (Ordinarius für Soziologie, 1962). Many of his major works focused on the contributions sociology might make to urbanism. In his 1961 book, Die Moderne Großstadt: soziologische Überlegungen zum Städtebau (roughly: “The Modern Metropolis: Sociological Reflections on City Planning”), Bahrdt introduced the concept of “the public sphere” (Öffentlichkeit—literally ‘public-ness’) into the discussion, tracing the roots of modern metropolitan life to medieval free cities, whose markets provided a public sphere (of individuals truncated into economic actors) distinctive from the responsibilities of professional and private life. Looking at the recent history of cities, Bahrdt noted the gradual impoverishment of the street as a public space from a site mixing transportation (of various means) with other activities into one dominated by the needs of cars.86 Consequently, while he does not intuitively disdain the “traditional block”—if anything he laments the erosion of its urban public space—his observation of social usage in a motorized era lead him to ultimately reject them as inappropriate: “Traditional city planning forms were once by and large sensible. The city’s rules of life were visible in them. But because we use them differently today, they have become meaningless.”87 Finally, while he endorsed many of the dominant planning ideals (Reichow’s automobile-readiness, functional reorganization, transit segregation, etc.), Bahrdt called on city planners to create the conditions for a balanced public/private sphere.
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[align=left]The concept of ‘the public sphere’ would become a touchstone for social scientific critiques of planning throughout the period. The name generally associated with this concept, however, is Jürgen Habermas, as a result of his1961 Habilitationschrift,
Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit: Untersuchungen zu einer Kategorie der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft (translated in 1989 as The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society).88Habermas’ theory of the public sphere looked to a later period, namely the democratic revolutions of the eighteenth century and the industrial capitalist developments that subverted them in the nineteenth. Habermas was also primarily concerned with the media and political institutions, rather than the urban locus á là Bahrdt. Both Bahrdt and Habermas had studied in Göttingen in the early 1950s; Bahrdt wrote a dissertation for influential sociologist Helmut Plessner in 1952, whereas Habermas produced a more philosophical dissertation, ultimately presented in Bonn in 1954. Later in the decade, Bahrdt and Habermas shared an interest in the sociology of workers.89 Habermas and his collaborators at Frankfurt’s Institute for Social Research were concerned with sociological diagnoses of the authoritarian, anti¬democratic tendencies latent in postwar German society.90 Then, after joining the faculty at the University of Frankfurt as co-director of the Philosophy Seminar, in 1964, Habermas engaged in a prolonged debate with Herbert Marcuse regarding the implications of technology and technocratic sensibilities for democratic society.91 The same year that Habermas took up the chair in Frankfurt, Marcuse also returned as a guest professor to the city where he had been a founding member of the Institute for Social Research, and published One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society (1964, though not translated into German until 1970), followed quickly by Kultur und Geschichte (1965). (For his part, Habermas supplied Antworten auf Herbert Marcuse [“Replies to Herbert Marcuse”] in 1968.92) The terms and ideas of Bahrdt, Habermas and Marcuse would all penetrate the social scientific discussions of
West German planning in the 1960s—the concept of “structural transformation,” for example, even turns up in the title of practitioner Rudolf Hillebrechts’ book, Die Auswirkungen des wirtschaftlichen und sozialen Strukturwandels auf den Städtebau
(Köln & Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1964; roughly: “The Consequences of Economic and Social Structural Change for City Planning”)—but Bahrdt was the initial presence, and the only one of the three to address himself directly to the planning profession and its organs.
Another social scientist who self-consciously took a perspective similar to Bahrdt was young Freiburg political scientist and sociologist Hans Oswald (b. 1935).93 Oswald’s Die überschätzte Stadt: Ein Beitrag der Gemeindesoziologie zum Städtebau (1966, roughly: “The Overrated City: A Contribution of Communal Sociology toward City Planning”) argued that residents of industrial cities had become attached to “translocal” structures and organizations, weakening the socialization of the immediate community. “Neighborhood planning” and the “anti-urban critiques” were out of touch with these administrative changes that distinguished modern urban reality from the medieval ideal, which only served to intensify democratic apathy.94 Working on a planning project that sought to transform suburban developments into a Palatinate small town, Oswald was struck by the planners’ unreflective physical determinism, so uninformed by “real life in cities”:
…in my work I encountered a series of problems and difficulties with practitioners. It was amazing, how many unexamined assumptions about modern society lay in the proposals of city planners. In some places it is taken as a matter of course that it is possible and even imperative to revitalize pre-industrial neighborhoods through a certain building type. It is amazing how little most of those responsible for city planning know about the actual life of those cities. The literary statements of famous architects and planners demonstrate that this experience is not confined to isolated cases.95
Sociological critiques of Functionalist city planning were presenting some difficult questions to its adherents, since they pointed at weaknesses in the social assumptions the movement held dear. By 1965 the German architectural establishment welcomed a translation of Christian Norberg-Schulz’s Intentions in Architecture (orig. 1963, published in German by editor Conrads as Logik der Baukunst), seeing it, as Lucius Burckhardt expressed in his preface, as a contribution from Gideon’s “third generation,” gently revising the pioneers of modernism.96 A practicing architect, Norberg-Schulz’s argument drew heavily on architectural history as well as semantics and other theoretical fields to investigate the meaning of buildings for their users. Dissatisfied with the state of disagreement in architectural profession, and the specter of unplanned chaos, Norberg-Schulz characterized the Bauhaus as a cleansing impulse, but one he sought to place on better foundation of psychological and sociological understanding.97
In 1966, Alexander Mitscherlich left Heidelberg for Frankfurt. There at the Sigmund Freud Institute he encouraged young researchers Heide Berndt, Alfred Lorenzer and Klaus Horn to take up psychoanalytic and sociological approaches to the city. With a strong awareness of American sociological urbanists, including David Riesman, Jane Jacobs, Herbert Gans, Marc Fried, and Kevin Lynch, as well as Bahrdt, Habermas and Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man, Heide Berndt concluded that Functionalism had ceased to be a functional architecture, and needed “to develop an aesthetically novel and psychically highly differentiated formal language.” While noting that “a revival of eclecticism stimulates only the fetishistic artistic pleasure,” she suggested that “satirical application” could bring today’s materials to life. 98 Particularly influenced by Bahrdt,
she adapted the methodology of his 1957 study of conceptions of society among the
working class (Das Gesellschaftsbild des Arbeiters) for her own 1965 thesis, published in
1968 as Das Gesellschaftsbild bei Stadtplanern (Stuttgart, 1968; roughly: “Conceptions
of Society among City Planners”). Later, she took up his critique of the deficient public
sphere in modern planning:
The public realm appears in the proposals for new towns mostly as unstructured open space between monumental buildings. This impoverished depiction derives not least from the fact that municipalities, especially in large cities, lack the means to generously construct these most important public facilities (subway). Urban access systems that once anchored the public realm through representative spaces are increasingly confined to merely technical transport functions. This vividly expresses the loss of the public realm.99
Charging back into the fray in 1968, Bahrdt published his own Humaner
Städtebau: Überlegungen zur Wohnungspolitik und Stadtplanung für eine nahe Zukunft
(Hamburg: Wegner, 1968; roughly: “Humane City-Building: Reflections on Housing Policy and City Planning for a Near Future”), which he described as a “political pamphlet, polemicizing against the state of affairs” and arguing for “humane thought and action.”100 Moving beyond his earlier analyses into a politicized posture, Bahrdt hoped to defend the goal of an “urbanized city” not only against the attacks of “the now gradually fading conservative civilization critique” but also from “certain modernists who believe that modern communication and transportation technologies have rendered irrelevant the concentration of human settlements in the historically developed form of the city.”101 Bahrdt engaged several of the day’s major planning debates, including the “neighborhood” discussion from Oswald’s Die überschätzte Stadt. In response to influential planner Rudolf Hillebrecht’s pronouncement that “no one should be forced to live in monuments” like those of Stalinist Moscow or East Berlin, Bahrdt retorted that since the functionalism of the Bauhaus had degraded to an equally formulaic pose, it was
hardly different in this respect from nineteenth century “façade thinking” or fascist pseudomonumentality.102 Recognizing people’s “urge for self-expression,” Bahrdt thought that “representation in architecture and planning should be affirmed”—though only in subordination to individual housing, neighborhood and transportation designs.
