Regional and Urban Design Committee

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The Regional and Urban Design Committee (RUDC) aims to improve the quality of the regional and urban environment by promoting excellence in design, planning, and public policy in the built environment. This will be achieved through its member and public education, in concert with allied community and professional groups. Join us!

Growing up in a walkable transit city in 1950s Gerrnany

  • 1.  Growing up in a walkable transit city in 1950s Gerrnany

    Posted 12-04-2019 09:10

     

    When I was born in Stuttgart, Germany, 5 years after WW II, the city was still a mess. Back then it was only about half the size of Baltimore. Today the massive shrinkage of my new hometown and modest growth of my old one make them equals in population.
    Stuttgart Market Square after air raid. The tower building is city hall which
    was later demolished in favor of a modernist building

    Heavy air raids by the allies aimed at vital industries (cars, pistons, transmissions and the like), large parts of downtown lay in rubble way into the 1950s. Quickly erected one story buildings provided some of the essential services. But while streetcars still cleared the ruins, on the drafting tables of planners and traffic engineers emerged the blueprints for a car-friendly postwar city which would bring about a second wave of heavy destruction in the name of progress and mobility.

    My first memories, though, involve my mother taking me by the hand to go shopping. Stuttgart and its neighborhoods were still a town of pedestrians, bicyclists and streetcars. In part because of the war, in part because no other country had been as motorized as the US had been already after WW I, cars in Germany were few, they were tiny and for most not affordable. My parents certainly didn't have one. The only wheels in our family's possession were those of a wicker pram (baby carriage) in which I was initially placed, later replaced by an open convertible "sportscar" as my parents called it, in today's terms a stroller. Both designs clearly inspired by automotive aspirations.
    Wicker pram, inspired by automotive
    design

    My parents didn't have a washing machine either, nor a refrigerator, central air or even a bicycle. Being accommodated by emergency law,... READ FULL ARTICLE


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    [Klaus] Philipsen FAIA
    Archplan Inc. Philipsen Architects
    Baltimore MD
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