Architects Engineers Builders and Social Designers United (AEBaSDU)
Association / NGO etc. - is in preparation. These days more to come.
Apparently this whole site - like many lives these days is under kinda reconstruction.
The thesis and subjects below are a bit "older". From around 2 years ago, 2016.
But still they have some actual reference. Thus - have fun and enjoy reading until I might be able to refresh also this home page.
Image top: Fragmented Panorama „Does Father Rhine flow
from Düsseldorf into the Arabian Sea at „Seven Bungalows“ in Mumbai / Bombay or – does the Arabian Sea stream to us?“
(At least we share the horizon and the water – maybe also the beach?
With the houses we still have to work out some things - for sure. Maybe we need to be slightly more careful with the fishermen - the ordinary people and their existential basics? But - this should only serve as a suggestion here).
Images above: Houses in the Maghreb and their dwellers
On top a traditional courtyard house at Sidi Bel Abbes in North-West Algeria - the little son of the oldest of 9 sons,
who lives with his wife in the parents' 2 story main house. In the center the three daughters with the two children of the oldest - a teacher for French and Geography, who as a divorced woman - thus a "single mom" returned to the parents' house for being enabled to continue her professional career. Besides that four of the brothers having lunch in the courtyard in front of "the brothers' house" (1986).
Below a modern compact courtyard house in a settlement for civil servants at Marrakesh in Maroc.
Here the courtyard is covered by a roof - on the ground floor the rather (semi-) public service rooms - the kitchen, (cold) storage, bathroom flanking the "courtyard" - the living and dining room, above in the "gallery story" the private spaces - parents' and childrens' bedrooms, where the three sons and the three daughters always move closer, when there ar visitors for providing a guest room (1999).
The shortage in so called “affordable living space” in metropolitan areas / cities and the so called “refugee crisis” will sooner or later cause continuous tensions resulting from increasing supply shortfall – jobs, social welfare budgets of communities etc. in Germany.
But there are many things, which impede everything, which is now essential for the integration of refugees – of new arrivals – for accomplishing these important tasks for the benefit of all.
A fundamental challenge for urban and regional planning per se reveals itself here. This challenge represents itself on all “levels of scale” and – the answers will not only be decisive for “social Peace” just in Germany.
Also the subjects “structural change” and “area- and community management” under this pressure for finding good solutions for planning and implementation require now immerged realignment under the premise of creating – and converting “affordable living space”.
“Structural change” in this sense doesn’t only concern conversion and transition from the industrial towards the service society,
but in the course of “digitalization” towards a society, which is also capable to integrate many changes of our physical and media environment into the living environments of the diversity of
And - “structural change” also concerns a new widespread public discourse dealing with the subjects “production of the built environment” and “continuance”, “reconstruction backlog” and “ecological renewal”, “sufficiency” and “efficiency”, “new construction” and “reconstruction”.
All these subjects should be opposed in a comparable manner for that way enabling a “sustainable” position of points for a future worth living for everybody.
Therefore a land use planning, which is acting in a very pragmatic way is needed. A spatial planning, which is able – and which is willing to transform “recently extensionally delayed connecting factors” of former conversion phases promptly – according to the needs of society as a whole. Thus legislative standards and “target-oriented”, competently lead public discussions, which offer a broad range are required in the context of society as a whole and in preparation of these changes.
“Land use management” therein massively touches real estate property rights. This also includes the liability for contamination – that is – in the course of brownfields recycling and preparation for new site development the removal of old neglected deposits above and in the soil – the residues mostly resulting from the first industrial revolution.
Thus – who’s footing the bill for the removal of the ecological consequences? This question again and again is a subject, which paralyzes any progress of construction and planning works and often delays those over years.
“Internal instead of expansive external development” in that sense should also mean, that incentives for accelerated procedures are required – that the moderation of this new conversion of areas between authorities and clients / investors is an essential thing and the state as the one, who mostly should be interested in keeping “social peace” should create accelerating instruments and the jobs linked with that not only on the legislative level – in a continuous dialogue with federal states and communities.
