23 October 2006

Aleatory Urbanism


Blurbanism ∕ Public Space

My first venture out in search of a likely subject for this intensive study of space, society and the world has not taken me far. Monday morning, October 23, 2006. I open the French doors onto my balcony, E.I. by Nelly blasting from the stereo behind me and onto a blustery side street in Berlin-Prenzlauerberg. I am happy, relishing the sheer length my view enjoys from this perspective. Its that way because two buildings are missing, one across the street and to the right, the other to the left at the end of the block. Both were bombed to pieces a few decades ago by American TNT. These empty spaces, these long views, these light wells at an urban scale, are the product of a war that only the oldest neighbors in my ‘hood can remember… perhaps they know something about the buildings that have gone missing.


The lot on the left was made into garages and workshops by the old East German government, and they are still in use. About a year ago a small playground was made out of the other lot across the street – a clear sign of consent from the present civic authorities that the mark of an ugly accident can be transformed, should live on. In today’s developed world, a city can perhaps be best designed by a roll of the dice.