Bahrdt readily acknowledged the “unmistakable influence” of Jane Jacobs’ Death and Life of Great American Cities, throughout his work.103 As he explained it, she had much to teach academic sociologists: “Even though she is not a trained sociologist, Jacobs has in our opinion given urban sociologists a lesson in exactly how to practice their discipline. The first three chapters of her book are almost exclusively concerned with the sidewalk.”104 Bahrdt devoted a section of the book to what he termed, “Points of Confusion in J. Jacobs” in which he defended her from those who misinterpreted her work, while blaming her sweeping condemnation of all planning approaches for much misunderstanding. Her “grandiose book” would have made fewer enemies and a more constructive contribution “if she at least sketched out the variety of different recipes necessary for the stabilization of urban diversity” in assorted cities.105 (His own appendix includes a set of proposals for transportation systems, residential districts and a hypothetical city plan.) In general, Bahrdt’s approach to the planning process was less confrontational than Jacobs’. In his concluding chapter, “Planning as Political Negotiation,” he asserted that “objectivity and politicization are not contradictory,” tried to reconcile “expert knowledge with the public sphere of politics,” and urged cooperation between planners and sociologists.106
If Jane Jacobs was an instructive—if autodidact—urban sociologist, as Bahrdt claimed, she was no less an assertive political activist. Bahrdt’s own willingness to
engage urban sociology in the political process of planning landed him in front of the Bundestag, where he testified regarding the German Federal Republic’s first urban planning act (or Städtebauförderungsgesetz, abbreviated StBauFG), passed in 1971.107 Similar to U.S. psychiatrist Marc Fried, who drew attention to the fate of Boston’s relocated families, Bahrdt told the government that a constructive plan would be one “which not only contains a conception of the future economic and social structure of a renewal area, that also evaluates the probability of realizing this vision and describes the phases of transition, but which also looks after the fate of those unjustly imperiled or inconvenienced by renewal measures.” Bahrdt argued for the inclusion of what became §8 (ongoing recorded resident participation), §4 (impact studies) and §9 (public design debate). Yet while these provisions theoretically strengthened the hand of residents in the planning process, a study one decade later concluded that the law had not substantially improved citizen participation.108
Prior to the 1971 StBauFG, the Federal Republic had no specific planning law at the national level (rather, the individual states had passed construction codes shortly after the war, such as Berlin’s 1949/1956 zoning.) The CDU government had begun the consideration of a federal statute as early as 1962, with a mind toward stimulating the economy by means of urban renewal programs. A recession around 1966-67 added impetus to this initiative, but it was only after the SPD took power in 1969 that the deliberations entered their final stages.109 Focusing on the prevention of speculation, the SPD opposition seized renewal as a campaign issue at a housing and planning congress in Bremen, 13-14 May 1965: “Healthy Housing in Healthy Communities: A Residence for Every Citizen.”110 This was the first substantive conference on the topic by one of
Germany’s parties, followed a week later by the CDU’s response “Germany Tomorrow— Urban and Regional Planning” in Saarbrücken May 24-26.111 Since federal StBauFG was finally passed so late in the game (1971), it ultimately ‘grandfathered’ many of the renewal processes which had already begun during its ten-year consideration.112
Somewhat disappointed in the legislative outcome, Bahrdt hoped for more legally-binding participation mechanisms: Social planning is surely a continuous process which should be initiated well before the beginning of a renewal procedure. And social planning extends beyond the execution of renewal measures. Nevertheless, in my view, the social plan, fixed in writing, can have an important political function by systematically committing to a list of programmatic points, which the municipality can not go back on later. It would of course be much better—and this is how I had originally imagined it—if a council resolution made the social plan legally binding. But there’s no provision for that in the StBauFG. But it can and should be updated, and it might also be amended. However it should function as a kind of protection when subsequent business pressures undermine the societal and socio¬political goals.113
Yet while many were aware of the movement toward “advocacy planning” (i.e. sociologists and planners reconceiving themselves as representatives for conflicting group interests within a pluralist democracy), amongst the likes of Herbert Gans, Paul Davidoff, and Denise Scott Brown in the U.S. or, slightly earlier, sociologists Michael Young and Peter Willmott in Britain, German urban sociologists consistently assumed a softer disposition, one less willing to undermine planners’ authority. One example of this distancing posture is Bernhard Schäfers (b. Münster, 1939), a political scientist and sociologist with the University of Münster’s Central Institute for Regional Planning, who welcomed the “possibilities for social planning” opened by the StBauFG.114 Schäfers drew primarily on Habermas’ Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit to conceptualize the planning process as a negotiation between planners and those affected.115 His case studies examined metropolitan reorganization in Nordrein-Westfalen, where “the idealistic
conception of the public sphere, as the best forum for discussing decisions about the common good, proved to be illusory.”116 Yet for Schäfers this was less an inherent quality of democratic planning (as per Paul Davidoff), as much as a failure, amidst narrow self-interest, whereby “no one in the planned district was non-partisan enough to constitute the public sphere in the true interest of planning.”117 The politicized conflicts, he concluded, simply illustrated that the planning process was not yet fully developed.118 When Schäfers explicitly addressed the Anglo-American role of advocacy planner or community organizer, referring both to Paul Davidoff and to Karl Popper’s “piecemeal engineering,” he doubted that these models were directly applicable in Germany.119 Instead, he interpreted his empirical studies to suggest that, in the face of growing responsibilities, planning agencies should not be inundated by public pressures but rather insulated from them.120 Schäfers concluded that planning reform was being pulled in three major directions—social revolutionary, liberal and ad hoc advocacy —as well as a fourth impulse he termed educational. With a confidence in technical expertise implied by the last option, Schäfers and two fellow researchers at the University of Münster developed and published a proposal in 1969 promoting a more “social-science-oriented curriculum” for planners, based on their observation that social, economic and legal considerations were neglected in planners’ training and planning practice.121
Germany’s 1971 federal planning legislation, while formally a dramatic step, represented an institutionalization of the status quo. Even Bahrdt’s amendments were moderate measures, which did not vilify planners or the planning process (in distinction to Jacobs). As he explained shortly after the new law came into effect:
You may ask, ‘What happened to participation?’ I would contend that the emergence of
citizen initiatives, citizen forums, renewal advisory councils, and district councils should
be promoted. But we shouldn’t think that these citizen activities could replace ongoing, trained, professional work on social planning. When corresponding citizen activities develop, their representatives will appreciate having social planning experts whose information they can utilize. I think it’s obvious that experts should act as advisors but also as students of the citizen initiatives.122
To look at the beginning of the 1970s, one might conclude that modernist urban renewal in Germany was inextricably anchored in a particular political culture of non-confrontational consensus, deference to authority and confidence in technical expertise seen both in Burchard’s idealized observations as well as the ambivalent misgivings of Bahrdt. Yet stiffer challenges would subsequently accompany the political awakening of a generation that had few memories of war, and little if any relationship to post-war housing crises. Following a decade during which citizens were little more than passive (often willing) subjects of neighborhood clearance, historians note a number of citizen initiatives emerged across the country, concerned with quality of life issues. Ulfert Herlyn cites the “Red Point” transit strike of summer 1969, the first squatters in the bourgeois district of Frankfurt’s west end, also the Women’s Action 70 against §218 in that city, and grass-roots initiatives in Berlin’s Märkisches Viertel housing project.123 When Harald Bodenschatz focuses on the neighborhoods of West Berlin, he finds the first concerted and politically potent confrontations between urban renewal’s institutional conventions and grassroots outsiders developing over the course of the 1970s:
In contrast to the 1960s a broader civic opposition to urban renewal policy developed after about 1973, which speaks to the fourth and most important hallmark of the new phase of West Berlin urban renewal. This opposition was dominated by organizations or individuals of the 68er movement and initially supported by parts of the old-established districts and some shop owners, though not—and this remains a central problem of the civic opposition until today—by the immigrants meanwhile living in the urban renewal
areas.Berlin’s most significant urban renewal areas in this respect were Charlottenburg
Klausenerplatz, Kreuzberg’s Kottbuser Tor and Schöneberg-Bülowstraße. Charlottenburg
Klausenerplatz included the Block 118 project in which Hardt-Waltherr Hämer’s restrained design accommodated citizen demands for very limited demolition or relocation as well as rent reductions.125 In 1971, the Protestant Church in Kreuzberg began to oppose publicly the dismantling of the neighborhood’s social and physical integrity. Growing militancy in the district forced the city council to initiate the 1977-78 “Strategies for Kreuzberg” competition, which presented new concepts (if less implementation) in an attempt to reflect residents’ values.126 A final, radical resistance phase arrived in 1979 with the advent of politicized squatters. Their calls for illegal house occupation in the face of property owners’ destructive neglect (“lieber instandbesetzen als kaputtbesitzen”) mounted to the 1980 collapse of Dietrich Stobbe’s SPD/FDP-led city council, followed by a peak of 165 occupations.127 The reaction was a CDU government crackdown, resulting in the accidental death (involving a bus) of a youth during a police action in the Schöneberg district in September, 1981. Subsequent appeasement saw the legalization of one third of the squatters.128 And yet, in keeping with the German population’s comparative support for modernist redevelopments, some of the most scandalous public reckonings with urban renewal’s legacies in Berlin were concerned not about the nature of the program but rather the quality of its execution. In 1982, just ten years after high-rise housing units for 38,000 were completed in the Märkischen Viertel district, the project was found to be in need of 50 million DM of structural repairs to façades and roofs.129 Other embarrassing revelations emerging by the early 1980s— suddenly and paradoxically placing the renovation of renewal projects as a more pressing need than slum clearance—included the condemnation of the Britz-Süd housing project.130
During this tumultuous decade, the planning and architecture professions reacted by gradually embracing the reaffirmation (at least among the younger generation) of Berlin’s old cityscape. The first building in any renewal area of West Berlin to be renovated, as opposed to demolished, was a designated historic property, Christenstraße 40, in Charlottenburg-Klausenerplatz, restored in 1967.131 In 1968, activist architecture students as well as professional and academic sympathizers had mounted a provocative exhibition at Berlin’s Technical University, “Diagnosis of Construction in West Berlin,” documenting with interviews and photographs the imperfect outcomes of urban renewal projects.132
Important professional watersheds were to follow, delineated primarily by Hardt-Waltherr Hämer and young architect Josef Paul Kleihues.133 In a major break, Hämer retained facades of Puttbusserstraße 29-31, (planned 1970 completed 1974) for a renovation in the Wedding Brunnenstraße district. Also in the same renewal area was “the first new construction of a conventionally-conceived inner city block since World War II”: Kleihues’ “open corner” project for Block 270 on Vinetaplatz (planned 1971, executed 1975/77).134 Though some precedents for these proposals existed in the suggestions of March or Kollers in the early 1960s, it was not until the mid 1970s that such “reactionary” ideas could be implemented in concrete.135 A converging development came when the Council of Europe declared 1975 the “Year of European Architectural Heritage.” Though West Berlin’s city government was conservative and years too late in legal provision for preservation (only on 22 Dec. 1977), the 1975 brochure of the German National Committee for the Year of European Architectural Heritage cited the value of Berlin’s nineteenth century structures. Historic preservation had roots at the beginning of
the twentieth century in Germany, (among others Eduard Jobst Siedler’s Märkischer Städtebau im Mittelalter Berlin, 1914; roughly: “Brandenburg City-Building in the Middle Ages”), and in the 1970s an emphasis on preserving districts gradually emerged.136
In 1978, a series of articles in the Berliner Morgenpost by Wolf Jobst Siedler and Josef Paul Kleihues convinced the Berlin Senat to host an international building exhibition (known by the German abbreviation IBA, projected for 1984), for which it chartered a company. Though it might not have been the case even five years earlier, by the late 1970s design fashions were rapidly shifting away from the towers-in-parkland housing of Walter Gropius and others who had garnered laurels at Berlin’s last such exhibition in 1957. This time the IBA would have two concurrent foci, each led by a pioneer of the professional transition in Berlin architecture: Kleihues would develop new construction projects for destroyed areas like the southern Friedrichstadt and southern Tiergartenviertel, with the motto “critical reconstruction of the city”; Hämer led the division focusing on old districts like Luisenstadt and incorporating the “Strategies for Kreuzberg” project, under the banner of “gentle urban renewal.”137 Over the next decade (including exhibitions in 1984 and 1989) the exhibition’s new buildings (Kleihues’ division, known as “IBA-Neubau”) and refurbishments (Hämer’s “Altbau-IBA”) would effect the production of 8,000 new and renovated housing units, as well as the “transformation of a dozen empty industrial plants into ‘Culture Factories,’ the greening of interior courtyards, and the construction of parks.”138 The IBA not only brought international attention to Berlin as a showplace for ‘post-modern’ city-building—a somewhat belated attempt by architecture and planning professionals to catch up with the
de facto popular reaffirmation of the traditional urban form, but it also contributed to the public appreciation of the city as a historical artifact, including an omnibus exhibition connected with its 750th anniversary.139
German social scientists like Hans Paul Bahrdt were attuned to the city in a sensitive way, questioning modernist planning assumptions (with roots in the politicized anti-urbanism of 1920s Berlin), even attempting to democratize planning legislation. In contrast to their professional colleagues in the United States, however, they did not find their urban renewal critiques (or themselves) allied with any grassroots resistance movements during the 1960s, and so could do little to alter the accepted clearance procedures.140 Such impulses would largely have to await the arrival of the “68-er” generation on the urban political scene, which took place over the course of the 1970s. Yet in another contrast to the acrimonious legacy of urban renewal in the United States, the public sector did not emerge thoroughly discredited from the squatter episodes (though they may have helped bring down a mayoralty in Berlin). An architectural community gradually awakening from dogmatic modernist urbanism was able to play catch-up in response to the popular reaffirmation of nineteenth century neighborhood fabric. ‘Post-modern’ approaches, epitomized by the Berlin IBA’s “gentle urban renewal,” could then be integrated into a still vital institutional planning apparatus by the mid 1980s.141 These neo-conventional concepts would then lay the foundation for the “critical reconstruction” of Berlin as a reunified—and self-consciously urbane—capital city a decade later.142
NOTE: All translations from German language sources are my own.
1 John Burchard, Voice of the Phoenix: Postwar Architecture in Germany (Cambridge: MIT, 1966), p.
2 Harold Poor, “City versus country: anti-urbanism in the Weimar Republic” Societas VI (1976), 177¬92; Klaus Bergman, Agrarromantik und Grossstadtfeindschaft (Meisenheim am Glan, 1970); Friedrich Sengle, “Wunschbild Land und Schreckbild Stadt: Zu einem zentralen Thema der neueren deutschen Literatur,” Studium Generale XVI (1963), pp. 619-31.
3 Alexandre Richie, Faust’s Metropolis: A History of Berlin (NY: Carroll & Graf, 1998), p. 163 (citing Statistisches Jahrbuch der Stadt Berlin). See also, Martin Wagner, ed., Das neue Berlin: Grossstadtprobleme (Berlin, 1929). Wagner would later teach with Gropius at Harvard. Hegemann (1881¬1936), who was educated (among other places) at the University of Pennsylvania, called for the rationalization of the city through the socialization of property. He lost his citizenship in 1933 and went on to teach at Columbia University. In 1922 Hegemann (together with Elbert Peets) published The American Vitruvius—An Architect’s Handbook of Civic Art, a survey of “art of building cities,” ancient and modern, later rediscovered by “New Urbanists” like Leon Krier. See Günther Kühne, “Hegemann, Werner” The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy (Accessed 30 May 2003); also C. Crasemann Collins: ‘A Visionary Discipline: Werner Hegemann and the Quest for the Pragmatic Ideal’, Center: J. Archit. America V (1989), pp. 74–85.
