City Walk: Berlin Mitte-Kreuzberg and the Legacy of 1968 for Urban Development

Saturday, 15 December 2018, 11.00 – 13.00
Meeting Point: Dresdner Str. 10, 10999 Berlin-Kreuzberg (U-Bahn Kottbusser Tor)

1968, a year marked by social upheaval in midst of a period of productive unrest, has influenced many aspects of how we live together in our cities up until today. The year also marked a paradigm shift for urban development, housing politics, and architectural practice that still can be recognised in Berlin’s urban fabric today. This city walk traces multiple trajectories of the legacy of 1968 and the Diagnose exhibition in the districts of Kreuzberg SO 36 and Mitte over the following decades. In the 1970s, protests against modernist large-scale housing developments, the massive demolition of old building stock, and housing shortages led to new tactics and approaches to urban development such as “Instand(be)setzungen” and the competition “Strategies for Kreuzberg”. These efforts found their continuation in the 1980s in approaches of “careful urban renewal” as well as the International Building Exhibition (IBA 84/87). The massive critiques on modernist top down master planning, inner city highways, and urban regeneration by bulldozing whole city quarters have fuelled approaches of more participatory urban planning and a democratisation of urban development. On the city walk, we critically reflect on what we can still identify from these achievements in the contemporary urban fabric, which policies have been implemented, and how neoliberal restructuring and the financialisation of the housing market have counteracted these developments.


POLIGONAL – Office for Urban Communication organises exploratory scholar-led workshops and tours for city enthusiasts and architecture lovers through the city of Berlin. Its founders, Christian Haid and Lukas Staudinger, communicate contemporary architectural topics and urban developments by addressing and investigating social, cultural, political, economical, and material dimensions of the city. They draw on many years of experience as academic researchers and university lecturers in urbanism and architecture. POLIGONAL collaborates with numerous local experts and a broad international network and customises its urban communication formats according to thematic requirements and individual interests. Christian and Lukas’s portfolio addresses universities and students, Berlin travellers, businesses, and conference delegations – professionals and non-professionals alike.