Den socialistiske by efter genforeningen - et studie af byudviklingstendenser i Halle an der Saale

Mikkel Zwergius Christensen

Student thesis: Termpaper


This study deals with urban development in the East German town Halle an der Saale. Under the assumption that every mode of production yields a specific kind of town, the historical development of Halle is divided into four main periods - the mercantile city, the fordist city, the socialist city, and finally, the contemporary post-socialist transitional city. These categorical definitions are partly inspired by David Harvey's The Urban Experience. Focus is primarily paid to the two later categories and seeks explanations for the extensive physical and symbolic changes that are currently taking place in Halle and many other shrinking East German industrial cities. What separates the East German context from other western industrial cities is the political history of the region during the second half of the twentieth century. In this period, the region of Halle was an important site for the chemical industry of the GDR. This has affected developmental conditions in that the city grew according to socialist town planning principles. As growth became concentrated in new neighbourhoods, outside the boundaries of the pre-socialist city, this left the mercantile and the fordist environment more or less unaffected by State attempts to force the development of a socialist society and raise socialist awareness through, for example, urban design. With Henri Lefebvre’s triadic model of 'the production of space' as a departure point, the relationship issued by Harvey between 'mode of production' and 'nature of the city' is being further investigated. This triad, consisting of the concepts of spatial practice, representations of space and representational spaces, is being used to explain how changes in society, economy and the State affect Halle being conceived of as a social space that cannot be reduced to mental or physical attributes. The most important societal changes have been the introduction of democracy, a market economy and the expansion of free speech. These changes have resulted in wider conceptualizations about the city, and have likewise introduced town planning principles which strive to meet the requirements of inhabitants, housing associations, commercial operations, and the State. It’s not possible to satisfy all interested parties while remaining relatively competitive with regards to interurban rivalries for redistribution, command functions, the spatial division of consumption and the spatial division of labor. This partly explains why Halle has made certain city planning decisions which contradict popular public opinion, such as civil aspirations to keep buildings and monuments as memorials despite their connotations of dictatorship and oppression in the political context of a once-divided Germany. Another explanation for Halle's demolition of socialist housing.

EducationsHistory, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Undergraduate or graduateGeography, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Undergraduate or graduate
Publication date1 Jun 2007
Supervisors[No Value] Bryld, Claus Skriver & [No Value] Peter


  • DDR, Byplanlægning, den tyske genforening, den socialistiske by, Plattenbau, bykonkurrence