Research Department: Department for Historical Research
Project Leader within IRS: Prof. Dr. Christoph Bernhardt
Duration: 01/2012 - 12/2014
Due to their multifunctional character, open spaces are of particular importance to the field of urban and regional development. They help to safeguard both urban quality of life and environmental quality; they serve as places for state representation and control and help enable societal communication. After World War II, planning and design of open spaces took very different directions in the two German states. In the Federal Republic of Germany, it became important only after a period of relative insignificance, whereby open spaces were gradually developed into adventure parks and zones of recreation. During this process, open spaces occasionally became seismographs for conflicts over the control and design of public spaces, urban quality of life, and environmental quality in urban areas. By contrast, the design of open spaces in the German Democratic Republic can be described as a history of steady decline – from rather ambitious planning projects in the 1950s to a dearth of ideas and increasing state micro-management. The Lead Project focused on the key areas of urbanisation strategies, planning personalities and networks and the intricate interplay between authority and the public sphere. The aim was to conduct three comparative case studies on the planning and development of open spaces in the two former German states.