Also “neighborhood management” – thus street work on site there already in an early phase is essential. Cities – communities cannot accomplish that on their own.
Quite the contrary – for avoiding “ghettoization” in already existing “social hotspots” and for enabling “integration and inclusion” there not only financial incentives by the Union government, but also functional legislative hierarchies in the framework of the federal “competitive legislation” – thus the legislation between the state in Berlin and the federal states are required.
Programmatic target-settings, which actually already exist because of the multiple “extensionally delayed shortages – particularly regarding the offers for affordable living space” can only be accomplished by centralized project-management defaults and equivalent decentralized transformation management defaults on site. Arriving at these responsibilities though first of all requires intensified public discourses and – “participation of the public at an early stage” also externally from building and planning authorities – and substantially extended exchanges of experiences on all levels.
Because – it’s more or less about a quite risky experiment here – opening up a formerly closely or even rather hidden in the national framework proceeding society and “market development” towards a European – insofar maybe also towards a “global integration process”.
“Globalization from the basis” – „bottom up-top down“ – „Think global, act local“ – however you want to name it. A multitude of
programmatic measurements, which also ask for the equivalent risk assessment – and smart and experienced regulation – also for the protection of small local market participants – also of “the man and
the woman from the street”.
There’s not much time left though for hesitating.
Many economists and other scientists from the Anglo-American space rather avoid the term „Neoliberalism“ as a “not scientific term”. The globally predominant social order these days however manifests three predominant characteristics.
Premise for everything there is the unconditional “protection and increase of acquired possession” at any price - those who have will get more – who has nothing also doesn’t have any right to participate at the development of society – and of the city etc.
“Neoliberalism“ thus drives the actors to selection and exclusion of many “other” groups and individuals. The term does irritate more than really naming things.
In the long run it becomes rather uncomfortable on the tiers and in the parquet. Then a new can of worms has to be opened or the theatre, where the “divide and conquer play” is performed shall finally be rebuilt, before it actually crashes.
The trinity of social circumstances and relations that way called “neoliberalism“ only differs from other forms of selection and exclusion from the past in its totalitarianism just in this respect, that those patterns are unbelievably subtle. Their victims are marginalized and suppressed in an almost perfectly invisible way – mostly they are also exported – “outsourced” in space.
Thus – the almost globally all-embracing “freedom of values and markets” named with the term, which has been denied by many scientists – better – its protagonists – the so called “elites” again and again arrived at representing nowadays “floating movements of patterns of truth and identity” as “final” and “lacking any alternative” and insofar “located in the constitutional democratic framework or similar. Concepts and thoughts for enabling a “pluralistic” and diversified embodiment of a future for humans of all social and ethnical origins that way sadly were continuously excluded in an apparently endless presence.
Completely banally you now might object, that national socialism with its cruelly perfect machinery of death once upon a time and cadre communism at the end of the Warsaw Pact – once more particularly perfect with the stasi (self-) spying on the Eastern side of the wall, whose planning even was still disclaimed on the eve of “realities poured into concrete” then also shall have been “(neo-) liberalism”. And – “terrorism” – particularly in its open representation of cruelties by the media done by the IS and other groups of that kind could no less be categorized by that.
Yes – maybe “(neo-) liberalism” of that kind rather equates to a disease.
A “liberation from any humanist ethics” – from any quite universally valid rules of loving people – or altruism, which somehow legitimates itself. By excluding any complexity then these rules only become valid for the own “patterns of clients” – within the framework of own “patterns of truth and identity”.
A procedure, which now with the so called “refugee crisis” is put on trial:
Does the country, from whose soil two world wars were started in the 20th century now reveal itself to Europe and the world in a curative manner – “with good and integrative intentions for all, who also want to participate and embody that together, in a common effort” and does it really try “to achieve something” – to build perspectives beyond war and destruction – towards peace and human dignity and – does one really and credibly try to move that change of paradigm forward internally and externally or – are we increasingly shifting towards an “exerted and anxious democracy like formation of the second Berlin Republic after the Third Reich”?
