Germany Knows a Thing or Two About Saving Shrinking Cities Germany Knows a Thing or Two About Saving Shrinking Cities
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Germany Knows a Thing or Two About Saving Shrinking Cities

by Andrew Price

April 11, 2010

Parts of former East Germany have been shrinking, Detroit-style, for many years now. And consequently, Germany has a jump on the States in figuring out how to adjust when a city naturally needs to downsize. Der Spiegel has a great article and slideshow looking at the International Building Exhibition, an urban rejuvination experiment in the state of Saxony-Anhalt:
One of the IBA's more radical ideas is that of "city islands" in Dessau-Rosslau. The planners have "kind of disassembled the city into pixels and put it back together again using a cut-and-paste method," as Brückner explains. According to the concept, Dessau-Rosslau would abandon the model of a more compact central city, leaving only islands of houses. "Buildings will be cut out and in the empty spaces we will insert countryside," Brückner explains.

In other cities, old public pools are being repurposed for performance space, and huge art pieces are going up in demolition sites. Saxony-Anhalt is beautiful territory and it's nice to see they've been tackling these challenges with such aplomb. It'll be a good example to reference for the Rust Belt and parts of suburban America.

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Germany Knows a Thing or Two About Saving Shrinking Cities