4 Hilbersheiber was transposing his 1924 rational city ideas onto the urban landscape. He later rejected this approach: see Hilbersheimer, Berliner Architektur der 20er Jahre (Berlin: 1967) p. 65
5 As President of the CIAM from 1930 to 1947, Van Eesteren (1897-1988) was pivotal in formalizing the ideas of “the functional city” that underlay the 1934 Athens Charter. He also served as city planner for Amsterdam from 1929 to 1959. See ‘Eesteren, Cornelis [Cor] van’, The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy (Accessed 30 May 2003).
6 Andrew Lees, Cities Perceived: Urban Society in European and American thought (NY: Columbia, 1985) p. 311.
7 Description from Barbara Miller Lane, Architecture and Politics in Germany 1918-1945 (Cambridge: Harvard, 1968), p. 5.
8 In Hermann Hipp and Ernst Seidl, eds. Architektur als politische Kultur: philosophia practica (Berlin: Reimer, 1996), Harold Hammer-Schenk explores the Berlin proposals of American-inspired modernists during the Nazi regime. The role of American influences on German modernism discussed by Michael Baumunk, “Die schnellste Stadt der Welt,” in Gottfried Korff and Reinhard Rürup, eds. Berlin, Berlin: Ausstellung zur Geschichte der Stadt (Berlin, 1987).
9 Lane, p. 216.
10 Lane, p. 3.
11 Lane, p. 9. Conservative architects associated with the Kampfbund für deutsche Kultur endorsed architecture of “around 1910.” Ironically, Hitler’s feelings for Berlin, and not only as Albert Speer would have refashioned it into Germania, were warmer than many architects’. Alexandra Ritchie: “Berliners’ post-war attempts to prove how Hitler disliked their city ring hollow when one reads Hitler’s words on the subject.” (Faust’s Metropolis, p. 995, note 4) She quotes from Bormann, Hitler’s Table Talk p. 88: “I have always been fond of Berlin. If I’m vexed by the fact that some of the things in it are not beautiful, it’s precisely because I’m so much attached to the city. During the first world war, I twice had ten days’ leave. I never dreamt of spending those leaves in Munich. My pleasure would have been spoilt by the sight of all those priests. On both occasions, I came to Berlin, and that’s how I began to be familiar with the museums of the capital…What is ugly in Berlin, we shall suppress. Nothing will be too good for the beautification of Berlin.”
12 Eric Mumford, The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, 1928-1960 (Cambridge: MIT, 2000).
13 To emphasize the transatlantic continuities on urban reconstruction, Friedhelm Fischer, “German Reconstruction as an International Activity,” Diefendorf, ed. Rebuilding Europe’s Bombed Cities (NY, 1990) p. 133-4 cites Walter Gropius and Martin Wagner’s “Program for City Reconstruction”
Architectural Forum (July 1943) and the National Association of Real Estate Boards’ “Post-War Cities” brochure (Chicago, 1945) that compared the effects of blight with bombing.
14 There is an ongoing discussion about the intentions and results of total war strategies during World War II. A recent collection, including an assessment of the air war’s effect on Berlin by Peter Wapnewski, is Ein Volk von Opfern? Die neue Debatte um den Bombenkrieg 1940-1945 (Berlin: Rowohlt, 2003), edited by Lothar Kettenacker.
15 Jeffry M. Diefendorf, In the Wake of War: The Reconstruction of German Cities after World War II (NY: Oxford, 1993), quote from p. 11. The rubble comparisons are extrapolated from Diefendorf’s data on
p. 15: Berlin: 55,000,000 cubic meters; Hamburg (the only city within 2-fold of Berlin): 35,800,000 cubic meters. 16 Bruce Kuklick, American policy and the division of German:; the clash with Russia over reparations (Ithaca: Cornell, 1972)
17 Thomas Schwartz, America’s Germany: John J. McCloy and the Federal Republic of Germany (1991) sees Germany as the “cockpit” of American postwar foreign policy. A guide to the documents of this period is OMGUS-Handbuch : die amerikanische Militarregierung in Deutschland 1945-1949, Christoph Weisz, ed. (Munchen : Oldenbourg, 1994). Jeschonnek, Friedrich; Riedel, Dieter; Durie, William (Hgg.): Alliierte in Berlin: 1945 - 1994. Ein Handbuch zur Geschichte der militärischen Präsenz der Westmächte. (Berlin: Arno Spitz 2002) provide a detailed survey of the Allies military presence in Berlin throughout the Cold War. Bark, Dennis L.: Die Berlin-Frage 1949-1955: Verhandlungsgrundlagen und Eindämmungspolitik (Veröffentlichungen der Historischen Kommission zu Berlin, Band 36: 1972)Vorw. v. Herzfeld, Hans.
18 Diefendorf, In the Wake of War, p. 246.
19 See Donald Fleming and Bernard Bailyn eds. The Intellectual Migration; Europe and America, 1930-1960 (Cambridge: Harvard Belknap, 1969) including William H. Jordy’s admiring appraisal in “The Aftermath of the Bauhaus in America: Gropius, Mies, and Breuer” (illustrated 27 photos, etc) p. 526
20 Jill Pearlman, “Joseph Hudnut and the unlikely beginnings of post-modern urbanism at the Harvard Bauhaus” Planning Perspectives 2000 July, v.15, n.3, p. 202. For a critical assessment of the imprint of Gropius on “Harvard architects” and beyond, see Klaus Herdeg The Decorated Diagram: Harvard Architecture and the Failure of the Bauhaus Legacy (MIT, 1983).
21 Jeffry M. Diefendorf, “America and the Rebuilding of Urban Germany” in Diefendorf, et al. eds., American Policy and the Reconstruction of West Germany, 1945-1955 (Cambridge UP, 1993), p. 332. See also Jeffry Diefendorf, “Berlin on the Charles, Cambridge on the Spree: Walter Gropius, Martin Wagner and the Rebuilding of Germany,” Helmut Pfanner, ed. Kulturelle Wechselbeziehungen im Exil—Exile Across Cultures (Bonn, 1986), pp. 343-58.
22 Friedhelm Fischer, “German Reconstruction as an International Activity,” in Diefendorf, Rebuilding, p. 140.
23 Blumenfeld accompanied Philadelphia citizen’s planning committee head Samuel Zisman. Jeffry M. Diefendorf, “America and the Rebuilding of Urban Germany” in Diefendorf, American Policy, p. 338 ff. See also Blumenfeld’s memoirs and collections, Life begins at 65 : the not entirely candid autobiography of a drifter (1987) and The modern metropolis; its origins, growth, characteristics, and planning. Selected essays. Paul D. Spreiregen, ed. (Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1967).
24 This approach, articulated in a much-cited proposal conceived at the end of the war, J. Göderitz, R. Rainer, H. Hoffmann, Die gegliederte und aufgelockerte Stadt (Tubingen, 1957/Berlin 1945), was dramatically demonstrated two building exhibitions: Constructa 1951 and Interbau 1957.
25 Gerhard Rabeler, Wiederaufbau und Expansion westdeutscher Städte 1945-1960 im Spannungsfeldvon Reformideen und Wirklichkeit: Ein Überblick aus städtebaulicher Sicht (Bonn: Shriftenreihe des Deutschen Nationalkomitees für Denkmalschutz, Band 39, 1990).