Images above: The Kiefernstraße at Düsseldorf-Flingern - a street, which once was occupied.
On the left side predominantly German residents with "alternative life style" - on the right "the migrants' side" -
"grubby" facades with satellite dishes. Nonetheless - the street as living space is quite functional.
Below that an industrial wasteland area in spitting distance - between the former industry and workers' quarters Düsseldorf-Flingern and -Oberbilk, which are located close to the city center, but already on the first "suburban shell". The wasteland of the "United kettle works" - maybe also to be named according to the name of an alternative meeting point close by - the "Nowhereland" between Flingern and Oberbilk.
On the right besides that: a slum at Bandra, in the "suburban periphery, but close to the city center" of
Bombay / Mumbai - perhaps inhabited by "migrant workers", who built the office buildings in the back.
Below a creek at Andheri-West, further towards the edge of the agglomeration Bombay - a "watercourse", which cannot be recognized that easily any more because of the amount of waste.
In her speech on new year’s eve the Federal Chancellor for the first time since long spoke from the “social market economy”. Is this also valid for all 80 million German citizens together with the term of “buying power for the masses” of the founder and party colleague of Dr. Merkel - Ludwig Erhard?
The actors on the stage, where the “Divide and conquer theatre play” is performed round here are at the end of their ropes. The
audience as well. But – all the heads in the orchestra pit are shaved off. The tiers are wobbling – some have fallen down – many spectators already escaped from the parquet and the loges. Some
musicians are desperately searching their instruments in the debris. The last sound also always is a matter of (professional) honor.
The “refugee crisis” has a weightier dimension in comparison with the many other crisis of the recent decade(s), which mostly rather were suppressed instead of really being sorted out: The “failure of the elites” and “snoozing on the volcano”, Jürgen Habermas diagnosed regarding Germany in the run-up to the elections to the Bundestag 2013 though, which now shall continue holds much more blasting power for the “crystalized monsters of truth”, which are presented to us – the society - which ultimately also make us and rule us – the more, as many emergency exits are already locked (also fire protection as essential element of building laws again and again gladly is subordinated to formerly mentioned premises from several sides and accordingly exploited).
Habermas referred with the “snoozing on the volcano” – in the final analysis the “reform blockage in Germany and Europe” still to the so called “Euro crisis” and Germany’s behavior compared to Southern Europe.
Under the long grounded-in codex of the “clash of civilizations” now with the “refugee crisis” it’s getting hotter and much more uncomfortable between the streams of lava flowing down into the valley. “The war against terror”, which ultimately has brought more terror and insecurity for the major part of humans in the world since almost 15 years – people, who mostly just simply want to live their modest lives in peace with them and their families now inevitably comes into the country and – new fears of loss are arising. Cowardly assaults – as lastly at Paris and Brussels are the consequence.
Resilience and courage against terror in Europe only can emerge, when we finally remember again the social achievements, we made
after the terror of WW 2 and are able to transform that into nowadays time.
Because – “sitting it out” – wanting to “thwart” also the “refugee crisis” also means, that new “fronts” in the “Divide and conquer theatre play” come into being. And – this is happening in a more than decrepit ruinous theatre.
Ignorance and segregation is also a long approved method institutionalized by authorities for restricting the access into the run down theatre. There are always sufficient “expert opinions” from economy, science and politics quickly available for taking equivalent measures.
Peter Handke’s “Goalkeeper’s Fear of the Penalty Kick” is in the course of “fragmentation of realities” – and the according “constitutional separation of powers” soon fuelled to the fear of “totalitarianism”. A comprehensive reflex in consideration of German history of the 20th century: Germany’s legal framework and its institutions were rebuilt after WW 2 as widely ramified delicate flat hierarchies. In the course of “Divide and conquer” though many essential weak points have grown. Enormous gaps in the spaces in between the Status Quo Vadis.
