An audio tour about the planning history of Moritzplatz
The particular appearance of Moritzplatz is due to a number of historical urban development concepts – through linking the individual utopias and development plans, the city planning ideals accumulated at Moritzplatz can be identified. Two of those planning models, their parallels and contradictions are introduced during an audio tour around Moritzplatz. Their strategies and methods are confronted in a fictitious dialogue, largely consisting of quotes from the respective urban development concepts, and put into the context of the current condition of Moritzplatz.
One of the positions presented in the dialogue derives from the publication “Umsetzung von Gewerbebetrieben im Sanierungsgebiet Kreuzberg von Berlin – Eine wirtschaftliche und soziologische Untersuchung” (transformation of industrial units in the redevelopment area of Berlin-Kreuzberg – an economic and sociological study” by Werner March and Ilse Balg from 1967. Werner March and Ilse Balg have laid out a transformation plan of Moritzplatz into a manufacturing centre. In their argumentation strategy, they cite the numerous small manufacturing businesses around Moritzplatz, for whose supplying they propose the construction of a motorway across Moritzplatz with a motorway junction on Oranienplatz. To this end, a complete demolition of the old buildings remaining after World War II is in the planning. These ideas actually were never realised, yet they had far-reaching consequences. Buildings on Moritzplatz were neither renovated during the 1970s, nor the urban situation at Moritzplatz substantially developed. In the mid-1980s the S.T.E.R.N. GmbH headed by Hardt-Waltherr Hämer was commissioned to develop a “Modellvorhaben behutsame Stadterneuerung am Moritzplatz unter ökologischer Zielsetzung” (pilot project for cautious urban renewal at Moritzplatz under ecological objectives). The second figure of the dialogue is generated from this project’s final report published in 1993 as well as the previous interim and workshop reports, giving insight into the plans for environmentally friendly building at Moritzplatz – including an ecological commercial center, recycling yards and tenant’s gardens.
Through the direct juxtaposition of the two concepts in dialogue form not only the contrasts and similarities between the two positions are illustrated, but it can be imagined on site at Moritzplatz, what alternative plans have existed in regard to the present design of the square and the consequences they have up until today.
Ulla Drenckhan studied European Ethnology at Humboldt University Berlin as well as Theory and History at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg. Her current research focuses on argumentation strategies and rooms for manoeuvre of failed urban sustainability concepts.