Warsaw: Devastation, Modernization, (Re-)privatization, dérive - Zeitschrift für Stadtforschung, Heft 72 (3/2018)

Warsaw is a city that has experienced radical breaks in its development over the last century, which are still relevant and visible in many different ways today. There is the Nazi occupation, the crushing of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the subsequent systematic and almost complete destruction of the city; and more recently, the shift from a state-socialist to capitalist system. The new issue of dérive, entitled »Warsaw: Devastation, Modernization, (Re-)privatization«, sheds light both on these historical components and their impact on contemporary urban society – e.g. on the housing market. In addition, we talk to people who are self-organizing and working on alternative solutions that resist current socio-political conditions. The focal point is entirely in English. You can order it here: https://shop.derive.at/collections/einzelpublikationen/products/heft-72

Warsaw is a city that has experienced radical breaks in its development over the last century, which are still relevant and visible in many different ways today. There is the Nazi occupation, the crushing of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the subsequent systematic and almost complete destruction of the city; and more recently, the shift from a state-socialist to capitalist system. The new issue of dérive, entitled »Warsaw: Devastation, Modernization, (Re-)privatization«, sheds light both on these historical components and their impact on contemporary urban society – e.g. on the housing market. In addition, we talk to people who are self-organizing and working on alternative solutions that resist current socio-political conditions. The focal point is entirely in English. You can order it here: https://shop.derive.at/collections/einzelpublikationen/products/heft-72


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Juli — Sept 2018

N o 72

Zeitschrift für Stadtforschung




Devastation, Modernization, (Re-)privatization

ISSN 1608-8131

8 euro



This special issue on Warsaw is the 72nd edition of dérive and

the first with an editorial in English for 18 years (the German

version is available on our website, derive.at). In addition to the

editorial, all contributions to the focal point are in English.

However, this does not mean that dérive will be available only in

English in the future. The choice of language is due to the issue

being produced in cooperation with the organizers of this year’s

INURA conference in Warsaw, where the magazine will also

be the conference reader. INURA (International Network for

Urban Research and Action) is a network of international urban

researchers and activists of which dérive has been a member

for many years. Every year a conference takes place in a different

city and is conceptualized and organized by the local INURA

members. I would like to thank Kacper Pobłocki in particular

for the great cooperation on the editorial work for this Warsaw

issue. Kacper is not only responsible for the editorial concept,

but was also – despite the time-consuming preparation for the

conference – involved in the production of the issue from the

initial idea to printing.

Warsaw is a city that has experienced radical breaks in

its development over the last century, which are still relevant and

visible in many different ways today: the Nazi occupation, the

crushing of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the subsequent

systematic and almost complete destruction of the city can

hardly be surpassed in terms of cruel contempt for humanity.

Several articles in the focal point refer to these events and their

consequences, most directly a text by Bolesław Bierut from

1955, which Irena Maryniak has translated – along with others

– from Polish to English for this edition of dérive.

The second major break in Warsaw’s recent urban history

saw the shift from a state-socialist to capitalist system.

Thereafter, the significance of property grew enormously and

profit-oriented thinking made a decisive breakthrough, having a

fatal effect on today’s housing market. This makes the ownership

of many houses and properties a hotly contested topic,

especially in connection with the (re-)privatization of property

originally stolen by the Nazis. Of course, most of the buildings

affected were destroyed at the end of World War II and, in many

cases, the property claims pursued today have nothing to do

with the original owners or their descendants. There are cases,

for example, where the companies that had real estate confiscated

by the National Socialists are revived simply in order to

construct a claim for compensation. In the recent past, this topic

has caused a stir in the media in Warsaw. Łukasz Drozda analyses

the associated debate as played out in current publications.

In an interview, activists of the Warsaw Tenants Association

(WSL) report on the everyday and concrete effects of conflicts

concerning the Warsaw housing market, which have repeatedly

turned violent.