26 Burchard, Voice of the Phoenix, p. 4: “Berlin’s recovery is the most noticeable partly for ideological reasons and partly because there are still so many open lots to remind the visitor of 1945. There are such lots in Munich too but with no such dramatically juxtaposed new constructions. The Berlin result is noticeable on an absolute as well as on a relative scale.”
27 Ibid., p. 166.
28 The myth of Rothenburg inviolate is dispelled by Diefendorf, In the Wake of War, p. 310 note 18.
29 Wilhelm Westecker, Wiedergeburt der deutschen Städte (Düsseldorf: Econ-Verlag, 1962)
30 “Öffentlich-” and “Fachliche Wiederaufbaukritik” in Rabeler, Wiederaufbau pp. 168-9
31 Josef Wolff, “Füng Jahre Städtebau der Nachkriegszeit” Baum 48 (1951), p. 42. Cited in Rabeler,
Wiederaufbau, “Ein anderer Rückblick” p. 79. 32 Quoted by Rabeler, Wiederaufbau, p. 175 from Edgar Salin “Urbanität” Städtetag Juli 1960 p. 329.
See also Salin’s “Über den Gestaltwandel der Stadt.” 33 Rabeler, Wiederaufbau, p. 175.34 Wortman’s talk “Die Re-Urbanisierung, der Weg zu einer neuen Gestalt der Stadt” at the Institut für
Städtebau und Wohnungswesen (Munich, 1961) published in Abh. zum neuen Stuadtebau und Städtebaurecht Schriften reihe Deutsche Akademie für Stuadtebau und Landesplanung XIII, Tübingen 1962 is discussed in Rabeler, Wiederaufbau, under “Leitbildkritik,” pp.174-175.
35 Bodenschatz, Platz frei, p. 180. Koller was contracted by the Senator für Bau- und Wohnungswesen
to study the Wedding renewal area. 36 Ibid., p. 181: “bindende nachbarschaftspflegende Kraft der geschlossenen Bauweise.” 37 From Alfred Simon “Abschied von Werner Hebebrand” Der Architekt 11, 1966 p. 358, quoted in
Klaus von Beyme, Werner Durth, Niels Gutschow, Winfried Nerdinger and Thomas Tofstedt, eds. Neue Städte aus Ruinen: Deutscher Städtebau der Nachkriegszeit (Munich: Prestel-Verlag, 1992), p. 30. 38 Jane Jacobs, Tod und Leben großer amerikanischer Städte (translated by Eva Gärtner; Berlin/Frankfurt/Wien: Ullstein, 1963). 39 Wolf Jobst Siedler, Elisabeth Niggemeyer (documentation Gina Angreß), Die gemordete Stadt:Abgesang auf Putte und Straße, Platz und Baum (1964).
40 “Stadtgespräch: Ein Gespräch mit dem Berliner VErleger und Publizisten Wolf Jobst Siedler geführt von Richard Schneider” Published transcript of TV interview, Jan. 8, 1986 (Sender Freies Berlin, 1986) p. 8-9.
41 Ibid., p. 7.
42 Bauwelt 18, 3 May 1965 and 10 May issues.
43 “Das Markgräfliche Palais in Karlsruhe,” Bauwelt 24 (14.Juni 1965), pp. 695-700.
44 Bauwelt 23, p. 670. Other modernists, including John Burchard also rejected its outcome.
45 Bodenschatz, Platz Frei, p. 179, cites Heinrich, “Der Hobrechtplan,” Jahrbuch für
brandenburgische Landesgeschichte 13/1962. 46 Johann Friedrich Geist/Dieter Huhn, “Gebührt James Hobrecht ein Denkmal?” Bauwelt 24 (14.Juni
1965) p. 704.47 Ibid., p. 703. 48 Ibid., p. 701. 49 Julius Posener “Stirbt die stadt an der Stadtplanung?” Stadtbauwelt: Beiträge zur Neuordnung von
Stadt und Land 6/Bauwelt 26/27 (28.Juni1965) p. 454-458. 50 Ibid., pp. 442-444. 51 Sibyl Maholy-Nagy, “Berufung oder Beruf” Bauwelt 13/14 (29. March 1965), p. 359-361. 52 Ibid. 53 Burchard, Voice of the Phoenix, p. 5.54 Burchard mentions him in Voice of the Phoenix, p. 11-12.55 Ibid., p. 162. 56 Ibid., p. 7.57 Ibid., p. 7.58 Ibid., p. 159. 59 Ibid., p. 162. 60 Ibid., pp. 163-4. 61 Ibid., p. 161. Also discussed extensively by Diefendorf, Wake of War. Hillebrecht’s writings
include, Fundamente des Aufbaues: Organisator. Grundlagen. (Hamburg: Phönix-Verl., 1948); “Neuaufbau der Stadte” (1957) in Städtebau als Herausforderung: Ausgewählte Schriften und Vorträge
(Cologne: Kohlhammer,1975); Die Auswirkungen des wirtschaftlichen und sozialen Strukturwandels auf
den Städtebau (Köln & Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1964). 62 Rabeler, Wiederaufbau, p. 7663 Ibid., p. 7764 Stadtbauwelt 8 (1965). After Jacobs visited Hannover, where Hillebrecht was planner, in 1967, she
told a audience of British architects that he, together with Ian Nairn of Britain’s Architectural Review, were
practically the only people „who really understand infilling as a very viable, functional way of planning.”
RIBA Journal (March 1967) p. 98. Writing to her family, she enthused: “In Hanover I actually see the kind
of planning, all built, actually executed! That I have recommended! But this is not because of my book. It
is because of Prof. Hillebrecht, the planner from here who came to see us in N.Y. He did it beginning in the
late 1940s and early 1950s.” Letter of 24 Jan. 1967, published in Allen, Ideas that Matter, p. 87.65 See Bodenschatz, „Die praktische Umsetzung der Kritik an der Mietskasernenstadt im großen
Maßtab,” Bodenschatz, Platz frei, p. 171 ff.66 Orig. pub in Baumeister 47. Jhg Illustration reproduced in Rabeler, Wiederaufbau, p. 7667 Bodenschatz, Platz frei, p. 179:68 Burchard, Phoenix, p. 16069 Ibid., p. 103: Naturally, one wonders why their achievement in group housing has been so strong. It is true that the bureaucracies are less timid. Yet much of their housing has been achieved through the use of private capital under an ingenious limited-dividend-cum-tax¬alleviation system; thus the variety in the housing there is a consequence of private initiative as well as the good taste of the bureaucracies. It is true that the Germans are used to more compact living: Most would not prefer a ranch house in the latest desolate development in Marin County or on Long Island to an orderly row house in Hansaviertel or Neue Vahr. It is true that they are not so suspicious of the ‘public domain’ and that their land controls are more effective and less debated. As the upshot of all these forces, and as a result too of their habits of mind, housing has engaged the attention of all the leading German architects as it has not engaged the attention of many of ours, who find greater profits and more acclaim in other design activities.
