In search of a city center

This publication is dedicated to the presentation of the project created within Viadrinicum Summer School “Transsectoral UrbanLab. Participatory Urbanism Beyond Metropoleis” and showed on August 31, 2019 at Brandenburgisches Landesmuseum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt (Oder).

Author: Elizaveta Sinizkaja

After spending almost 2 weeks in towns of Slubice and Frankfurt (Oder) I as an architecture student still could not understand where the city center is and how the towns of Słubice and Frankfurt (Oder) function together.

I decided to ask the locals. However, the conversation often went the following way: “Where do you think the city center is located?” – “I do not know” – “And we also do not know. That’s why we are we asking!” Locals found this question difficult to answer and named various places. So the idea of ​​my project was born.

The project was aimed to show the perception of the towns of Słubice and Frankfurt (Oder) by investigating differing groups of people: residents and newcomers/tourists. The goal of the project was to understand the main points of attraction in both towns for the respective target groups and to find out where people “see” a town center and why.

Location of the places chosen for the role of the city center by representatives of the investigated target groups
Plac Przyjaźni as the place with the role of the city center chosen by the majority of residents of Słubice
Territory around Rondo Solidarności as the place with the role of the city center chosen by the majority of newcomers and tourists in Słubice
Square around Town Hall (Marktplatz) as the place with the role of the city center chosen by the majority of the residents of Frankfurt (Oder)
Karl-Marx-Straße as the place with the role of the city center chosen by the majority of the newcomers and tourists in Frankfurt (Oder)

As part of the project, a survey was made with questions concerning the location of the town center and the perception of these two towns as one single town or two separate towns. Also people were interviewed about the existing problems and possible improvements in their respective towns.

The topic of the project is relevant at the moment, as this survey and conclusions made on its basis can help to develop both towns more effectively in the future – solving existing problems and meeting the needs of residents.

I believe this analysis helped to sort different opinions into a unified form. But also the space for the entry of new questions and deepening research remains open. Turning to the concept of the school – beloning, I noticed while conducting a survey that people who came to Slubice or Frankfurt (Oder) and lived there for more than a year formally become local, as they chose the same place for the city center as the local people. While for the newly arrived the city center was located in the other place.

Exhibition presentation

Many thanks to Viadrinum organizers Stefan Henkel and Kirill Repin. The whole school would not be possible without you. Also very special thanks to Bozek Sebastian and Anna Ganko for your help with the survey.

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