Planning Studies newsletter issue 19

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Hello Everyone,

Welcome to the Newsletter for 2003. Once again in the following pages you will find news of planning alumni, reports on study trips and the current work of PhD students.

The most important news this year is that we are at last catching up with current technology. We will no longer be sending out this Newsletter to you by post. It will instead be posted on the Regional and Urban Planning Studies website|. The previous four editions can also be found there. We will continue to produce the Newsletter at the beginning of each year and you will need to check it out for yourselves. Please can you continue to send your news and comments to me or Ida by e-mail for inclusion. Please let us know what you are doing at work, in life ....and any interesting things you might have written.

This year the masters students organised a very successful visit to Berlin and their report follows below. Berlin must still qualify as the European city undergoing most changes and so is a 'must' for planners.

At the moment the campus here is still undergoing constant improvement and the St Clements Building is surrounded by construction activity as all the roads around it and the front of the revamped Library are being transformed. New pedestrian surfaces, seats, trees and cafes are promised as the LSE adopts a truly European street life. Now just need the weather.

One of the features of note recently has been the number of Masters and PhD students who have managed to get their Long Essays or parts of their thesis work published as Book chapters or journal articles. Here is a recent selection:

PhD students Asato Saito, Yonn Dierwechter, Bo-sin Tang, Miguel Jimenez, Murat Yalcintan and Ertan Zibel, all contributed chapters to Planning in Global Era, edited by A.Thornley and Y. Rydin, Ashgate, 2002.

Asato Saito had two articles published in Urban Studies in 2003, 'Global City Formation in a Developmental State: Tokyo and the Waterfront Sub-centre Project' 40 (2), and (with Andy Thornley) 'Shifts in Tokyo's World City Status and the Urban Planning Response' 40 (4).

European Planning Studies continues to be a successful outlet for revamped Masters Long Essays - during 2002 the following were published:

Aron Gooblar (MSc 1998/9) - 'Outside the Walls: Urban Gated Communities and their Regulation within the British Planning System', 10 (3), April.

Philip Lee (MSc 2000/1) - 'The Economic and Social Justification for Publicly Financed Stadia: The Case of Vancouver's BC Place Stadium', 10 (7), Oct.

Ajay Chanayil (MSc 2000/1) - 'The Manhattan Yankees? Planning Objectives, City Policy, and Sport Stadium Location in New York City', 10 (7), Oct.

Sean Peirce (MSc 2000/1) - 'Selling Urban Housing in London. Can High Density Urban Living be Sold to a Sceptical British Public? Distinction, Mobility, and Control over Environment', 10 (8), Dec.

Thanos Pagonis (MSc 1997/8) having already had an article (with Andy Thornley) in European Planning Studies in 2000, had a version of it reproduced as 'The Western Urban Development Model Meets Moscow Politics' in M. De Jong, K. Lalenis, and V. Mamadouh (eds) The Theory and Practice of Institutional Transplantation, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2002.

Well done everyone.

Andy Thornley


Staff News

Derek Diamond
Many thanks to all of you who sent Christmas or New Year cards with their messages of progress. Japan, Greece, Brazil and Canada all bring back happy memories. Professionally I have continued to be involved with regional development in the 'Basque Country'. In the English language this phrase happily satisfied local, national and European politics!

A visit in October to Namibia was as interesting for the innovative land development policies I discovered, as it was for the very impressive scenery and remarkable wildlife. A piece of good news from Africa!

Michael Hebbert
Michael Hebbert (programme director to 1994) has taken over the editorship of the Elsevier Science journal PROGRESS IN PLANNING from the founder-editor Prof Derek Diamond. He is glad to be keeping up the strong LSE connection of this remarkable monograph journal, which publishes papers in the word range 25,000 to 30,000. Many LSE staff and students have contributed to PROGRESS IN PLANNING since it was launched by Derek and Brian McLoughlin in 1972. The journal is now available online back to Vol 1 issue 1, has strong impact/citation rates, is fully refereed, and welcomes submissions on all aspects of progress in planning, or the lack of it. 