70 Rabeler, Wiederaufbau, p. 76.
71 Wolfgang Hartenstein and Günter Schubert, Mitlaufen oder Mitbestimmen: Untersuchung zum
demokratischen Bewußtsein und zur politischen Tradition (Frankfurt/M.: Europäische Verlaganstalt,
1961), vorbemerkung. See Hillebrecht’s comments “Was der Städtebauer dazu sagt. Ein Nachwort.” 72 See Hillebrecht’s commentary, “Was der Städtebauer dazu sagt. Ein Nachwort.” 73 Wolfgang Hartenstein and Klaus Liepelt, Man auf der Straße: Eine verkehrssoziologische
Untersuchung (Frankfurt/M.: Europäische Verl., 1961). 74 Ibid., p. 153. 75 Ibid., p. 152. 76 Others present included Lucius Burckhardt, Max Frisch, van Oyen (Holland), Jensen, sociologist
Ipsen. Rabeler, Wiederaufbau, p. 77.77 Quoted in von Beyme, Neue Städte aus Ruinen, p. 29.78 Ibid, p. 29. 79 Alexander Mitscherlich, “Der Leitwert—Pflicht-Gehorsam. Ein Deutungsversuch” in Hartenstein
and Schubert, Mitlaufen oder Mitbestimmen, p. 93.80 See Wer ist Wer (Frankfurt: Societäts, 1975), p. 703. 81 Mitscherlich, Unwirtlichkeit, p. 143.82 Ibid., p. 160. 83 Ibid., p. 137. 84 Ibid., pp. 124, 135-6. 85 Looking back over a decade of research, sociologists formed the core of selections for a collection
edited by Wolfgang Pehnt, Die Stadt in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland: Lebensbedingungen, Aufgaben,
Planung (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1974) incl. contributions from René König, Hans Paul Bahrdt, Lucius Burckhardt, Gerd Albers, Ulfert Herlyn, Thomas Sieverts, among others. For the deeper roots of this development, see W.D. Smith, “The emergence of German urban sociology, 1900-1910” Journal of the History of Sociology, 1979, pp. 1-16. See also H. Korte, Stadtsoziologie: Forschungsprobleme und Forschungsergebnisse der 70er Jahre (Darmstadt, 1986)
86 Hans Paul Bahrdt, Die Moderne Großstadt: soziologische Überlegungen zum Städtebau (Reinbek b.
Hamburg : Rowohlt, 1961), p. 100. 87 Ibid., p. 100. 88 Philosophie der Gegenwart in Einzeldarstellungen, Julian Nida-Rümelin, ed. (Stuttgart: Alfred
Kröner, 1991), p. 210 ff.
89 Compare J. Habermas, “Soziologische Notizen zum Verhältnis von Arbeit und Freizeit,” Konkrete Vernunft: Festschrift für E. Rothaker (Bonn: 1958)—cited by Bahrt in Die moderne Großstadt—and Bahrdt’s work on Das Gesellschaftsbild des Arbeiters (Tübingen, 1957 with Popitz, Kesting and Jüres).
90 See Douglas Kellner’s paper, “Habermas, the Public Sphere, and Democracy: A Critical Intervention,” available at http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/kellne...m#_ednref3
91 Andrew Feenberg, “Marcuse or Habermas: Two Critiques of Technology,” Inquiry 39, 1996, pp. 45-70. (http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/feenberg/marhab.html
92 A good discussion of schools and debates in postwar German sociology (e.g. Positivismus Streit circa 1963-1965 btw. Habermas and Hans Albert) is provided by M. Rainer Lepsius, “Die Entwicklung der Soziologie nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg 1945 bis 1967” in Günther Lüschen, ed. Deutsche Soziologie seit 1945: Entwicklungsrichtungen und Praxisbezug (Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1979 appearing as Sonderheft 21/1979 of Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie). Another useful overview is Walter L. Bühl, “Contemporary Sociology in Germany,” in Raj P. Mohan and Arthur S. Wilke, eds. International Handbook of Contemporary Developments in Sociology (Westport: Greenwood, 1994)
93 Hans Oswald, Die überschätzte Stadt: Ein Beitrag der Gemeindesoziologie zum Städtebau (Olten, Freiburg i.Br.: Walter, 1966), footnote, p. 9: “Auch H.P. Bahrdt, Die moderne Großstadt, scheint von ähnlichen Erfahrungen auszugehen.” See Kürschners (1976) p. 2324.
94 Bahrdt made a similar point in Die moderne Großstadt, p. 70: “Mit der Entwicklung nationaler Großstaaten und der industrialisierten, überlokal stark verflochtenen Wirtschaft verschieben sich viele gesellschaftliche und politische Themen aus der kommunalen Öffentlichkeit hinaus in die nationale Öffentlichkeit. Die Kommune wird für den Bürger politisch verhältnismaßig uninteressant.”
95 Die überschätzte Stadt: Ein Beitrag der Gemeindesoziologie zum Städtebau (Olten, Freiburg i.Br.: Walter, 1966), p. 9. 96 Christian Norberg-Schulz, Intentions in Architecture (Oslo: Universitätsforlaget, 1963) appears in German as Logik der Baukunst (Berlin: Ullstein, 1965). 97 Norberg-Schulz, Logik der Baukunst, p. 16. Norberg-Schulz sees Gideon and Hans Sedlmayr as poles in debate about whether modern architecture is inherently dehumanizing. 98 Heide Berndt, “Ist der Funktionalismus eine funktionale Architektur,” Architektur als Ideologie
(Frankfurt 1968), p. 40. 99 Ibid., p. 26.100 Bahrdt, Humaner Städtebau, p. 11, 15.101 Ibid., p. 14102 Ibid., p. 27 103 Ibid., “Gleitwort,” dated Dec 1967, p. 9 104 Ibid. p. 218 note 29. Bahrdt also cites British urban sociologists, R.N.Morris, J. Mogey, and P.
Willmott; p. 217 note 19a. 105 Ibid., p. 160-161 106 Ibid., p. 192, 197 and 204, respectively. 107 The final text of the StBauFG was published in the Bundesgesetzblatt Teil I 1971, p. 1125. The
minutes of the Bundestag’s final plenary debates on the original StBauFG are found in the Verhandlungen des Deutschen Bundestags (Bonn) 6. Wahlperiode, 127. Sitzung (16 June 1971) pp. 7317-7420 as well as the 133. Sitzung (19 July 1971) pp. 7745-7749. Related materials from the legislation are catalogued in
Parlamentsspiegel: Dokumentation (Düsseldorf: Landtag Nordrhein-Westfalen) for the years 1970, 1971 (and others) under “Stadtbauförderungsgesetz”. The relationship between the StBauFG and prior (as well as subsequent) legislation is succinctly explained in Klaus Rabe, Frank Steinfort and Detlef Heintz, Bau-und Planungsrecht: Raumordnungs- und Bauplanungsrecht, städtebauliche Sanierung und Entwicklung, Bauordnungsrecht (Köln: Deutscher Gemeindeverlag, 1997), pp. 1-11 and (regarding urban renewal) pp. 215-232.
108 J. Jessen and W. Siebel et al. “8 Jahre Vorbereitende Untersuchungen nach §4 StBauFG—nur ein Nachruf?” Stadtbauwelt 63 (1979).109 Heidede Becker “Vom kahlschlag zum behutsamen Umgang mit der alten Stadt” in Wohnen und
Stadtpolitik im Umbruch, p. 89110 “SPD setzt auf Städtebau” Bauwelt 22 (31.May1965), p. 613. 111 Bauwelt 22 (31.May 1965), p. 614; on the CDU program see also Bauwelt 24 (14.Juni 1965), pp.
689-691 and Bauwelt 25 (12.June 1965), pp. 728-729.112 Heidede Becker “Vom kahlschlag zum behutsamen Umgang mit der alten Stadt” in Wohnen und Stadtpolitik im Umbruch, p. 89
113 Bahrdt, “Die Bedeutung gesellschafts-politischer Ziele für die Institutionalierung der Sozialplanung” 1974 lecture at Institut für Städtebau Berlin der Deutschen Akademie für Städtebau und Landesplanung, quoted in Joachim Brech et al., Partizipation bei der Stadtplanung: Literatursammlung (Bonn-Bad Godesberg: Bundesminister für Raumordnung, Bauwesen und Städtebau, 1976; Forschungsauftrag, vorgelegt vom Institut Wohnen und Umwelt GmbH, Darmstadt), p. 11.
114 B. Schäfers, “Möglichkeiten der Sozialplanung nach dem Städtebauförderungsgesetz” Archiv für Kommunalwissenschaften 11 (1972). Similarly, see U. Herlyn, “Sanierungsbezogene Sozialplanung als Chance zur Partizipation” in M. Osterland, ed., Arbeitssituation, Lebenslage, und Konfliktpotential (Frankfurt, 1975), pp. 213-232.