WE still have to write the next act in the “Divide and conquer theatre play”, which should have been introduced by the Chancellor’s phrase “we will make it!”. And – simultaneously we have to stage-manage it. And – we have to find appropriate venues. Sort of “reality check trials”.
But – for passing this new act – just for getting it started – therefore a bit more of assembling the splintered
stage props of the bygone acts. If not many others in front of the gates of the totally ruined theatre might already smash the new venues for the following acts to bits. And – the mantras from “we
will make it!” until the adjuration of the “social market economy” in the chancellors speech on new year’s eve will turn into incendiary compositions.
What does all that mean for “architecture and urban and regional planning” per se in that moment here and now?
And – why do I address that to you here – the associations, representing my profession in the states of the Federal Republic of Germany?
Or – why don’t I address just the association here in North-Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) as “my field of responsibility”?
After all the architectural association of one of the most densely populated areas in Europe – the most populous Federal State, where with 17,7 million inhabitants these days are as many architects registered as at our French neighbors altogether with 66,4 million inhabitants?
Well – recently in NRW the elections for the architectural association took place. A slightly increased turnout of voters of about 40 % of members of the association generally is recorded as a success.
How many “precarious” or even – “peevish” colleagues without any possibilities for a “market access” are out there – not only at NRW?
Just the lists of the two big professional organizations here – BDA and BDB presented any “crisis” as almost kind of “law of nature of markets” in their programs. Nowhere there was any hint towards “programmatic initiatives” for strengthening the profession to be found – also towards “integration” or even “inclusion” of “precarious” or even – colleagues, who are completely excluded from the “markets”?
The “Fee Structure for Architects and Engineers (HOAI)” – nice, but – for many this cannot really be regarded as more than a “general guideline” in the shark basin of the building and planning industry. Not to mention “investors” and “clients”, who sometimes don’t have a clue of all that and who digest all the tuna fish amongst the colleagues in the basin, who cannot afford an attorney (any more).
And – do “experience” and “overview and general education” still count on “highly specialized markets”, where job advertisements
mostly request the knowledge of one special (CAD) program for one special phase on one special building segment?
What does all that do – particularly as by definition itself any human can be a potential architect, urban planner and engineer? And – as there’s also a general saying, that it’s as with good wine with architects – stored and treated well he or she is getting better with growing age and experience.
What actually also is valid for most other professions.
In this context the hint towards the “baby-boom generation” of the midst of the 1960s, the president of the architectural association of Baden-Württemberg Markus Müller also makes in his pamphlet for a programmatic house building shall be allowed: (http://www.akbw.de/wir-ueber-uns/kammerintern/programmatischer-wohnungsbau.html - the Link doesn’t work any more – sadly the pamphlet cannot be found any more)
For many of us it’s already more than evident now, that under the existing circumstances we don’t have to worry about dental prostheses for our future ages any more. 50-70 % of us will definitely spend our “years of retirement” primarily between soup kitchens and “homesteads for senior citizens” as “collective accommodation facilities” – as the linear progress of things is still the main focus. Let alone the perspectives for our children beyond that.
Also the subject of “avoiding poverty amongst the elderly” – better – a “well-deserved and dignified being of old age” shall already now move much stronger into the present focus particularly of planning professions like our one: my parent’s generation ff. also have (re-) built up a country with equality regarding education and chances with many eager hands and heads. The challenges thus for us are much bigger than many wanted to realize for quite some time. And – the work and effort, which is really to do, when we also take this “crisis” as a chance can push forward a national economy quite much – when it is managed well. The will power for doing that, for really tackling that is hard to be found these days. The signs, that we now break open incrusted structures – where are they?
“Poverty amongst the elderly” thus (already nowadays) is a present - no future challenge – particularly with regard to “affordable living space” and the appreciation of elderly people and their achievements and merits – their integration into society.
In addition to that regarding increased life expectancy and coming with that also an increasing demand on security and planning for our and future generations. Something, that also significantly concerns our job situations – “sufficiency” and “efficiency” and “know-how gained by experience” and its transmission.
