0232.1 Berlin Questions: Quarantine Economies ×

As part of "Metropolis: The New Now" — the 2021 edition of the annual conference series "Berlin Questions" — the discursive event "Quarantine Economies" took place at San Gimignano Lichtenberg. More than 60 international politicians, experts, and urban designers from 19 nations followed the invitation of the governing mayor of Berlin, to discuss the pressing matters of our time. The discussions were located at different places throughout the city, which exemplified and localized different topics, such as "Public Luxuries" at the Spreepark, "Disrupted Mobilities" at Tegel Airport, "Civil Responsibility" at the Haus der Statistik, "Ecology after Nature” at the Floating University and "Quarantine Economies" at San Gimignano Lichtenberg.

The latter was dedicated to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has shown us how swiftly local and global economies could shift. Complete industries thrived, have been disrupted or were completely restructured. The time of quarantine marked a moment of standstill: The urgency of the pandemic made fundamental and structural change inevitable. It proved the idea of Alternativlosigkeit wrong.

Human paradigms and cultural values are not given but inscribed in the social, economic, and legal frameworks that structure our everyday lives. How can we find and implement new policies for a common and better future for global metropolises? How can we mobilize the law to counter speculation, gentrification, social and spatial segregation, resource depletion, and technological escalation? How to harness policy as a spatial regulator, bearing in mind its powers and limitations? Read more

In the centre of friction between politics of reuse, zoning regulations and changing perceptions, the former GDR industrial site San Gimignano Lichtenberg stands amidst sites of circular economy and experimental purposes and points at emerging forms of the productive city. Indicative of a shift in values towards maintenance and transformation of the existing building stock, San Gimignano Lichtenberg is the perfect site to hold a conversation in the framework of the initiative “A Moratorium on New Construction.”

The initiative A Moratorium on New Construction argues that a drastic change to construction protocols is necessary, which requires the suspension of new building activities. Articulated around a series of roundtables and events, the idea is to gather economists, architects, planners, industry actors, policymakers and citizens around a table to address the role of the construction sector in generating ongoing and untenable ecological and social injustice and to seek ways to act.

The official publication of Berlin Questions (2021) was a collaborative issue of the street magazine Arts of the Working Class with 2038, the German Pavilion at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale. On the occasion of the conference and the rescheduled opening of the Biennale caused by the pandemic, the issue gathered statements from the future and the present on the transformation of our cities and the burning question: How will we live together?

Panel Guests: Manuel Ehlers, Saskia Hebert, Tobias Hönig, Andrijana Ivanda, Sabine Oberhuber, Deane Simpson, Ramona Pop

Moderation: Charlotte Malterre-Barthes, Angelika Hinterbrandner Read less

San Gimignano Lichtenberg
Tatjana Bergmeister, Olaf Grawert, Angelika Hinterbrandner
Manuel Ehlers, Ludwig Engel, Saskia Hebert, Tobias Hönig, Andrjana Ivanda, Charlotte Malterre-Barthes, Sabine Oberhuber, Deane Simpson

© Berlin Questions

© Kevin McElvaney

© Kevin McElvaney

© Kevin McElvaney

© Berlin Questions

Caroline Nevejan and Lesles Lokko at the Opening of Berlin Questions © Kevin McElvaney

Deep Dive at Floating University © Berlin Questions

© Berlin Questions

Charlotte Malterre-Barthes at the Opening of Berlin Questions  © Kevin McElvaney

Deep Dive at Haus der Statistik © Berlin Questions

Sabine Oberhuber at the Opening of Berlin Questions © Kevin McElvaney

Double Cover Arts of the Working Class: 2038 (left) and Berlin Questions (right) 

2038 x Arts of the Working Class with Berlin Questions © Vice Versa