115 Bernhard Schäfers, Öffentlichkeits- und Interessenstrukturen in Planungsprozessen: Soziolog. Fallstudie am Beispiel einer kommunalen Neugliederung auf Kreisebene (Zentralinstitut für Raumplanung an d. Univ. Münster, 1970).
116 Ibid., p. 120.
117 Ibid., p. 121.
118 Ibid., p. 120, note 1.
119 Schäfers, Planung und Öffentlichkeit 3. soziologische Fallstudien: kommunale Neugliederung,
Flurbereinigung, Bauleitplanung (Zentralinst. f. Raumplanung an d. Univ. Münster/ Düsseldorf:
Bertelsmann Univ. Verl., 1970), p. 196. 120 Ibid., p. 198. 121 Karl-Heinz David, Bernhard Schaefers, Klaus Toepfer, Studie über Planerausbildung: Vorschlag
zu e. sozialwiss. orientierten Raumplanerstudium mit e. Vorw. von W. Ernst (Bonn: Stadtbau-Verlag: 1970), p. 5.122 Bahrdt, “Zweck, Inhalt und Durchführung von Sozialplänen bei Sanierungsvorhaben” Bauen konkret (1972) 2, p. 16, quoted on p. 31 of Brech, Partizipation bei der Stadtplanung.
123 Ulfert Herlyn “Die Bewohner im Wandel der Stadterneurung” in Marcuse and Staufenbiel, eds. Wohnen und Stadtpolitik im Umbruch, p. 174. Herlyn connects this groundswell in political participation with Willy Brandt’s 1969 declaration, “Mehr Demokratie wagen,” as well as the first major postwar recession, the Great Coalition and the student movement undermining official authority.
124 Bodenschatz, Platz frei, p. 195.
125 Kleihues, 750 Jahre, p. 231.
126 See report, I. Verfahren und Projektergebnisse; Stand: 1. Sept. 1979, from the SeBauWo Berlin.
(Eigenverlag, Berlin 1979) as well as Behutsame Stadterneurung in Kreuzberg: Schritt für Schritt from the Gesellschaft der behutsamen Stadtereuerung Berlin mbH (S.T.E.R.N.) 1987.
127 Harry Böseke, Wolfgang Richter, eds., Schlüsselgewalt : lieber instandbesetzen als kaputtbesitzen (Dortmund : Weltkreis, 1981). See Bodenschatz, Schluss mit der Zerstörung?; and Margit Mayer, “Hausbesetzer in New York und Berlin–Aktionen und Reaktionen,” lecture at the Technical Univ., Berlin (2001).
128 Romantizised in 1981 film “Schade, daß Beton nicht brennt.” Bodenschatz in Kleihues, 750 Jahre
129 Bodenschatz, Platz frei, p.228ff. Also Tendenzen der Stadterneurung: Entwicklung in Berlin, Erfahrungen europäischer Großstädte, Empfehlungen für Berlin (Berlin: Senatsverwaltung für Bau- und Wohnungswesen, 1994) Herausgeber Hans Stimmann (Senatsbaudirektor), Wolfgang Nagel (Senator), Arbeitsgruppe: Harald Bodenschatz, Erich Konter, Michael Stein, Max Welch Guerra. Pp. 49-51.
130 R. Autzen et al., Stadterneuerung in Berlin: Sanierung und Zerstörung vor und neben der IBA (Berlin 1984)
131 Bodenschatz, Platz frei, p. 178
132 Bodenschatz, Platz frei, p. 184. “Diagnose zum Bauen in West-Berlin” (Sept. 1968) (“Aktion 507”). Subsequently, a Büro für Stadtsanierung und soziale Arbeit founded (early 1969, Oranienplatz) by architecture students, intented to agitate opposition to renewal in Kreuzberg. They published materials like Sanierung—für wen? (Berlin, 1971) including translation of Fried’s “Grieving.”
133 Kleihues (b. 1933, Rheine an der Ems), a student of the “late expressionist anthropocentrism” of Hans Scharoun, found himself (not unlike Denise Scott Brown at Penn) amidst the polarities of aesthetes and revolutionaries at the Paris École des Beaux-Arts, then opened a Berlin practice in 1961. (See Berlin: Der Architekturführer, p. 222-223).
134 Bodenschatz, Platz frei, p. 189. Bodenschatz calls it “die erste konsequente Wiederaufnahme der Blockrandbebauung auf altem Stadtgrundriß 1971-76” p. 230, Kleihues, 750 Jahre.
135 As Bollery/Hartman explained in Kleihues, Berlin-Atlas zu Stadtbild und Stadtraum (1973) p. 62ff., the self-loathing of Berlin’s urbanists was on the verge of being relinquished: “Das Tabu ‘Grunderzeit’ muß durchgebrochen, der ästhetische und baugeschichtliche Stellenwert des Berliner Stadtbildes muß endlich erkannt werden. So wenig wie Rom den Barock negiert, Paris auf Haussmanns Boulevards und Wien auf die Ringstraße verzichtet, darf Berlin seinen gründerzeitlichen Charakter verleugnen...Nicht nur das individualle Einzelhaus, sondern das Ensemble gründerzeitlicher Fassaden, die Straßenwandung und die topographischen Merkmale der Rasterstadt, der Point de Vues, der Durchblicke, müssen als wertvolle Bestandteile dieser Stadt erhalten werden.” Quoted in Bodenschatz, Platz frei, p. 186
136 See Uwe Paschke, Die Idee des Stadtdenkmals (Nürnberg, 1972); and Aktion Gemeinsinn eV, Unser Lebensraum bruacht Schutz (Denkmalschutz. Bonn 1975)
137 For example, the Bauaustellung Berlin, GmbH, in alliance with indigenous resistance movements, helped stop the Kreuzberg-Süd renewal plans. Bodenschatz, Platz frei, p. 179.
138 Hans Wolfgang Hoffmann „Die Internationale Bauausstellun 1984/89,” Berlin: Der Architekturführer (Quadriga, 2001) p. 221. See also, Bodenschatz, Platz frei, p. 202.
139 The exhibition in the Neuen Nationalgalerie 21 March to 28 May, 1987, was mounted by the IBA and produced a catalogue edited by Joseph Paul Kleihues, 750 Jahre Architektur und Städtebau in Berlin: Die Internationale Bauausstellung im Kontext der Baugeschichte Berlins (Stuttgart: Verlag Gerd Hatje, 1987).
140 Compare with scholar-activists like Herbert Gans, Paul Davidoff, Denise Scott Brown or Jane Jacobs, as well as influential policy-shapers James Q. Wilson, Edward Banfield, D. P. Moynihan, and Martin Anderson (to pull from across the political spectrum).
141 Long-term conceptual and legal cycles are visible in German planning statutes. As Steinfort explains under the “Geschichtliche Entwicklung des Bau- und Planungsrehts” section of Klaus Rabe, Frank Steinfort and Detlef Heintz, Bau- und Planungsrecht: Raumordnungs- und Bauplanungsrecht, städtebauliche Sanierung und Entwicklung, Bauordnungsrecht (Köln: Deutscher Gemeindeverlag, 1997), protection of individual property rights were central to a nineteenth century liberal legal regime whose origins can be traced at least to the Preußischen Allgemeinen Landrechts of 1794. Property law during the long nineteenth century, from 1794 until World War I, was thus a reaction against the absolutist planning under baroque monarchs; “Baufreiheit” could only be narrowly limited under the auspices of public safety. [Steinfort cites the Kreuzberg decision of 14 June 1882 by the Preußisches Oberverwaltungsgericht (see its Entscheidungssammlung 9 pp. 353-384) that the 1794 “die Polizei nur ermächtigt, Gefahren für die öffentliche Sicherheit oder Ordnung abzuwehren, nicht aber ‘Wohlfahrtspflege’ zu betreiben.” (Steinfort p. 2)] By the turn of the twentieth century, the reaction underway against the industrial city-building produced
a reformist legal regime enacted around WWI and in effect until the of more moderate revision of 1986 (though again, the conceptual sea change preceded the statutory change by about a decade.