Hazel Johnstone
Hazel Johnstone continues as manager of the Gender Institute at LSE, which grows apace. This year, like everyone here, the institute attracted nearly twice the students expected, so it's been very busy. They also added a fifth MSc degree to their repertoire. Hazel is still in touch with Derek Diamond, Brian Linneker, Natasha Milanovich and Ricardo Pinto.

Mark Kleinman
During 2002 Mark was seconded from his job as Professor of International Social Policy at Bristol University to spend sometime at the Cabinet office. However, he has now resigned from Bristol to take up a new job in charge of Housing Policy at the Greater London Authority.

Yvonne Rydin
Yvonne Rydin came to the end of her European Union project on sustainability indicators in September 2002 (just before the project finished her off!). The report and a Practitioners' Guide are available from Yvonne or the dedicated Pastille website linked from the Department's website. She is now working on issues of social capital and territorial planning with the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research. This includes studying arrangements for wild reindeer 'planning'; clearly scope for a new course here. The third edition of her planning textbook Urban and Environmental Planning in the UK is due out in early summer and her research book on Conflict, Consensus and Rationality in Environmental Planning has just been published by OUP.

Andy Thornley
A lot of Andy's research and writing this year seems to have been taken up in editing. He edited two collections with Yvonne Rydin, Planning in the Global Era and Planning in the UK: Agendas for the new Millennium, both published by Ashgate (2002). With two Dutch colleagues W. Salet and A. Kreukels, he edited a collection of European city studies called Metropolitan Governance and Spatial Planning, Spon Press (2003). He carried out research for the LDA on Urban Regeneration Companies (with Christine Whitehead, Karen West and Kath Scanlon) and continues to write up material for the ESRC project on Strategic Planning under the GLA. Meanwhile work steadily continues on the Planning of World Cities book which should be delivered to the publisher, Palgrave in 2003.

Christine Whitehead
2002 seemed to go very quickly for Christine Whitehead - with far too many research projects and conference papers - but these included a very interesting variety. She was involved in a number of research projects looking at aspects of the London economy for the Corporation of London, Keep London Working, Shelter and other sponsors. These include in particular whether housing policies can address key worker shortages and evaluating the housing aspects of the draft London Plan. With Andy Thornley and other members of LSE London she undertook an assessment of Urban Regeneration Corporations for the London Development Corporation. She was a member of an international team assessing the Finnish housing finance and subsidy system for the Finnish Ministry of Environment - which involved a couple of trips to Helsinki - one in mid-summer and one in mid-winter! She has undertaken a couple of international comparison projects for the UK government on policies to achieve affordable housing and on neighbourhood warden schemes across the world.


Student News

Darinka Czischke 2001/02
Darinka is currently working as a research assistant in the consultancy team from the Cities programme at the LSE. She sees it as a challenge to try a sociological perspective to this work!

Bianca Holdford 2001/02
Bianca Holdford has been working at GHK Consulting in London since November and has been involved in a few projects like: Rural Strategy for Redcar and Cleveland
Fianancial Guarantees and Securities in the extractive industry and
Community regeneration.

Jung Kim 2001/02
Jung Kim works for Strategic Planning Advice - things are progressing well!

Maura McManimon 2001/02
After finishing up at the LSE, Maura McManimon moved back to the U.S. to try to pursue a career in planning, but she landed a job back in politics instead. Since January she has been working as a policy advisor on smart growth to the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. She is living in a quaint and walkable 19th-century riverfront town, with just the kind of authentic sense of community that the New Urbanists have been working so hard to replicate. But she longs for the urbanness of London every once in awhile.

Thera Medcof 2001/02
Since graduating Thera has been working with the regeneration agency Renaisi in London. She has enjoyed this but now has returned to Canada for a while.

