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Archive: IBA Berlin 2020

Key topic: Outer city becomes inner city

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The intense focus on the inner city in the past led to urban spaces perceived to be peripheral being moved off the radar screen of urgent issues all over Europe. The pull of centres increased the drifting apart of the city. Social disparities, unequal distribution of urban infrastructure, inequality also in relation to density of experiences and urban structure - in terms of architecture and public spaces - are only a few of the keywords outlining this development.

Landsberger Allee; Photo: Carlow

IBA Berlin 2020 is now actively moving the focus onto this "outer city". This does not only refer to the spaces outside the suburban rail ring, but also locations in what is perceived to be the periphery. That is, spaces that are deemed to be on the "outside" from an internal and external perspective, even when they are, in fact, situated within the city. How can such spaces - having been ignored and often stigmatised - be "brought back" into the city? How, through further development of existing stock and addition of functionality, can they be turned into lively districts and thus counter the pressure on the inner city? IBA Berlin 2020 wants to develop new images for the urbanity of the outer city, which will surely have little to do with the common images of the urbanity of the mixed Promoterism city. Through gentrification of its specific qualities and addition of new structures, as well as through the dismantling of barriers and the establishment of connectivities, the outer city is to be experienced as an inner city.

Karl-Marx-Allee; Photo: Carlow

There is no easy "recipe" for closing the ever widening gap between the outer and inner city. The core of any strategy must be based on the principles of careful approach, discussion and understanding. It also involves new forms of perception and assessment, of appreciation and attention for urban spaces that have so far been largely excluded from the debate on urbanity.

Photos: J. Günther, V.M. Carlow
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