In addition to the 1955 text by Bolesław Bierut, we have two

further manifesto-like texts from other periods. The architects

and urban planners Jan Chmielewski and Szymon Syrkus published

Warsaw as a Functional City in 1934. Meanwhile, in

2006, Bohdan Jałowiecki considered whether Warsaw is in danger

of becoming a Third World city. Taken together, the three

texts provide a range of reflections about the fate of Warsaw

and its development through time, thus documenting various

historical perspectives.

Three interviews with urban activists complement these

texts. In addition to the conversation with the WSL housing

activists, dérive spoke to representatives of the Open Jazdów Initiative,

an organization that is determined to save a very central

park-like site, and the activities that have developed there, from

valorisation. The third interview is about the highly active urban

grassroots movement that has established itself in Polish cities.

Chaos is a term widely used in discussions about the status

of Warsaw. Joanna Kusiak focuses in her article on what the

word chaos describes, how it is used, by whom and what it is

meant to obfuscate. She traces an arc from Hegel to Harvey,

from everyday experiences in Warsaw to the unbuilt Museum of

Modern Art, and from a heterogeneous cityscape to neoliberal

shock therapy.

Kacper Pobłocki has not only written an introduction to

the focal point. In his contribution Salon: Domestication of

Warsaw’s Public Space, Pobłocki writes about the relationship of

the capital to the rest of the country, about the dominant role of

the gentry in urban (class) society and how they have inscribed

themselves on Warsaw’s buildings (amounting to a literal

gentryfication) and, to conclude, about the function and use of

public and private space between salon and socialization.

Finally, a look at the 9th urbanize! festival which will be hosted

in two cities for the second time, combining theory, best practice

and hands on workshops. urbanize! takes place in Berlin from 5

to 14 October and is organized collectively by a broad alliance of

Berlin’s urban movements and housing initiatives in cooperation

with dérive. In Vienna urbanize! will take place from 24 to 28

October at Nordbahnhalle, taking a close look at the scale of the

neighborhood and its potential for citizens empowerment.

Program details will be available from August on www.urbanize.at.

You are welcome to join! Save the date(s)!

Our crowdlending campaign is still running for the

Viennese Habitat/Mietshäusersyndikat house project Bikes and

Rails, where dérive is also involved. We recently surpassed the

200,000 euro mark, which is a great success. But don’t worry,

we need another 1.3 million euro. So you still have the opportunity

to participate. Information is available at bikesandrails.org.

Christoph Laimer


Inhalt / Content




Schwerpunkt / Focal Point


WARSAW – A Taciturn City



WILD reprivatization

Property restitution in post-communist Warsaw



It All Started with RAGE and ANGER




SALON – Domestication of Warsaw’s Public Space



Creating spaces for free thought

and FREE activities

All about a once long-forgotten site

in central Warsaw




The Cunning of CHAOS and Its ORDERS

A Taxonomy of Urban Chaos in Post-Socialist

Warsaw and Beyond


Kunstinsert / Artistic Insert


Joanna Rajkowska

Trees and Stumps


Urban grassroots movements in POLAND




Manifesto 1 (1934):





MANIFESTO 2 (1955):

CARE for the HUMAN person



Manifesto 3 (2006):

Is WARSAW becoming a city of the THIRD World?


Besprechungen / Reviews


Otto Wagner – zweimal zum Gedenken S.55

Architektur in der Grauzone S.57

Die Rückeroberung der Stadt –

S. 58

aber wo ist der politische Kampf?

S. 59

Alle, die hier sind, sind von hier



dérive – Radio für Stadtforschung

Jeden 1. Dienstag im Monat von

17.30 bis 18 Uhr in Wien auf ORANGE 94.0

oder als Webstream http://o94.at/live.

Sendungsarchiv: http://cba.fro.at/series/1235




A Taciturn City

Self-identity, historical trauma,

Warsaw Uprising, geographical location, INURA conference,

flâneur, urban research

Alej Jerozolimskich (Jerusalem Street)

Photo — Jan Gebert

There are two types of cities. Some are talkative – they churn

out one story after another. Denizens in New York City, Paris,

Beirut or Tokyo, when asked about the city they live in, will

openly and gladly tell you what makes their city special. Such

narratives usually add up to a coherent picture of local urban

identity. Warsaw belongs to the other group – that of taciturn

cities. It does not have a predefined identity, and when asked

about their city, Warsavians’ knee-jerk reaction is either to ask

the outsider for their view or to change the subject.

