Die Umgestaltung der Straße als Re-Konfiguration urbaner Gefüge
In June 2018, the new mobility law was passed in Berlin. The first drafts emerged from citizen groups and after a successful campaign, initiatives such as the Radentscheid were able to draw attention to their demands, and thus their ideas were taken up by the then newly elected red-green government. According to them, a new principle of order as well as a new set of priorities for mobility ought to be established. However, the implementation of such a transformative endeavour is far more complex. Is it possible to understand (a) street as an infrastructure, that is to say, a singular event? For instance, a street not only serves to transport people and goods, but also plays an important ecological role in an urban ecosystem by influencing temperature rise, air quality, noise, and natural disasters. It should not be forgotten that roads are places of political activity and also formal and informal economic activity. Accordingly, the functions of streets can be reinterpreted, and a bench in the street or a section of concrete from a pedestrian walkway can also become a bed.
The focus of this dissertation lays therefore on the reconfiguration of streets – that is taking place as part of the so-called Verkehrswende. Hereby it is crucial to consider the street as a space that is co-created by a multiplicity of flows and obstacles for humans, other living creatures, and nonliving things. The central question raised here is: What (new) configurations and controversies are generated by the redesign of streets? Empirically, this research project will be based on a case study of citizen participation in street transformation works in Berlin.