Big cities have always been focal points of social, economic, political and cultural change in societies. Berlin constitutes an excellent example of such a place. The collapse of communism and the subsequent transformation to capitalist rule created a new framework for the economic, social, cultural, political and also spatial development of the city.
Latest changes in public space, the built-environment and housing in Berlin favour some social groups while disadvantaging others. The aim of the seminar is to figure out who the winners and losers of contemporary developments are and how this is manifested in and reproduced through urban space. If and how people can 'reclaim' urban space(s) will be finally addressed.
Central points of interest will include the conflicts around the 'New Berlin' (recycling of brownfields, memories and public space), the potential and threats of Berlin as a 'Creative City' (gentrification), the spatial dimension of social exclusion (fragmented city) as well as the integration of migrants in Berlin (multiculturalism) and the perspectives of the 'right-to-the-city-movement' (i.e. guerrilla gardening).
For highlighting the uniqueness of Berlin in a global context, its changing urban landscape will be compared to the ones of Paris and St. Petersburg. Together with the insights from St. Petersburg and Paris, the course contributes to the understanding of the complexity of urban development at the beginning of the 21st century.