When it does speak up, Warsaw communicates through

its walls. Coming from western Poland, when I first moved to

Warsaw, I was shocked by the number of plaques commemorating

national figures or acts of violence committed during World

War II. The city’s veneer is coated with records of historical

trauma. In this sense Warsaw is the very capital of what Timothy

Snyder dubbed »bloodlands« – a vast territory »between

Hitler and Stalin« that saw the murder of some 14 million people

between 1933 and 1945. Reduced to ashes in 1944,

Warsaw is one of the rare cases of a city that really started anew.

But everybody remembers 1 August, when year after year in

what is perhaps the most Varsovian of acts, the whole city stops

for a minute to commemorate the 200,000 victims of the

Warsaw Uprising.

And then there is the urban fabric, which makes Warsaw

so unusual that it does not resemble a proper city. It has no

centre, or is in fact multicentric, with each small-scale centre

being slightly off-centre. Back in the early 2000s, Warsaw

was colloquially referred to as a concrete camping site. Krakow

or Wrocław – centres with a more continuous urban history and

with more charm –were considered proper cities. No wonder


dérive N o 72 — WARSAW. Devastation, Modernization, (Re-)privatization

one of the most famous music bands from Warsaw is the

Warsaw Village Band. Yet, there is an order behind what seems

like a random patchwork. In her essay reprinted in this issue

of dérive, Joanna Kusiak shows how Warsaw’s urban fabric –

elusive and nonintuitive at first glance – represents a palimpsest

of many attempts to break with history. In this sense, Warsaw

is a city that continuously starts anew.

Warsaw is a city that continuously starts anew

While the sense of looming history is indisputable and

visible in the omnipresent fingerprints of the past, the city’s chaotic

geography has become the fulcrum of possibility and

change. As a consequence, one of the most quintessentially Warsavian

debates has been on Warsaw’s actual geographical location.

The three essays we reprint here as Retroactive Manifestos

attest to the eerie sense of ambiguity as to where Warsaw actually

is. In their Warszawa Funkcjonalna research manifesto from

1934, Szymon Syrkus and Jan Chmielewski start their analysis

from a bird’s-eye perspective, looking at the larger international

flows and networks in which Warsaw is enmeshed. Their text

comprises a number of consecutive analytical steps, which are

also visually represented in the corresponding maps. We reprint

only the first eight of those steps, but the final outcome – the

Warszawa Funkcjonalna diagram – is the cartographic theory of

what constitutes, to borrow David Harvey’s phrase, the »structured

urban coherence« of Warsaw.

Just ten years after Warszawa Funkcjonalna was published,

Warsaw was destroyed and a new city erected in its place.

Yet a comparison of a map of contemporary Warsaw with the

Warszawa Funkcjonalna diagram shows that the city actually did

grow according to the logic Syrkus and Chmielewski had predicted.

The most traumatic of events – the Warsaw Uprising and

the Nazis’ destruction of the city – did little in the way of altering

Warsaw’s innate trajectory. The other two manifestos –

excerpts from the 1951 book entitled The Six-year Plan for

Warsaw’s Reconstruction and an essay by Bohdan Jałowiecki –

also pose the geographical question. Jałowiecki, in a gesture

that generated a heated debate back in 2006, argues that Warsaw

is not becoming a dead ringer for a Western city but instead

belongs to the family of cities from the Global South. These

texts are separated by long decades and each is dedicated to a

very different Warsaw. But if there is anything they have in

common, then it is the sense of Warsaw being somehow out of

step in terms of its geography, its actual location in the world

at large.