Yorgos Melissourgos 2001/02
Yorgos is about to start his PhD in the Geography department of Athens University on the theme of the Geography of locational conflicts in Greece and Spain.

Dimpy Van Wijk 2001/02
Dimpy has been offered a job at Arthur D. Little for the Environment and Risk department in Cambridge. Their clients are largely energy and manufacturing companies and developmental and government agencies.

Yonn Dierwechter PhD 2002
Yonn continues his lecturing work as Assistant Professor on the Urban Studies programme at University of Washington at Tacoma. He is busy writing articles and conference papers. He has moved into the big city - Seattle. He will bring students to the Netherlands in the summer and dropping by in London.

Ajay Chanayil 2000/01
Ajay is pursuing his law degree at Columbia but is working in London for an American Law firm over the summer and spending his final year, 2003/04, studying International law at the Sciences-Po in Paris.

Shai Gross 2000/01
Shai is pursuing her architectural programme at Columbia University and readjusting to New York. She misses London and thinks fondly of her time there.

Emma Kyng 2000/01
Emma Kyng works at SURF and says "it has been great, a good bunch of people, and
interesting work". Her first project was to do an evaluation on Hulme, ten
years on from the end of City Challenge sponsored by Manchester City
Council. She now works on a DTLR sponsored project 'evaluating local governance: the new constitution' with people from a few other universities (Gerry Stoker, Peter John and Nirmala Rao).

Abigail Lee 2000/01
After coming back from her travels in March, Abby eventually decided to take a job in Bath. She works as a Regeneration Project Officer with Bath and North East Somerset Council, but their offices are based in a small market town called Midsomer Norton. She is currently working on the final year of an SRB funded regeneration programme on a range of projects, which includes setting up and finding funding for a skateboard park, managing the redevelopment of a former Cinema, developing a public realm strategy for the town, and other community-based projects.

Anita Konrad 1999/00
Anita continues her work as Regeneration Officer in the Elthorne neighbourhood of North Islington, London. She has kindly hosted visits from students in subsequent years of the course.

Ioana Sandi 1999/00
Ioana is on secondment from her Bank ABN AMRO with Emerging Markets Partnership, a private equity infrastructure fund investing in Eastern Europe.

George Chorafakis 1998/99
George was planning to return to the LSE to do an MPhil/PhD on aspects of the Athens Olympics. However, the Greek army got him first and so he will not start until October 2003.

Jenny Holmes 1998/99
Jenny is back in London and working as a Senior Consultant with the regeneration agency Renaisi.

Neil Pogorelsky 1998/99
Neil writes from New York where he is still working on his PhD at Columbia and also working fulltime at a public sector management consultancy firm called HDR. He has worked with public sector transit agencies in Seattle and Milwaukee and at the federal level, as well as some local airports, sanitation and power utilities. He is finding his LSE education in economics and policy analysis very useful and relevant. Before this job he worked part-time for the former New York City Mayor, David Dinkins. He got married last year and sees Aron Gooblar 98/99 fairly regularly. At a recent meeting of PhD students he was surprised to find he was sitting next to two other former LSE Planning Studies Masters students - one was Padmina Biswas 2000/01.

Angel Rodríguez Alemán 1998/99
Angel works for the ISSSTE (INstituto de Seguridad y Servicios Sociales de los Trabajadores del Estado) (institute for social security and services for the state workers) as Director of Planning of Information Techonology.

Katie Annison 1997/98
Katie Annison resigned from her position heading up FAR in Feltham and is now working for the London Development Agency as a regeneration manager.

Thanos Pagonis 1997/98
Thanos Pagonis is currently working in Athens on a tourist development study (Olympic related projects which are in the phase of construction). In addition, he continues to work part time on his PhD. His research looks at new forms of governance in Athens. Thanos hopes to visit Barcelona and Sydney in the coming months.

