In times of rapidly rising rents and the continuing influx of people into inner cities, politics is always also urban development policy – and thus architecture-relevant.
Of course, architecture is also political. Architecture, the practice that architect Friesland does, creates spaces for dialogue and brings people together. Political debate takes place in it if it enables and promotes it. At the same time, architecture represents the self-image of cities and societies. This is what makes the work of researchers so topical. Because: Do we really want “right spaces”: Of course not. But what does it look like, the architecture in which we see ourselves adequately mirrored?
These are questions that will only be affected to a limited extent by the Bundestag election. But of course, Sunday is also about topics that are very directly relevant to architecture. Federal policy has a concrete influence on the future development of our cities, even if urban planning is essentially a matter for the municipalities. But the parties certainly have programmatic things to say about the livable city and the role of politics in its creation.
There is no Wahlomat “architecture”. An interesting platform, however, is the “Network Immovielia”. It has checked the programs of the major parties for their attitude to urban development. Roughly speaking, the check always focuses on the question: What special rights should private initiatives oriented towards the common good enjoy in the housing market? How much state intervention in favor of more public space and cheaper housing do the parties allow? Should allotments, parks, or community gardens be preserved despite the high demand for building plots if they are available to the general public?
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I myself did the check and came out with the election recommendation “green”. A surprise for me. But this is due to the fact that I have thought in many questions “if this is done well, then yes”. Or: “If it is really necessary in a specific case, gladly.” The initiative does not make this distinction.
And this is also the problem of the debate on politics in architecture and urban planning as a whole: it does not differentiate. It deals with no-brainers who are not discussed further, who are repeated again and again, and whom all those involved in the discourse believe. According to this, the real estate industry is fundamentally bad. Big companies too. The future of mobility belongs exclusively to bicycles and railways. Any government intervention is good.
That is not my position. State intervention can be useful. However, they must be dosed. Because a functioning market is also good and important. Or in other words: The market is good – if it works.
Interventions in market processes can also backfire. The attempts of politicians to control the rising rents in conurbations are currently showing this. The rent brake does not work. I am skeptical as to whether such artificial upper limits are a suitable means of curbing galloping rents. Incidentally, my skepticism is now also shared by the major political parties. A panel debate by the Baden-Württemberg Chamber of Architects recently showed this.
Be that as it may, it is still unclear with whom Angela Merkel will soon hold coalition talks. After all, these once again offer an opportunity to reflect on the architectural significance of the Berlin Chancellery by Axel Schultes and Charlotte Frank. Incidentally, the building itself, which was only opened in 2001, already has noticeable signs of wear and tear. Let’s see when these are used symbolically for the first time in the media – and with what statement.