This geographical ambiguity is a source of discontents

for inhabitants (and perhaps the reason why Warsaw does not

have a clear-cut identity) but represents a great opportunity for

urban researchers. This is why the current issue of dérive coincides

with the 28th annual conference of the International Network

for Urban Research and Action (INURA). The conference

will be a week-long encounter between international and local

urban scholars and activists, who will – together – try to think

about Warsaw’ structured coherence and answer the question of

what makes it unique as a city.

Because of Warsaw’s reluctance to embrace an explicit

urban self-identity, it has often been spoken about as a site

where other, non-urban, processes unfold – such as a putative

transition from state socialism to market capitalism. But what

does labelling Warsaw a post-socialist city actually mean?

Instead of defining Warsaw according to what it no longer is (a

socialist city) or what, in theory, it is supposed to become (a

poster child for market capitalism), we will delve into places and

processes that define Warsaw’s contemporary mien. To this end,

we will employ INURA’s unique conference format – talking

about cities in the actual urban space and not inspecting Powerpoint

slides in air-conditioned rooms.

We will therefore study Warsaw from the bottom up and

treat it as a theoretical clean slate. Thus, we will forget about

jumbo theories and turn to elements of everyday life in Warsaw:

housing, transit, labour, consumption, migration, its natures and

its non-human denizens. It may turn out that, for example, the

annus mirabilis of 1989 does not constitute a watershed in

Warsaw’s trajectory after all. Instead, longer continuities may be

at work, and more recent forces may have shaken the city to its

core. On the one hand, Warszawa Funkcjonalna turned out to

have been uncannily precise in defining the pattern of Warsaw’s

spatial expansion, despite the dramatic intrusions that the city

experienced. Conversely, Poland’s 2004 accession to the European

Union ushered in flows of capital that engendered entirely

new spaces as well as redefining some extant ones, substantially

unsettling the city and altering its position in various networks

(global, national). It may be the case that Warsaw is positioned

in an entirely different place.

We hope our peripatetic intellectual experiment and the

encounter between local and international researchers will reinvigorate

urban theory. Walking and thinking have always b

een intertwined. Beginning with ancient philosophers, through

Rousseau and Kierkegaard and from modernist flâneurs to

urban ethnographers, many theories have originated from a surprise

peripatetic discovery or a chance encounter. Recently,

there has been plenty of jumbo-sized theorising about the

urbanization of our planet, and we have a plethora of microstudies

either describing certain places or dissecting specific

urban issues. With a few exceptions (such as Filip de Boeck’s

work on Kinshasa and Hidenobu Jinnai’s work on Tokyo),

we are in dire need of research that shows how various fragments

are, as de Boeck put it, sutured together. When Jinnai set off to

walk the streets of Tokyo in the 1980s, he probably did not

expect his peregrinations to allow him to discover a planning

paradigm that had never been formally expressed but in fact

explains precisely how his city came about and how it works.

The point of departure for Jinnai’s discovery was walking.

By the same token, a novel theory that stitches contemporary

Warsaw together into a coherent whole may be just

around the corner. We need only make our way there.

Kacper Pobłocki is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and

Urban Studies at the Warsaw University. He writes about

class, space and uneven development. He used to be an urban

activist and led the Alliance of Urban

Movements that ran in 2014 in municipal elections in eleven

Polish cities. In 2017 his book Kapitalizm

historia krotkiego trwania (Spatial origins of capitalism

the English edition forthcoming) came out.

Kacper Poblocki — WARSAW. A Taciturn City





Property restitution in post-communist Warsaw

Reprivatization, corruption, housing market,

reconstruction, property restitution, claim dealers,

tenant movement

Tenants activist Jolanta Brzeska;

»She died fighting for the right to live. The fight continues.«

Photo — Mateusz Opasiński

The phenomenon of wild reprivatization seems to pose one of the most

serious challenges to urban policy in Poland. It affects thousands of

properties and has become the subject of several books published in Poland

since 2016. The majority of these publications focus on Warsaw.


dérive N o 72 — WARSAW. Devastation, Modernization, (Re-)privatization


It ALL Started

with RAGE and


Housing, tenancy law, protest,


eviction, privatization, tenants association, squat,


Protest in front of the house of a tenant, who got kicked out of his flat

and beaten: »struck by the invisible hand of the market.«


The interview was conducted

in 2017, some current

information has been added

in square brackets by the


Syrena is an autonomous collective that is a headquarters for the Warsaw

Tenants Association which focuses on housing struggles and tenants’ rights.

