Current Project: Inventing Berlin: Architecture and Politics in the Once and Future Capital

Palast_der_Republik_facade
The facade of the Palace of the Republic frames the new street sign for “Castle Square” (2003). Photo: Eborutta (CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons).

This book examines post-1989 changes to the symbolic landscape of Berlin – specifically, street names, architecture, urban planning and monuments – in a comprehensive way, and links these changes to concepts of cultural memory and national identity in Berlin and Germany in the post-Wall period. The premise of this book is that certain central actors guided the urban planning discourse in Berlin after the fall of the Berlin Wall and that this had significant effects on both the existing built space and in the future planning of the city. These actors invoked tropes of memory and identity and instrumentalized the reactionary zeitgeist and chaotic administrative and property ownership situations present in the city directly after the fall of the Wall to further their own strategies as well as a very narrow political and architectural vision. The core of the book is an extensive historical analysis of built space changes in the eastern half of the city between 1989 and 2010, flanked by an entry-level introduction to the theoretical underpinnings of the topic and a wider interpretation of the events in Berlin vis-à-vis other geographic and historical contexts.

Publication expected in 2019.

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