Design and the City is a podcast by reSITE, raising questions and proposing solutions for the city of the future. In the fourth episode entitled Fighting Gentrification, Leona Lynen, a city-maker advocating for the collaboration between civil society and administration, talks about the case of Berlin and her new co-operative project.
Leona Lynen is an urbanist that researches projects initiated by civil society, showcasing the different quality of cities. In fact, she is a member of ZUsammenKUNFT Berlin, a cooperative for urban development aimed at building a different quality of city through co-creation. She is also part of the project Haus der Statistik in Berlin, an unoccupied administration building in the heart of Berlin’s Alexanderplatz currently being turned into a model project for a co-operative, mixed-use urban development, oriented towards the common good.
Discussing her co-operative project, Lynen explains that this “initiative was made up of people, architects, planners but also members from social and cultural associations, and individuals that for years have been very active and actually fighting against the sale of the city”. In fact, even the concept and future of the house have been discussed collectively. The collective’s goal in placemaking with Haus der Statistik aims to secure affordability, accessibility, and inclusivity. Giving a place to all those that have been pushed out of the city through rising rents and sale of publicly-owned land, the collective seeks to shift the power dynamics within Berlin’s urban development.
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I mean, we’re trying really to set a benchmark on what urban regeneration can look like and particularly also from an organizational point of view like to have a very active organized civil society that enters a collaboration with the administration and thereby amplifying and complementing each other. -- Leona Lynen
Moreover, when discussing ways of countering the seemingly-inevitable impact of gentrification, the urbanist explains that “what is really missing is even greater awareness of all parties involved, politicians, local administration to really allow for these users and users to stay within the city because otherwise, Berlin is becoming much more banal by the day”.
I think if we want to regenerate our cities we need to enter new collaborations that might be a bit uncomfortable at first, we need to end the phase of centralized urban regeneration by the so-called experts and include people that have a say in the everyday environment. I think we truly do complement and amplify each other’s strengths and each other’s tactics. I think if we enter into these collaborations we can make a way for open, alive, diverse, and incomplete cities. -- Leona Lynen
ReSITE, a global non-profit acting to improve the urban environment, launched its first podcast, Design and the City, featuring nine speakers from the reSITE 2019 REGENERATE event. Revolving around how we can use design to make cities more livable and lovable, every week, a new episode is released, featuring a new guest.