Syrena is based in a reclaimed tenement building in Warsaw. The space functions

as a place for non-commercial activities and support for local initiatives

and inhabitants. The building is a typical case in the history of reprivatization

– the procedure of transferring community-owned houses to so-called investors.

It was a squat in March 2011, now it is inhabited by about 35 people

and hosts several other organizations like the Warsaw Revolutionary Theatre,

immigrant support and antifascist groups, a bike workshop, an anarchist

library as well as the coffeehouse Café Kryzys. Lisa Puchner of dérive talked 1

with activists from Syrena and Café Kryzys about their stories and the situation

of tenants in Warsaw.

Interview — It All Started with RAGE and ANGER





of Warsaw’s Public Space

St. Alexander Church, Plac Trzech Krzyży Square.

Source: Warszawa stolica Polski, Społeczny Fundusz Odbudowy Stolicy, wyd. II,

Warsaw 1949, p.36

Capital, elite, gentrification,

bourgeoisie, working class, Old Town, Warsaw,

street life, salon,

reconstruction, urbanization, socialization

St. Alexander Church, Plac Trzech Krzyży Square, 2015;

Photo — Bartosz Górka, Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art


dérive N o 72 — WARSAW. Devastation, Modernization, (Re-)privatization


Creating spaces

for free thought

and FREE activities

All about a once long-forgotten site in central Warsaw

Public Space, autonomy, sustainability,

cooperation, housing,

accessibility, privatization, valorization

Photo — Adrian Grycuk

Jazdów is a site to the south of Warsaw’s city centre where the initiative

Open Jazdów offers a social, cultural and ecological public programme. It is

well known for the small wooden houses (Finnish houses) erected there after

World War II. For decades the area was all but forgotten by the city council,

until about six years ago when it took the decision to dismantle the houses

and destroy the surrounding gardens. Today the houses are still there. Lisa

Puchner from dérive spoke to Andrzej Górz, who lives at the site, and Wojtek

Matejko, who works there, about the history of the place, the threat of

demolition and plans to rescue Jazdów and the Finnish houses and develop a

non-commercial and autonomous space for the people of Warsaw.


dérive N o 72 — WARSAW. Devastation, Modernization, (Re-)privatization


The Cunning


and Its ORDERS

A Taxonomy of Urban Chaos in Post-Socialist Warsaw and Beyond

Chaos, order, Warsaw, neoliberalism,

shock therapy, modernization, improvisation, DIY urbanism,

Global South, post-socialism,

everyday life, privatization, property

The collage Warsaw ready for Euro 2012 created by a local artist after the decision

to build a temporary McDonald’s on the lot originally designated for the Museum of Modern Art;

Collage: Robert Danieluk

Chaos is found in greatest abundance wherever order is being sought.

It always defeats order, because it is better organized.

Terry Pratchett, Interesting Times


dérive N o 72 — WARSAW. Devastation, Modernization, (Re-)privatization

Kunstinsert / Artistic Insert

Joanna Rajkowska

Trees and Stumps

Joanna Rajkowska works in and with the public space, which she perceives as a highly political

place where different forms of life meet. In 2002 she realized her most famous project in Warsaw

– Greetings from Jerusalem Avenue. On her own initiative and inspired by a trip to Israel, she set

up the 15-metre-high artificial palm tree on one of the city’s main roads, the Alej Jerozolimskich.

It still stands there as an exotic foreign body that has become a point of identification and

orientation in the city. Rajkowska selected two photos for dérive showing how the tree is cared for

(again and again, the tree has to be provided with new bark), and related these to a current work

of hers that constitutes a monument to the deforestation of Polish primeval forests. She writes

about the photos:

1) This is the date palm tree bark that we use to cover the trunk of the artificial palm tree in

Warsaw (Greetings from Jerusalem Avenue, 2002), the brightest and most joyful project of all my

public works. It refers to the multicultural city that Warsaw once was, to its unbelievable vibe

and energy.