He sent the report on a fellow student of 1997/98 as follows:-

A TALE FROM THE CRYPT: LSE Planning Alumni turned into Cave Surviving Hero
I am sure that the graduates of 1998 remember Chryssoula Mavrokosta, the cheerful curly haired girl from Crete that attended the Msc in Urban and Regional Planning Studies. She had always been very enthusiastic about LSE and London and to some of us it came as a surprise when after graduation she decided to return to Heraklion, instead of choosing to live in a bigger city. Chryssoula has been working in European regional development funding programs and later for a planning agency that undertakes development studies for mountainous regions, forests etc. Over the past few years she became increasingly reluctant to leave Crete, visiting even Athens no more than once a year. Quite the opposite she developed a strong attachment to the local context and an aversion to crowds and civilisation. She moved into a NATURA 2000 settlement outside of Heraclion next to an ancient Roman Waterhouse, refused to own a mobile phone and started to actively participate in nature expeditions, such as hiking, trekking and speleology (caving). The last time I visited with a small group of international friends for the first time in Crete, Chryssoula showed her hospitality by organizing a small 'get to know Crete' adventure trip. It involved climbing down a wild river creek with equipment and spending the night in a remote mountainous village later in the same day, after watching slides from caves all night in a ceremony organised by the Speleological Society of Crete, (SPOC) to which Chryssoula has been an active member. I was surprised back then that fellow speleologists gave toasts to each other, wishing 'deeper and deeper...'

Last month Chryssoula got us all very worried when she was reported as a missing person in the news. The report mentioned that three speleologists were missing from the day before, (November 9th) when they entered the Sarxos Cave (in the broader Heraklion region) in order to map the course of an underground river, underestimating the heavy rainfall. The water carried stones and earth material closing the narrow passages close to the cave's entrance. Nobody knew what went on inside. The estimated position of the entrapped was 140 metres below ground and 1 km away from the entrance.
The following couple of days weren't easy. The efforts of the rescue team comprised by 150 people, (Special Forces, Fire brigade troops, experts and volunteers) didn't produce encouraging results in pumping the water out due to continuous rainfall. The average period aperson can survive in a cave depends on several parameters such as temperature and humidity, equipment and provisions, experience and morale. The Sarxos cave was described as a relatively warm cave and the missing were said to have enough provisions for a few days, so hope wasn't to be abandoned. Of course optimistic thinking assumed that the water level inside the cave was low and that no underground demolition had taken place. French cave diving experts arrived on the fourth day. By that time agony had reached its peak with the story having been reported by all major national newspapers and TV channels and a growing crowd of relatives and friends having permanently camped outside the cave's entrance.

And suddenly the rain stopped.

In the early morning hours of the sixth day the divers reached the location of the entrapped and reported that they were alive and well. To the rescuers surprise, they were greeted with Cretan honey and nuts! A few hours later when they came out of the cave they reported to the press that they didn't expect the rescuers to come so soon.....

Chryssoula promised on the phone that she will refrain from doing anything crazy anytime soon. But somehow there was a slight tone of reservation in her voice. After all, some spirits are not that easily domesticated.

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Rescued!                                                                    Safe and back at home.

Lewis Dijkstra 1996/97
Lewis successfully completed a PhD last November at Rutgers University. His PhD title was:
"Public Spaces in suburbia and tourism destinations: comparing New Jersey to
the Netherlands" Lewis started work at the European Commision and works for the
DG of Regional Policy in their Urban Unit. The unit looks at the future of urban policy at the European level, and Lewis is responsible for managing 7 URBAN II programmes.

Ricardo Hernández Sotelo 1996/97
Ricardo Hernández Sotelo is the Director of Urban Planning Strategies for the Mexican government. He is also the General Director of the Latin American Institute for Sustainable Development and Strategic Planning. In August 2002, Ricardo was invited by the Mexican government to attend to the Sustainable Development Summit in Johannesburg.

