saturday 09:45 – 11:00

Spacio-politics: Humboldt Forum, New Taksim, Checkpoint Charlie and the City Quarters
moderated talk

Both Berlin and Istanbul were shaped by the history of the Cold War, which influenced their politics of space. The transformation of states and their capitalistic drive after the “Wende” provoked similar movements of public resistance. When the Cold War ended, capitalism released social distributive justice and evolved to neo-liberalism: the production of urban fabric became a major tool of capital accumulation; city quarters changed under ongoing speculation.The newly formed states failed to implement peoples needs and social justice. Instead, they built symbols of a glorified imperial/colonial golden past. The Berlin Palace of Republic (PdR) and the Istanbul Palace of Culture (AKM) as symbolic manifestations of social state modernisms faced revanchism and fell victim to policies of spacio-cide. Simultaneous attempts aimed at restituting long lost baroque façades of the Stadtschloss or the Artillery Barracks on top of the Gezi Park. Form prevailed over function, reversing the maxim of modernism. The contested development around Checkpoint Charlie exemplifies another typical case, where public interest to maintain an authentic historical site collides with investor interests. A bottom-up urban development based on citizens needs and demands has been ruled over by top-down approaches lobbied by capital to maximise profit. Historical images are used only to market a myth for purely speculative reasons.

Orhan Esen, Theresa Keilhacker
Begüm Başdaş (MODerator)

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