STEFANIE HENNECKE (KASSEL): THE MUNICIPAL PARK („VOLKSPARK“) AS HERITAGE OF MODERNITY? ON THE HISTORY OF MUNICIPAL PARKS IN THE 19TH AND 20TH CENTURY IN THE CONTEXT OF DISCUSSIONS ABOUT PUBLIC EDUCATION AND PUBLIC HEALTH.

Beginning in the mid-19th century, numerous parks were built under municipal management as cities grew. The „public walk,“ „people’s garden,“ or „city park“ of the 19th century was replaced by the new model of the „Volkspark“ in the early 20th century with a combative gesture in professional discourses.

The „Volkspark“ was supposed to be fundamentally different from its predecessors in design and program of use, it was supposed to be „modern“ and to preserve the military capability of the youth, it was a suitable field of activity for job creation measures and became the venue for numerous large-scale demonstrations in the cities that were becoming denser. It was the location for numerous educational institutions and it was seen as the cornerstone for superordinate green systems traversing the entire city. The lecture will use a number of examples to describe the existing continuities in the design and programming of municipal parks since the 19th century and, against this backdrop, highlight the ideological attributions to the importance of parks, which actually changed considerably over the decades.

Stefanie Hennecke is professor for Open Space Planning at the University of Kassel. Her research focusses on the history of urban green space, with an emphasis on the design and use of public parks and the appropriation of open space. Current research projects deal with the occurrence of wildlife in the city, with the meaning of utopias and dystopias of urban development in the context of participation processes and with the design of the living environment for young people. She studied Landscape Architecture and Planning in Munich and Berlin and received her PhD from the University of the Arts Berlin on Berlin’s urban development policy in the post-reunification period. Her most recent book publication: Freiraum in der Krise? Eine Bestandsaufnahme in Zeiten der Covid-19-Pandemie (ed. together with Daniel Münderlein) – www.freiraum-krise.de. Further information: www.uni-kassel.de/go/freiraumplanung.

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