Dave Khayangayanga 1996/97
Dave is still working in Kampala and is a Senior Housing Officer at the Ministry of Works, Housing and Communications. He also does consultancy work related to local government development. He is very keen to get in touch with his class mates of 96/97.

Ana Prat 1996/97
Ana has returned to her native Turin and is working as a freelance planning consultant.

Joao Seixas 1996/97
Joao Seixas continues to work on his PhD at Barcelona University. His thesis looks at state fragmentation and motivation in front of Lisbon's challenges. Urban Governance is one of the main insights, and he is analysing urban actor's behaviour and individual strategies to try and understand the crucial dimensions of public space and real estate. However, he recently interrupted his studies to accept a one year contract with Lisbon City Hall, and is assisting the Vice President in the area of strategic studies.

Yuki Tanaka 1996/97 (né Yamaguchi)
Yuki Tanaka has been transferred to the Transport Environment Division of the Environment Management Bureau in Tokyo. She is pleased with the transfer because the current work relates to studies taken at UCL and LSE.

Christian Feghali 1995/96
Christian Feghali is Assistant Vice President at Credit Suisse Asset Management (Real Estate Management).He is responsible for acquiring real estate for their real estate funds and trustees. He is also involved in large scale international real estate investments. On a trip to Scotland last year he met class mates Peter Hall and Mark Williams. While Annelene Holden visited him in Switzerland. He is calling for a 95/96 reunion.

Janista Lewchalermvongse 1995/96
The rumour in the last newsletter is confirmed - Janista has been a member of the Thai Parliament since January 2001.

Steve Diamond 1994/95
Steve has left the EU affairs team at the Greater London Authority and now has a new job as External Funding Advisor at Business Link for London.

Peter V. Hall 1994/95
Peter has completed his PhD at Berkeley. He and Pam both have short post-doc positions while they look for permanent academic jobs. They, and the girls, are still enjoying Berkeley a lot and cross country skiing.

Andre Sorensen MSc RUPS 1992/93 PhD Planning Studies 1998
Andre returned to Canada in the spring of 2002 after four years in the Department of Urban Engineering, University of Tokyo. The first two years were as Postdoctoral Research Fellow sponsored by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and the second two years as Lecturer in Japanese planning history and international comparative planning studies. He takes up a new position as Assistant Professor of Urban Geography at the University of Toronto Scarborough in July. He recently published, 'The Making of Urban Japan: Cities and Planning from Edo to the 21st Century'. His email address is sorensen@utsc.utoronto.ca

Kath Scanlon 1991/92
Kath has had a new baby daughter Juanita, who was born on November 11 2002, weighing 9lb 5oz.

Ahmed Mahmud 1983/84
Ahmed Mahmud is now retired but continues to write and publish reports. Last year, he completed a report on "Urbanization in Libya and Sustainable Development" for the Blue Plan, Mediterranean Action Plan of the UNEP. He has just completed a paper on
"Traditional Financing in Housing Construction in Libya". The paper examines the role of private traditional financing methods in housing development during the last three decades, when private businesses were not allowed to operate and the economy was run by the public sector.

Walfredo Antunes de Oliveira Filho 1979/80
Since graduating Walfredo has been working in various public and private organisations in Brazil and is now also lecturing at the federal University in his home state of Tocantuis. During the last decade he has been involved in planning and implementing Palmas, the new capital of the state of Tocantuis. This has been built from scratch and now has 20,000 people. Prince Charles visited the town last year and seemed very impressed!

Chris Jennewein 1978/79
Lured by the opportunity to create a first-class web site in a fast growing market, Chris joined The San Diego Union-Tribune in 2001 as Internet Operations Director. Their Web site, SignOnSanDiego.com, has doubled the number of users in the past year and recorded its first profit.

