MERIT AWARD, THE PLAN Best Paper 2015
Dörfer-Großstadt is a collection of memos, essays, interviews, videos, photo galleries, interactive graphics, reports, data sets, and, even, personal journals – all produced over the last five years. The variety of documents and modes of writing reflects the multifaceted reality of urbanity today as well as the urgency of approaching its complexity from a variety of angles.
Dörfer-Großstadt is a trilogy based on street life – that is to say, my personal experience of the case studies discussed – not on book learning. The theoretical framework and implied solutions draws on real world interaction, not academic speculation. It sketches a new urban geography better suited to the foreseeably stringent demands of the coming 'urban' millennium.
The first two chapters of the trilogy conceptualize problems at hand by way of contrast (Berlin versus Beirut) and by way of analogy (La Havana versus Venice). The third part is practice oriented: it proposes a set of operational manifestos for kick-starting a new contract between Natur and Kultur, as the Germans say, or between the natural and the artificial. These organizing concepts – here, set against the main currents of western dogma – figure not as polarities but as dyads.
dörfer-großstadt is a collection of memos written from the perspective of the culture of the new millennium, which will most likely make all traditional urban knowledge that developed slowly over the course of the second millennium—the millennium of the rise and fall of what used to be called ‘the city’—useless. The memos are based on one, ex-post realization: by confronting different models of urbanism, it has been possible to extrapolate an anti-ideal, non-western exemplar that is also an exemplum: the dörfer-großstadt. The hope is that this exemplar/exemplum may turn out to be powerful enough to become a general paradigmatic framework rather than a set of regulations to be literally deployed.
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