Insofar once again a gentle reminder on the Federal Chancellor’s speech on new year’s eve, where Mrs. Dr. Merkel all of a sudden spoke again from the “social market economy”. An “ideal”, which under the paradigm of “free markets” seemed to be buried for quite some time and which also is to be ascribed to the term of “mass buying power” from her party colleague Ludwig Erhard. And – that has nothing to do with “consumption in a blind rage” but particularly nowadays rather refers to participation and offers for that. With a future for everyone.
Also the claim to achieve “help for enabling self-help at places of origin of refugees” isn’t really put in much any more. This cannot just be short-term emergency support – more funding for refugee camps at Europe’s frontiers – or even in Greece, which has suffered a lot already anyway.
For really tackling reasons in “a sustainable manner” and for working out common concepts for “help for enabling self-help at places of origin of refugees” a deeper analysis of wars temporarily going on since longer – particularly those, where Germans are involved is required.
As much as I know there are scarcely any investigations done by the UN or other multinational organizations about, to what extent the Western sanctions against Iraq have caused the impoverishment of thousands of people there or - to what extent the construction of the Atatürk-high dam and the 22 other, smaller dams in the Turkish East Anatolia in the midst of the 1990s robbed the livelihood from millions of peasants and fishermen in Syria and Iraq. Their livelihood depending of the water level of Euphrates and Tigris – and along with that also how big the impact of that and how much with that fundamentally the readiness for war there increased.
And – regarding Afghanistan and South Asia I could do a much deeper research on the basis of my own work there.
It’s not a matter of the “wars in the future”, where it’s basically about the water, which is “dug away” not only from some but from
Water and property – land rights – also for mining for resources etc. are already now the large-scale existential reasons for wars down to earth. Everywhere. Thereby also the equivalent conflicts during the transition, the change from a “unilateral” to a rather “multipolar” World order.
For also here becoming more efficient in planning and performing and for enabling a balance between “weak”, mostly common and “strong” – mostly rather “singular private” interests an intensive analysis and a regeneration of former defaults are required. The question of guilt there should initially rather be secondary for focusing on finding solutions.
It is necessary to actually face the essential basic needs of humans. Also for
confronting the increasing danger of war at many places in an offensive way in the sense, that reasons are fought – poverty, flight from the land, lack of access to clean water and to good education – a general lack of perspective and hope while potential for conflict is getting worse.
Focused programmatic headlines are needed for the according work with hosts on “foreign property” – and an equivalent change of paradigm for “trust building” in the “small scale of neighborhoods” – in centrally managed – but locally, decentralized help implemented for a better use of “basic rights” – realized by architecture, urban planning and engineering sciences on the ground.
Sometimes it might be necessary to bring together the subjects urbanism, “sustainable urban water management” and “installation of rudimentary building laws” for mediating between strong singular private interests (landlords = property owner and potential “warlords”) and weak community interests.
In an application at the building inspection Düsseldorf I had described that as core of my work at Kabul besides of the hint to my long experience in fire protection. In fact in the interview it happened for the first time, that a German authority asked interested questions about my work there. With the reference to “room to negotiate and margins of discretion” also in building and planning laws here though I entered a “mine field of legal administration”, which once more lead to “closed doors” also now 5 ½ - almost 6 years after my return from the Hindu Kush.
The transfer of standards – the willingness for clarifying abstract concepts is not only essential in the international and inter-cultural dialogue and requires mutual – thus at least bilateral flexibility and openness. No standard or scale – no interpretation of laws in that sense can discretely and self-explanatory be determined as “absolute”. In fact everything has initially to be adapted to the people from that particular place and the relevant primary development planning targets provided warranties and defects liabilities.
The basis for all that work is – the creation of CONFIDENCE.
For doing that though we need to leave the “clash of civilizations” behind us and we need to want to rebuild the theatre of the “divide and conquer play” – turning it into a dignified venue for comedies and tragedies for everybody.