RUPS 2001/2002 Study Trip: Berlin, a city struggling to find its identity

From the first day the 2001/2002 students in the Regional and Urban Planning program met, our sights were set on Berlin as the destination for the annual planning trip. During the Easter recess, armed with a lecture from Andy outlining the political and spatial history of planning in Berlin, and a full four-day schedule of meetings with city government representatives and academics, we set off to get a multi-view perspective on the unique planning challenges facing the city 10-plus years after reunification.

What we found, where east literally meets west, was a city full of history, alive with culture, and teeming with construction cranes. But we also found a city struggling with identity and financial crises.

Berlin's Dilemmas

Cultural Identity v/s Global City
Our first meeting was with Ralph Stern, architect and visiting professor at the Programme for Urban Processes, Hochschule der Kunste Berlin. Ralph led us on a trek through the Potsdamer Platz area of the city, "where the world's best architects have come to do their worst work", as it is (sadly) repeated by many critics.

Potsdamer Platz, a place which used to be the vibrant nerve centre of a thirties' world city, was planned to be the new financial centre of the reunified Germany's capital city. Therefore, megastar architects like Richard Rogers, Renzo Piano, Helmuth Jahn and others were brought in to instil a new soul into this former no-man's land, where East and West were divided by the Wall. However, opinions are divided about the end result. While 'globalisers' praise the outcome as a successful example of cosmopolitan centre-city development and world-class architecture, for many others the result is just another flashy redevelopment of mediocre urban quality, making a truer connection with global symbols of mass entertainment and consumption than with local cultural identity.

Frank Roost, an academic at the Technische Universitat of Berlin and co-author with Saskia Sassen of articles on Potsdamer Platz as global entertainment centre, explained that what lies behind the debate is a planning process negatively influenced by an overemphasis on historical symbolism. Aiming to re-establish a sense of Berlin's past cultural grandeur rather than identify a new role for the city to play in a post-modern, decentralized nation resulted in a jumble of styles and symbols that fails to connect with the economic reality of reunified Germany.

During our visit, many questions arose related to the quality of the new Potsdamer Platz as a public space. What real use and significance do Berliners assign to this place? Has the new Potsdamer Platz been conceived as a public gathering space, or is the so called 'public space' just residual land ineffectively connected to the Kulturforum, the visionary cultural complex of the 60's to which the new Potsdamer Platz has been appended?

Financial Crisis: Big Expectations And Reality
Most of our speakers used the term "financial crisis" to describe Berlin's failed attempts at economic - as well as physical - redevelopment.

As Professor Helmuth Haussermann, an urban sociologist at the Humboldt Universitat, explained, the partitioning of the country following World War II led to decentralization of Germany's economy. Thus, Berlin's former status as an important media/movie/cultural cluster - and the seat of government as well as Germany's financial centre - could not be maintained after the Wall was built. Once Berlin was isolated from the West and the Wall went up, the government of West Germany moved to Bonn; business to Frankfurt and Munich; manufacturing to Stuttgart; and creative industries dispersed through West Germany. As a political outpost of the West in the East, West Berlin was maintained primarily by subsidies from its various partitioners.

After the Wall came down, high expectations for quick economic change and the re-positioning of Berlin in the world cities network led to major public and private investment in offices and housing. In an effort to bring people and business back to the new capital, the government committed to a series of financial incentives and rent guarantees. Based on high expectations of economic development, there was a big influx of young professionals, bringing strong but transitory growth.

Monica Faltermaier, an urban planner in Berlin's Department of Urban Development, filled in some more of Berlin's big picture: Ten years into reunification and the rebirth of Berlin as Germany's capital city, 7 million square meters of office space have been built, and thanks to the developer guarantees, more is under construction. However, 1993 marked a turning point in that development. Today there are 100,000 empty offices and 100,000 empty apartments in the city. After a 50 percent decline in manufacturing jobs in eight years, unemployment is at 16 percent. There has been a significant decline in total population from 1993 onwards, along with growth in the number of immigrants. With productivity down, there has been strong growth in the need for social services and retraining of the workforce, especially former East Germans and immigrants. But since 1993 it has been clear that there will not be the wholesale relocation of the German economy that the planners were banking on, as the incentives Berlin can offer are simply not sufficient.

