Urbanization and Suburbanization
By Harald Bodenschatz
Confronting Strategies in Urban Reinvention - The Urban Reinventors, Issue Nr. 1, June 2007
The renaissance of the city is a hot topic in Europe. But what does the term renaissance mean? Generally it designates the renaissance of the inner city, the complex, mixed used inner city. The term renaissance is often applied to the city center only. Is such a perception appropriate? Does it mean that suburbanization is in decline? I assume that European cities have turned into urban regions which will change drastically in the future. Contemporary urban regions are a product, mirror, and stage of the industrial society. In the future, other preconditions will rule urban regions. What preconditions are these? The renaissance of the inner city is one option, whereas further suburbanization represents another one. It mainly depends on the farsightedness of politicians that keep radical socio-economic changes in mind that determines which option is going to prevail. We will probably experience a partial renaissance of the inner city as well as partial growth of suburbia. Both will be accompanied by either partial decay of suburbia or partial decay of the inner city. There are already vast and increasing differences among cities. Since the breakdown of communism we have witnessed a development unmatched in its disparities. Even locations within cities face different futures (…)
Harald Bodenschatz is Professor of Sociology of Planning and Architecture at the Technische Universität in Berlin and author of a wealth of works on urban issues, including Städtebau im Schatten Stalins. Die internationale Suche nach der sozialistischen Stadt in der Sowjetunion 1929-1935 (2003), Smart Growth - New Urbanism - Liveable Communities. Programm und Praxis der Anti-Sprawl-Bewegung in den USA (2004), and the latest Renaissance der Mitte - Zentrumsumbau in London und Berlin (2005).