Green city origins : democratic resistance to the auto-oriented city in West Germany, 1960-1990
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Georgetown University, 2011.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. This study examines West German urban environmental history between 1960 and 1990. The histories of mass motorization and of the attempt to build cities around the automobile in West Germany (the "auto-oriented city," as some planners had labeled it) are well known to historians. Less well known is the history of the reformist opposition, of the attempts to resist this automotive transformation and to forge urban models around a different set of ideals. Dissatisfied with the patterns of urban growth and development, a coalition of reformers emerged to exert greater influence on city planning processes and to refashion cities around their new ideals. This coalition consisted of planners, architects, grassroots citizens' initiatives, environmentalists, intellectuals, students, and some politicians. The reformers' central grievance concerned the effects of the auto-oriented city. They insisted that it was eroding urban residents' quality of life, safety, sense of aesthetics, and emotional ties to urban history and culture, as well as deteriorating the natural and built environments. Their agenda was both negative (they wanted to stop what they viewed as outsized and destructive infrastructural projects) and positive (they wanted to develop and use urban space according to their social, aesthetic, and environmental ideals). Moreover, their agenda contained a significant political component, as they insisted that planning practice in West Germany was undemocratic. This aspect of their agenda, and their attempts to democratize local planning processes, therefore places this study in the context of West Germany's political history. By the 1980s, the reformers had achieved partial success. They took advantage of shifting circumstances in the political and social climate to implement at least part of their agenda. Their efforts presaged current planning discourse about environmental sustainability and cities. The dissertation includes case studies of Munich and Erlangen but also draws from the experiences of other cities in West Germany and abroad. The study contains chapters on local politics, urbanism and the environmental movement, the international context, and the histories of pedestrian zones, bicycling, and traffic calming. A final chapter analyzes a contemporary planning controversy in Stuttgart in the context of this history.
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