The Brandenburg Gates : unity, division, and reinvented tradition in post-wall Berlin
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Lawrence J. Vale.
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Twenty three years after the German Reunification (German: Deutsche Wiedervereinigung), the once divided Berlin is still undergoing a process of recovery from the deep political, social, cultural, and physical divisions of the 20th century. Such divisions seem to have manifested themselves in every corner of the city throughout the course of history, creating a highly politicized environment, and hotly contested spaces decades after conflict ended. One particular area of controversy lies in the center of the city, along the former path of the Berlin Wall. This part of the city was heavily destroyed after the Second World War. Despite some unsuccessful reconstruction efforts after the War, the Berlin Wall passed right through the center of the city, wiping out the few buildings that were left standing, leaving the area completely barren and deserted. This area of the city came to be known as the 'death strip' (German: Todesstreifen), characterized by a long wide empty space, a wall on the west, barbed wire on the east, and occasional checkpoints and military units along the way. Over the last twenty three years, the Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment (German: Berlin Stadtentwicklung) has sought to restore, preserve, rebuild, and develop large parts of the city, including the former death strip. Its goal has been to physically reconnect fragmented parts the city, by creating spaces that serve as meeting points for former East and West Berliners, in order to reintegrate the city's physical landscape and recreate its cultural identity. One of the Senate's key development projects focused on the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin's iconic landmark, and its surrounding public spaces, for the political, cultural, and historic symbolism they represent to the city. This thesis will first examine the conditions under which the Brandenburg Gate has served as a symbol of unity and division in the city throughout its evolving history. Then, it will discuss the Brandenburg Gate and its surrounding spaces as a network of reinvented traditions, with the Gate serving as passageway to the physical and temporal histories to the city-hence, the Brandenburg Gates.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2013.This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Cataloged from student-submitted PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 96-98).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.