The bark is very expensive and we usually buy it in the United States. So we try to keep

some of it spare and even recycle it sometimes. In 2014 we decided to spread the new bark on the

roof of one of the buildings of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, allowing it to weather

and better match the old bark. It was damn cold on that day but I really wanted to capture the wild

look of it against the Warsaw cityscape. It was magic but my fingers got completely frozen and I

only regained the feeling in the tips of my fingers months later.

2) This is the trunk of the palm tree itself, under reconstruction. It is important to keep it looking

alive. Apparently it is an important point of reference for many visitors, newcomers and refugees

in Warsaw. They say it makes them feel at home. The palm tree is 15 meters high (including the

crown), so we need scaffolding to do anything. Years ago, when the weather was good, we would

usually have a couple of bottles of beer in secret, right under the palm tree leaves, high up. It was

great and I remember the sensation of having real power over Jerusalem Avenue down below.

Now, the regulations are so strict that we can’t do this any more. :(

3) Times are very different now in comparison to 2002, when Greetings from Jerusalem Avenue

came to life. This project (I shall not enter into your heaven, 2017) is a cry of desperation. It

points to an uprooting, a cutting off, or a wrenching. I created a wall of 22 tree roots stacked in

six columns. Not only is the right-wing government logging the ancient primeval forests in Poland,

but we, as humans and citizens, are also going through a period of extensive uprooting. It is

such a paradox that the more they are trying to root society in the national soil, the more uprooted

I feel. It is reckless and painful.

Joanna Rajkowski’s exhibition Suiciders at the TRAFO Centre for Contemporary Art in Szczeczin

(http://trafo.art) has just come to an end and is to be followed by a solo exhibition at l’étrangère in

London in September and the Qalandiya International Biennale in Ramallah from 3 October 2018.


Andreas Fogarasi

Joanna Rajkowska — Kunstinsert



Urban grassroots



Activists from Ruchy Miejskie dla Warszawy (Urban Movement Coalition in Warsaw).

Together they will run for this year’s local elections in Warsaw.

In Polish cities fundamental problems have been growing for years, hindering

their development and lowering the quality of life for inhabitants. That’s one

of the reasons why Poland now has a strong urban social movement, and has

had for several years. In numerous cities, groups that refer to the right to the

city idea or have a municipal orientation are active and quite a few are also

represented in local parliaments. To deepen cooperation between these

grassroots initiatives, the Kongres Ruchów Miejskich (Congress of Urban

Movements) was established in 2011. Several initiatives based on the interaction

of various urban movements at the national level have already emerged.

In 2013 Miasto Jest Nasze (The City is Ours) was founded in Warsaw and,

in 2014, the party had already fielded candidates in the local elections. Tymon

Radwański is an activist for Miasto Jest Nasze and one of the organizers of

the forthcoming Fearless Cities Conference in Warsaw. Christoph Laimer from

dérive asked him a few questions about the urban social movement in Poland

and especially in Warsaw.


dérive N o 72 — WARSAW. Devastation, Modernization, (Re-)privatization


Warsaw as a



Urbanization, traffic, waterways, topography,

transcontinental route, communication, transport,

network, planning, architects

Architects design buildings – which is to say that they compose the shape of

the future. The discipline we have studied, the engineering skills and practical

experience we have gained all demand to be perfected, but negative trends

in the economy are having a significant effect on our profession. The potential

productiveness of architects is not being exploited enough. Even those of

us who are working to full capacity feel that the work we do is not fully satisfying.