The Challenges of West-East Synthesis: Regeneration, Suburbanization, Gentrification
However, beyond the polemic Potsdamer Platz redevelopment and despite Berlin's putative 'financial crisis', we also had the chance to learn about interesting urban regeneration initiatives taking place in the city. Monica Schumer-Strucksberg, Planning Officer at the Department of Urban Development, spoke to us about housing regeneration efforts at the eastern edge of the city, including public participation processes that led to successful renovation of socialist housing blocks and development of attractive community space. Her prime example is the 'Social City' project, an initiative to regenerate former East German tower blocks in the Marzan district. This project achieved its goal of retaining residents, upgrading the housing stock, and transforming the public spaces, all through a painstaking and intensive participation process that had to begin with building trust in government among former East German residents.

Urban planning is also making a difference in environmental/sustainability policies and programs. Dr. Klaus Muschen, an energy planner in the Berliner Environmental Planning Agency, told us about his agency's efforts to capitalize on the numerous new build and renovation opportunities to develop demonstration projects for energy-efficient architecture. Examples include the Reichstag building, currently run by 100% renewable energy, and Potsdamer Platz, which is connected to district heat, a system run on the heat waste harnessed from energy production. In tune with the renowned West German 'green' culture are renewable energy initiatives such as investment in residential photovoltaics, solar thermal generation, and wind energy research.

Reunification has presented other major challenges, including new opportunities for unmanaged growth and social segregation once the Wall, that great artificial barrier to sprawl, came down. According to Professor Hausserman, since the initial 'boom' there has been little actual movement across east-west boundaries. Instead, the removal of the Wall presented a new opportunity for suburbanization, as wealthier people from both East and West Berlin were suddenly able to move out of the city into the surrounding state of Brandenburg. Therefore Berlin has in common with other evolving central cities the persistent threat of social division and spatial segregation, based on economic status as well as the vastly different social cultures of East and West.

On the other hand, since the Wall came down, gentrification of former East German inner districts by students, artists and intellectuals has consolidated neighbourhoods like Prenzlauer Berg and Kreuzberg. The cultural flavour of these quarters attracts Berliners looking for spacious and cheap flats, as well as tourists in search of trendy cafes, bars and art galleries -as we had the chance to enjoy after our tight daily schedule!

On the surface, it appears the integration of East and West cultures and ways of life is taking place slowly, if at all. Two significantly different cultures exist, in terms of education, skills and ethics. However, the issue is complex and more time and research is needed to establish to what extent Berliners have come to melt into a common identity.

What's the new role for Berlin?
Among our speakers, we found critics who claimed that planners are wrong to think that Berlin will be able to regain its pre-war prominence, and that the importance of the city as "gateway to Eastern Europe" has been overestimated, as well as its ability to excel as a cultural, political and financial centre. In this way, while Germany as a whole is still bearing the economic and social costs of reunification, the rough times are especially felt in Berlin, a city that does not seem to have been able to fulfil its role as the symbol of the prosperous future of the reunified Nation.

Yet we also heard more optimistic assessments of Berlin's possibilities. As we have seen, innovative housing and energy projects are in the forefront of a more 'sustainable' urban development. Projects characterized by participation and high environmental standards, which are hard to find in many other developing cities, have flourished in Berlin.

And, last but not least, it is our impression that Berlin's continues to be one of the most vibrant and cutting-edge cultural centres. Cheap rents, available space in converted warehouses and old inner-city apartment blocks, and a thriving media and graphic design industry still attract young people and artists from Germany and from abroad, feeding the atmosphere of liberation and creativity that characterises Berlin at the turn of the millennium.

