Caring for Place

Alpermann, H.

Caring for Place in Times of Uncertainty. Residential Use for Halle-Neustadt’s district center?


At home: the domestic city in times of crisis
The 18th Swiss Geoscience Meeting
Swiss Academy of Sciences
Zürich, Switzerland (online)

Residential use was a central feature in socialist city centers (Dellenbaugh-Losse, 2020, p. 104). Thus, the high-rises Hochhausscheiben A-E in the district center of East German Halle-Neustadt were not only intended to provide a vertical frame to the otherwise rather flat functional buildings and facilities, but also to create a concentration by combining living and working (Bach, 1993:29-30). The buildings that served as dormitories for i.a. single workers of the local chemical industries and students, ‘lost their function’ after pricatization during the 1990s and four out of five buildings remained empty for more than 20 years by 2020. Drawing on the example of the Hochhausscheiben A-E, this paper traces controversies around renewed residential use as a possible future for the high-rises. It shows how questions of care became predominant in urban planning in Halle (Saale) after 1990 and how the challenging questions of “resposibility in what spaces, places, times and for which people?” (Metzger, 2014, p. 1007) have been enacted. The paper argues for Halle-Neustadt that (not) caring for the non-human is inseparable form the (not) caring for the human and shows how ethico-policital questions persist and are omnipresent thinking building futures through the notion of care.