«Ernst May’s standardized cities for Western Siberia

Vortrag im Rahmen der Weimarer Ringvorlesung «Urbanism in Europe in the 20th Century: towards a Shared History»
Freitag, 27. April 2015 · 17 bis 19 Uhr
Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
Marienstraße 13 C, Weimar

In 1930-1931, the Soviet Union became the epicentre of European urbanism. The Great Depression and the tremendous impact of the Soviet Union’s First Five-Year Plan on industrialisation and urbanisation caused many foreign urbanism experts to relocate to the Soviet Union in search of work. However, working in the Soviet Union was all but idyllic. A number of factors limited the practical influence of these foreign experts: the hard competition between Soviet institutions, between Soviet and foreign experts and among foreign experts themselves, dramatic economic and social problems, famines and housing shortages, political power struggles within the communist party as well as the debate of the characteristics and requirements of a socialist city. In regard to rank and achievement, Ernst May, who was Director of the Urban Planning department in Frankfurt am Main from 1925 to 1930 and a very famous representative of socialdemocratic modern urbanism in the Weimar Republic, was the most important of these European experts.

Lecture Series SS 2015 «Urbanism in Europe in the 20th Century: towards a Shared History»
The debate on a common European identity is by no means novel. However, over the past few years the escalation of multiple crises and the consequent discussion about the future of the European Union have extended this debate to ever larger segments of society. A shared European history is a fundamental part of the European identity. Discussing it is today more important than ever.
Professional and cultural exchange throughout Europe was very intense in the 20th century. It had a strong effect on urbanism in the individual countries. Therefore, the history of urbanism in Europe during the 20th century should be discussed in an international context, as a shared history. Within the lecture series, we will tackle some major issues, such as housing policies, large-scale projects and urban renewal in different geographical contexts (Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Russia) and historical periods. On the one hand, this will allow to underline similarities between case studies and to recognize the exchange of models, experts and know-how between different countries. On the other hand, by considering the single case study in a broader international context, this will make it possible to understand its peculiarities. Doing so, the lecture will take on a European perspective.
Lectures will be given both by scholars of the BUW and by invited guests. Topics and case studies will follow a chronological order. In order to receive credits and a course attendance certificate, students are required to attend lectures regularly.


Abbildung – Ernst May’s standardized cities for Western Siberia