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New Book on the Good Sides of Destruction

Dec 20, 2013

“A Blessing in Disguise - War and Town Planning in Europe 1940 –1945” is the title of a new volume edited by Prof. Jörn Düwel and Cluster member Prof. Niels Gutschow. In eleven essays, the volume explores the ideology behind the plans for the post-war reconstruction of European cities.

The Second World War laid waste to many cities throughout Europe, but even as the battles were still raging, town planners mapped out their vision of new, post-war cityscapes. In most of the cities hit hardest by the air-raids, something akin to planning euphoria broke out. In all the countries of Europe, the devastation of the cities was even acclaimed as a liberating factor. In this volume, historians and architects from various cultures analyse the ideas and convictions on which post-war urban planning was modelled. To illustrate the points, a number of towns and cities in different countries are discussed with reference to the planning schemes proposed for them and other documents.

“A Blessing in Disguise - War and Town Planning in Europe 1940 –1945” – 416 pages was published by DOM publishers in 2013. The book was reviewed in several media outlets, most recently in the London Review of Books by Prof. Richard J Evans.

Prof. Niels Gutschow is honorary professor at Heidelberg University's Department of Indology and lives in Abtsteinach, Germany, and Bhaktapur, Nepal. At the Cluster, he coordinated the research project D4 "Aspects of Authenticity in Architectural Heritage Conservation". Prof. Jörn Düwel is a member of the Department of Architecture at the HafenCity University Hamburg


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