We face restrictions imposed on the building industry and technical

constraints; our professional skills are being wasted. And all this is happening

at a time when the need for construction is so strikingly apparent and the

mass of the population is being adversely affected […] The reason for the

constrictions imposed on our profession lies beyond the limits of our activities

as architects: it is rooted in a failure to bring order to the forces that underlie

the economy and society, and in the inappropriate way that goods are distributed

once they have been produced […] Architects will find their place in

the production process, as professionals, once the overall shape of production

has been put in order. Only then will they be in a position to design

cities, regions and indeed countries, while remaining fully aware of the ultimate

end in sight. […]


dérive N o 72 — WARSAW. Devastation, Modernization, (Re-)privatization


CARE for the

HUMAN person

population growth, Nazi occupation,

warcrime, socialist architecture, social infrastructure


dérive N o 72 — WARSAW. Devastation, Modernization, (Re-)privatization



becoming a city

of the THIRD World?

Heritage, capital, housing, investor,

public space, creative city, public transport, mobility,

gated communities, star architecture,

social infrastructure

»The city is being developed by foreign investors in line with

their interests: it is a steered, dependent form of urban expansion.«

Photo — Wistula.

A city reflects its residents. It also shares their fortunes. The present state of

Poland’s capital, Warsaw, arises from the situation in the country as a whole.

It mirrors a large but relatively undeveloped country on the periphery of

Europe. Conditions in Poland have come to mean that Warsaw currently fails

to match the most important metropolitan centres of the continent. Equally,

however, a large influx of foreign investment and the arrival of subsidiaries of

international corporations have helped launch the process of re-developing a

city that was destroyed by war and then badly reconstructed according to

socialist realist architectural models. A meeting of old and new lies behind the

contrasts and imbalances in the city. Similar phenomena may be noted in

countries of the Developing World. But are these contrasts diminishing, remaining

stable or increasing? The following article attempts to offer an answer to

this question.

Bohdan Jal / owiecki — Is WARSAW becoming a city of the THIRD World?



