Otto: "No taboos in the field of urban development – we need more striking buildings"“
"Our cities need more striking buildings that give them a unique character." This was the call of Alexander Otto, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the "Lebendige Stadt" Foundation at the opening of the international "City in Motion" conference at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin on Thursday (Sep 20, 2007).
He said there should be no taboos. "The reconstruction of a castle in the city center like the one here in Berlin must be just as normal as the new construction of a spectacular theater or museum“, said Otto.
On September 20 and 21, more than 700 experts from over 20 countries came together at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin to talk about town twinning, traffic and urban growth in the era of globalization and climate change.
The international conference of cities was organized by the "Lebendige Stadt" Foundation, which is committed to the sustainable promotion of urban European culture "Cities need networks", said Berlin 's Governing Mayor Klaus Wowereit during his welcome address. "There's no copyright for mayors – we're allowed to copy good ideas", Wowereit added.
The aim of the conference of cities in Berlin was to serve as a forum for the broadly based exchange of ideas and know-how between towns and cities, the state, the private sector and the worlds of science and culture. In the spirit of "best practice", high-ranking representatives from the fields of politics, industry, culture, science and administration presented trendsetting projects and initiatives.
In the opinion of Dr. Stephan Articus, Managing Director of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, associations and networks of cities and regions are also playing an ever greater role in an international context. He said that cities acted as important bridgeheads in an increasingly international and global civil society.
Schleswig-Holstein's Prime Minister Peter Harry Carstensen emphasized the need for towns and cities to make the most of their twinning partnerships: "A list of names on a sign is not enough. He called on "both partners in the twinning process to breathe life into the relationship". Carstensen added, however, that this was also a matter of affordability.
In a panel discussion also featuring Dr. Stephan Articus, Schwerin Lord Mayor Norbert Claussen, Osnabrück Lord Mayor Boris Pistorius, Gheorghe Ciuhandu, Lord Mayor of Timisoara in Romania, and Leif H. Sjöström, former Swedish Ambassador to Germany and "Hamburg ambassador" in Stockholm, Leipzig Lord Mayor Burkhard talked about ways of successfully organizing and "living" twinning partnerships in the modern world and looked at the opportunities these partnerships create in a globalized society.
Tiefensee: "Cities are groaning under the burden of traffic".
In his kick-off presentation on the topic of traffic, Federal Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee talked about the negative impact of rapidly growing mobility: "Towns and cities are groaning under the burden of traffic and the resulting noise, air pollution, accident hazard and congestion. We therefore need to reconcile the mobility needs of the population with the quality of life in the cities", said Tiefensee. He added that mobility in the city is one of the core fields of action of the German government, particularly with regard to the ongoing development of the local public transport system.
Hamburg 's Urban Development Senator Axel Gedaschko chaired the panel discussion on the topic of traffic. The participants in the discussion were Jaanus Mutli, Deputy Mayor of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, Jean-Louis Touraine, Deputy Mayor of Lyon, Hermann Graf von der Schulenburg, Chairman of the Management Board of DB Stadtverkehr GmbH, and Bundestag member and traffic expert Dirk Fischer.
Who profits from urban growth?
Day two of the conference focused on the topic of urban growth. Following the kick-off presentation by Professor Thomas Sieverts from the Academy of Arts in Berlin , Dr. Thomas Mirow, State Secretary in the German Finance Ministry, talked about who funds urban growth and who profits from this growth. Urban planner Professor Kees Christiaanse from the ETH Zurich outlined the role of core city and environs. Hella Dunger-Löper, State Secretary in the Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development, and Lord Mayors Bärbel Dieckmann ( Bonn ), Dr. Eva Lohse ( Ludwigshafen ), Dagmar Mühlenfeld (Mülheim) and Dr. Rosemarie Wilcken ( Wismar ) presented the growth strategies of their cities to the conference.
Other speakers at the "City in Motion" conference in Berlin included Bundestag President Dr. Norbert Lammert, Brandenburg 's Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Planning, Reinhold Dellmann, Bundestag member Gisela Piltz and Cologne Lord Mayor Fritz Schramma.
World premiere on the runway
The cultural highlight of the conference of cities was a "Journey in Time" on the runway of Tempelhof Airport on Thursday evening designed and staged by Hamburg-based theater maker Michael Batz. This unique performance provided a 'guided tour' through the varied history of the world's oldest commercial airport in the form of film sequences, musical performances by young artists from the Joop van den Ende Academy, a 'raisin bomber', a brand new Airbus and the entire Konzerthausorchester Berlin orchestra.
Those involved in the performance also included Berlin Mayor Ingeborg Junge-Reyer, Dr. Helena K. Finn, Minister Counselor for Public Affairs at the US Embassy, Air Berlin CEO Joachim Hunold, Gerhard Puttfarcken, Chairman of the Board of Management of Air bus Deutschland, as well as Philips Managing Director Robert Pfarrwaller.
"This spectacular performance on the runway was a genuine world premiere and paves the way for the celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift in the coming year", said Dr. Andreas Mattner, Chairman of the Executive Board of the "Lebendige Stadt" Foundation.
Exchange of know-how in Berlin City Hall
The conference of cities began on Wednesday evening (Sep ember 19) with an international exchange of know-how between mayors in the "Red City Hall" attended by well over 1,000 participants and civic representatives from 25 countries – including 74 mayors, ministers and state secretaries as well as 50 ambassadors.
The Berlin Senate and the "Lebendige Stadt" Foundation had issued a joint invitation to this reception. The keynote speakers were Berlin Mayor Ingeborg Junge-Reyer and Potsdam Lord Mayor Jann Jakobs.