Urban Authenticity: Civic Engagement and Urban Planning in Nuremberg

Employees (IfZ):   Julia Ziegler

The project “Urban Authenticity: Civic Engagement and Urban Planning in Nuremberg” is part of the joint research project “Urban Authenticity: Creating, Contesting, and Visualizing the Built Heritage in European Cities since the 1970s”, carried out by the Leibniz-Institute for Research on Society and Space, the Leibniz-Center for Contemporary History Potsdam, the Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe, and the Leibniz-Institute for Contemporary History Munich-Berlin (IfZ), in cooperation with the Association of Museums of Brandenburg.

The project explores the question of how the local built heritage is negotiated in European cities and what significance is granted to the concept of urban “authenticity”. The study centers on public debates, the medial presentations and practices of citizen initiatives, city administrations, and other actors at the intersection of building policy, tourism, and migration. Debates over an “authentic” built heritage are investigated using the example of four case studies involving Nuremberg in western Germany, Potsdam in eastern Germany, Szczecin, Poland, and Marseille, France. Particular interest is placed here on visual sources, looking into the significance of visual memory in connection with the authentication of built heritage.

The subproject on Nuremberg is conducted at IfZ, and will center on the urban public debates over the maintenance or reconstruction of the medieval built heritage, urban planning in the 1970s and 1980s, and the treatment of the former Nazi party rally grounds (Reichsparteitagsgelände). A particular focus will be placed on civil society groups and associations such as the Nuremberg Altstadtfreunde (“Friends of the Old Town”). Within the context of the national and international discourse on urban planning and the reconstruction of urban heritage, the project will historicize the political, social, and cultural context as well as local conditions regarding authenticity claims, delving into the question of how local built heritage is “authenticated” in public discourse, the media, and urban planning.

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