142 When Hans Stimmann became Berlin’s Senatsbaudirektor in 1991 he instituted a planning framework for Berlin which would embody many of the ideas expounded by the IBA. The monumental, Planwerk Innenstadt, a 30-year-plan presented in 1996 and accepted in 1999, is an anti-thesis to functionalism. It calls for the re-focusing of residence and infrastructure investment on the metropolitan core, a heterogeneous mixture of functions, and the reinstatement of nineteenth century block scale. See Rainer Haubrich, Hans Wolfgang Hoffmann, Philipp Meuser, Berlin: Der Architekturführer (Quadriga, 2001) pp. 250-251, 302-303. See also Harald Bodenschatz, “Von der Provokation zur Diskussion?” Architektenkammer Berlin 1997; “Planwerk Innenstadt Berlin: Eine Bestandsaufnahme,” Architektenkammer Berlin 1997; and “Berlin – Potsdam – Brandenburg an der Havel: Annäherungen an den historischen Stadtgrundriß,” Architektur in Berlin. Jahrbuch 1998. (Hamburg: Architektenkammer Berlin, 1998).
CHAPTER 2: Beyond MARS—
Dissenting Intellectual Traditions in U.K. Planning
With characteristic skepticism toward continental ideas in planning and design, British urbanists distinguished themselves from the Germans in the modernist era of the mid-twentieth century. Their alternative paths included the Pop Art sensibilities of architects Peter and Alison Smithson, the independent perspective of the Architectural Review, and the insights of some social scientists. However, these intellectuals were unable substantially to influence British government policy before comprehensive planning was politically discredited.
Postwar Politics and Planning
Surveying the history of Britain since World War II, Kenneth O. Morgan laments
that, “For most of these fifty-odd years, the British increasingly believed that they were
badly led. Public figures suffered a collective loss of esteem.” Despite unprecedented
prosperity (or perhaps because of it), this fall from grace seemed as total as it was
The old enthusiasm for governments and the governing classes—anatomized with much effect by Anthony Sampson and others in the early 1960s—evaporated into a more cynical disillusion. […] The patrician planners of the late 1940s were in some retreat a decade later. The Tory paternalists of the 1950s seemed dated by the time of the Heath government in 1970-74. […By the Thatcher era:] The old planners, with their Keynesian nostrums, were isolated. The universities were in visible retreat. Intellectuals were dismissed as uncreative and unproductive. University students, once anxious to become civil servants or perhaps teachers, now became stockbrokers or market researchers as the public service lost its charms and ‘wealth creation’ was extolled. An older regime, based variously on deference, status, and structure, had been dismantled, but with no obvious replacement in view.1
So what was the role of planning in all this?
Just after victory over Germany in 1945, conquering hero Winston Churchill found his Conservative party tossed off the government benches by a Labour slate headed by Clement Atlee. Building on the social solidarity engendered in the war (and despite continued rationing), the Labour government spent the next five years constructing the framework of a British welfare system, underpinned by Keynesian economic theory and the specific blueprints laid out by Oxford economist William Beveridge in his 1942 report, Social Insurance and Allied Services.2
About the same time (1943-44), University College London town planning professor Patrick Abercrombie had drawn up the urbanist equivalent of the Beveridge report with his most influential and successful plans for London and its region. Abercrombie’s proposals, developed in wartime, foresaw not the reconstruction of the status quo ante bellum but rather the decentralization of the capital through relocation of population and industry to satellite “New Towns” out beyond a protected greenbelt which would prevent contamination of the English countryside by unplanned sprawl of the metropolis. Concretely, Abercrombie’s London plan would steer the city’s development into the 1970s, while symbolically it formed the template for national urban policy. The 1947 Town and Country Planning Act obliged all municipalities to undertake similar surveys and plans, and also established a new national ministry. In his history of London, Francis Sheppard observes that this planning strategy seemed in harmony with the post¬war Zeitgeist: “By the mid-1960s Professor Abercrombie’s proposals of 1943-44 for the decentralization from London of 1,000,000 people and their jobs to new and expanded towns outside the Green belt had succeeded largely because they were working with the
flow of the prevailing social and economic tides.”3 In fact, similar centrifugal policies had been pursued at least since the extension of suburban rail connections in the 1920s (“homes for heroes”).
Yet idealistic policymakers were faced with extreme pressures in the aftermath of a destructive war: London’s housing shortage (with origins well before World War II) was still being described as the worst in Europe as late as 1965.4 In 1946, working-class Londoners from the East End provocatively took to squatting in empty townhouses in the tony West End, rather than be left homeless. Exacerbated by the fact that wartime restrictions on private construction remained in effect for years, the government was never able to meet the demand for housing. Aneurin Bevan (1897-1960), Labour’s minister of health from 1945 to 1951, is primarily remembered as the architect of Britain’s socialized health service, but also had the brief of addressing the acute housing shortage. He did so with moderate, human-scaled bungalows, in what has been described as a golden age of public housing.5
The style of housing, in addition to the shortage of it, would become a major theme of postwar planning debate. With characteristic distance from European revolutions, modernist architecture did not really obtain a foothold in the United Kingdom until “a full dozen years after it had been launched on the Continent” in the wake of World War I.6 Belatedly, the Modern Architectural Research Group, known as MARS (Wells Wintemute Coates had been tapped to lead the group by CIAM’s Secretary General, the Swiss art-historian Siegfried Gideon), enlisted British talent in the international modern movement by the legendary fourth conference of the Congrés
Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM), which took place on a Mediterranean cruise in the summer of 1933.7 The MARS group was particularly interested in slum clearance, and contributed heavily to the CIAM research project which became the official statement of functionalist urbanism: Can Our Cities Survive? (Sert, ed.). The group also developed a utopian plan for the radical reconstruction of London into a “decentralized linear city,” though the idea withered in the face of Abercrombie’s widely-embraced master plan.8 Eric Mumford has noted the growing doubts which emerged in the MARS group—particularly under its postwar leader, Architectural Review editor J.M. Richards—that functionalist “ideals express themselves in an idiom which is by no means accepted or understood by the man in the street….Modern architecture…may be in danger of becoming an art of the kind that is appreciated only by connoisseurs of a private cult.”9 Richards thought MARS should be less concerned with international CIAM dogma than specific contexts: “the impact of contemporary conditions upon architecture,” and especially, popular taste.10 But at the same time that he expressed these reservations the appeal and applicability of the modern movement, Richards noted its creeping influence within official corridors (by 1947):
From the point of view of propaganda, the MARS Group now finds itself in a powerful position because members of the Group occupy key positions in many Government Departments and other influential organization, and are able to play their part there in propagating CIAM ideals. For example, [Arthur] Ling is in the Town Planning Dept. of the LCC, [Gordon] Stephenson is chief technical officer to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning, where [William] Holford is technical advisor…11
In fact, austerity and construction controls on the private building industry combined with the dramatic expansion of government projects led almost half of Britain’s architecture professionals to shift into public service by 1948, notably with the London County
Council (LCC, dating from the consolidation of 1889). “With a remit for the reconstruction of war-torn London, over one-third of which had been destroyed, and with a responsibility for public housing from 1950 onwards, the LCC was where the brightest graduates aspired to work, and consequently where the significant architectural debate occurred.”12
The 1951 Festival of Britain (the centennial of the Victorian crystal palace exposition) presented the first high-profile public building commission since the war: MARS member Leslie Martin and Robert Matthew’s Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank.13 Also in 1951, Winston Churchill managed a comeback for the Conservatives, who recaptured Downing Street for nearly a decade and a half (under Churchill from 1951-55, Anthony Eden 1955-57, Harold Macmillan 1957-63, and Alec Douglas-Home 1963-64). As minister
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There were a lot of trends in the art but expressionism was one of the best. Indeed, they showed the internal world of the artist, his joy and his pain. It is amazing. http://bigpaperwriter.com/blog/care-to-w...ressionism