Thanks to Cordelia Polinna, a graduate urban planner at the Technische Universitat, we visited some of the 'hot spots' of this vibrant young culture, like the 'famous' Tacheles. This alternative/edgy arts beehive is a dilapidated building, previously a grand 1909 shopping arcade, abandoned for decades until squatter artists moved in and kitted it out with theatres, galleries, studios, and a scrap and metal sculpture garden. At the trendy street-level bar, we exchanged experiences with a bunch of planning students from the Technische Universitat, talking about the good and bad of the cosmopolitan London and wondering about the new role for Berlin...and the questions still remain. What will Berlin be in the 21st century? As the answer reveals itself, whatever it might be, we absolutely recommend you go and see it with your own eyes!

By Janet Cox, Darinka Czischke and Maura McManimon
RUPS 2001/2002

Note: We would like to thank especially the following people for sharing their time and knowledge with us, thereby making our study-trip an unforgettable experience: Ralph Stern, Monika Faltermeier, Monica Schurmer-Strucksberg, Frank Roost, Cordelia Polinna, Deike Peters, Dr. Klaus Muschen and Professor Helmuth Haussermann.

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East Side Gallery

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Left: A taste of Berliner hospitality- grabbing a bite with Planning students from the Technische Universitaet 

Right: Standing next to remains of the Berlin Wall

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Left: Historical Berlin- in front of the Berliner Dom

Right: Frank Gehry's imprint on the new Berlin architectural scene

PhD News

The following continue to work on their theses:

First Year (2002)
Pushpa Arabindoo
Laurence Crot
Steve Hammer
Ramola Naik-Singru

Debora Cavalcanti (2001)
(provisional title) Territorialisation of Urban Poverty: migration, mobility and housing in the Northeast of Brazil

Christopher Lyons (2001)
"Planning, the state, and microeconomic policy: An investigation into the impact of progressive politics on the state as enabler through the planning process."

Keh-Her Shih (2001)
"The emergence of world city domination and the consequent implication in regional governance: Globalisation crises and institutional changes in East Asia."

Ljiljana Grubovic (1999)
"Socio-Economic Transformation and Diversification of Capital Regions in Central and Eastern Europe"

Abel Perez-Zamorano (1999)
"Institutional Change And Its Impact On Organisation Of Production And Productivity: The Case Of Ejido In Mexico"

Laurentios Vasiliadis (1999)
"The creation of a favoured environment for the attraction of foreign direct investments in Greece. A critical comparison between Ireland, Portugal and Greece"

Miguel Jimenez (1998)
"The globalisation effect in the economic structure of Mexico City"

Kuniko Shibata (1998)
"The state, planning and the public interest: historical development of regional and urban planning policy in Japan"

Jorge Vera Garcia (1998)
"Liberalisation and local productive systems in Mexico: Productive linkages in agglomerations with different market orientation

Bo Tang (1997)
"Urban planning and property development in China: Guangzhou and Hong Kong, 1978-1998" viva taking place 18 March 2003.

Peng Sheng Weng (1997)
"The interaction between innovation systems and urbanisation"

Murat Yalcintan (1997)
"Impacts of globalisation on the decision-making process of Istanbul Greater City municipality"

Ertan Zibel (1997)
"The globalizing nation state and cities in Turkey"

Iris Hauswirth (1994)
"Efficient organisations? Government export promotion in Britain and Germany from a new institutional economics perspective."

Sophia Skyers is working as a social policy analyst/researcher for CEMVO (council for Ethnic Minority Voluntary Organisation). She continues to work on her PhD.

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Andy Thornley leads the PhD students on a study trip to the Greenwich peninsula development area

Completed PhD Students During 2002

Eduardo Rodriguez Oreggia y Roman (1998)
"Acquisition of skills and innovation as explanation for differences in the Mexican regions"

Asato Saito (1994)
"Strategic urban development in a global city - case study of Tokyo" Asato has obtained a lecturing job in the Japanese Studies department of the National University of Singapore.


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