Otto Wagner – zweimal

zum Gedenken

Peter Leeb

Der 100. Todestag Otto Wagners ist Anlass

von Ausstellungen und Veranstaltungen, um

den großen Architekten aus dem Hintergrund

des Wiener Alltags in den Vordergrund

der Reflexion zu bringen. Mehr als

ein halbes Jahrhundert ist es bereits her, als

das Werk, im damals noch als Historisches

Museum der Stadt Wien bezeichneten Haus

am Karlsplatz, zum ersten Mal überhaupt

vertieft gezeigt worden ist. Seit damals

rückte der (Wiener) Vater der Moderne vermehrt

ins architektonische, aber auch ins

touristische Bewusstsein. Hier sollen zwei

Ausstellungen besprochen werden, eine im

Wien Museum und eine im Museum für angewandte


Die aktuelle, unter dem schlichten Titel

Otto Wagner, im Wien Museum von

Andreas Nierhaus und Eva-Maria Orocz

zusammengestellte Schau ist die bisher

größte zum Gesamtwerk und gliedert dieses

in chronologischer Ordnung. Im gesamten

Obergeschoß des Hauses werden unzählige

Zeichnungen und Modelle aber

auch Möbel sowie persönliche Gegenstände

– die Sammlung von Fotografien und

Visitenkarten bekannter und berühmter ZeitgenossInnen

lassen hier eine vergangene

Welt wiedererstehen – in 12 Stationen dem

Publikum vorgestellt. Die atemberaubende

Qualität der Zeichnungen, die durch die unermüdlichen

MitarbeiterInnen Otto Wagners

entstanden sind, überzeugt auch uns noch

durch deren Klarheit und Schönheit. Die

Blätter waren natürlich nicht Selbstzweck,

sondern gezielt eingesetzte Mittel zur

Durchsetzung von Projekten, ob als Wettbewerbsbeitrag

bzw. mit oder ohne spezifischem

Auftrag. So zeigt sich Wagner als

früher Meister der Öffentlichkeitsarbeit. Für

uns ist es aufschlussreich, im Fall gebauter

Wirklichkeit, das Verhältnis zwischen Projektion

und Realisierung zu erkunden, ein Thema

mit durchaus aktuellem Bezug. Es entbehrt

nicht einer gewissen Ironie, dass die

Idealentwurf des 22. Bezirks für die Studie »Die Grossstadt«, 1911,

Otto Wagner, (c) Wien Museum

Ausstellung genau an dem Ort stattfindet,

für den Wagner ein neues Stadtmuseum als

städtebauliche Rahmung des Karlsplatzes

vorgesehen hatte und der derzeit auf seine

Erweiterung in Form eines Aufbaus auf den

Bestand wartet. Wagners überragende

Könnerschaft wurde allerdings durch eine

Bauaufgabe befördert, die in Art und Umfang

ohne Beispiel war, nämlich der Gestaltung

sämtlicher Bauten der neuen Wiener

Stadtbahn. Seit dem Wettbewerbserfolg für

den Wiener Generalregulierungsplan 1892

war Wagners strategisch-moderner Zugang

zu den Problemen der rasant wachsenden

Großstadt bekannt. Ein Zugang, der bewusst

im Gegensatz zu den romantischen

Vorstellungen seines Zeitgenossen Camillo

Sitte stand. Obwohl für Wagner die brachiale

Methodik eines Baron Haussmann in

Paris nicht in Frage kam – er versuchte Bestehendes

weitgehend in seine Planung zu

integrieren – stellt die bewusst gewählte

horizontale Trassierung der Stadtbahn gegenüber

der Wiener Hügellandschaft einen

topografisch radikalen Schritt dar. Die Bogen-

und Stationsbauwerke gelangen auf

diese Weise zu deren unverwechselbaren

lokalen Eigenart. Wagners Meisterschaft

wird aber auch beim eigentlichen Benützen

der Bauwerke deutlich: gibt es denn bequemere

Stufen oder angenehmere Geländer

und Handläufe? Die überaus klar organisierten

Stationen, ob nun als Torbauten

über Niveau geführter Geleise oder als Pavillons

einer unterirdischen Trassenführung,

werden bis zum heutigen Tag vom Publikum

einmütig geschätzt wie kein anderes Infrastrukturprojekt

der Stadt, die Donauinsel

einmal ausgenommen. Sind auch einige

Stationsbahnhöfe und beinahe auch eine

ganze Brücke fortschrittsgläubiger Erneuerungsbestrebungen

zum Opfer gefallen –

der Kampf um genau jene markiert ein Umdenken

in der hiesigen geschichtlichen

Architekturrezeption. So ließ sich die Stadtbahn

in das heutige U-Bahnnetz der Stadt

integrieren und ist derart im Nachhinein zu

einem herausragenden Beispiel zukunftsweisender

Gestaltung geworden, das bei jeder

gegenwärtigen Planung ernst genommen

anstatt als selbstverständlich vorausgesetzt

werden sollte.

In der Ausstellung wird immer wieder die

Modernität Otto Wagners betont. Was

aber bedeutet diese? Wagner erkannte,

dass der Historismus keine adäquaten Antworten

auf die Fragen dynamischer Industrialisierung

und den sich daraus ergebenden

Veränderungen des Lebens bieten

kann. Sein Vorschlag eines Nutzstils, der




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dérive Nr. 1 (01/2000)

Schwerpunkte: Gürtelsanierung: Sicherheitsdiskurs,

Konzept – und Umsetzungskritik, Transparenzbegriff;

Institutionalisierter Rassismus am Beispiel der

»Operation Spring«

dérive Nr. 2 (02/2000)

Schwerpunkte: Wohnsituation von MigrantInnen und

Kritik des Integrationsbegriffes; Reclaim the Streets/

Politik und Straße

dérive Nr. 3 (01/2001) (vergriffen)

Schwerpunkt: Spektaktelgesellschaft

dérive Nr. 4 (02/2001)

Schwerpunkte: Gentrifi cation, Stadtökologie

dérive Nr. 5 (03/2001)

Sampler: Salzburger Speckgürtel, Museumsquartier,

räumen und gendern, Kulturwissenschaften und

Stadtforschung, Virtual Landscapes, Petrzalka,

Juden/Jüdinnen in Bratislava

dérive Nr. 6 (04/2001)

Schwerpunkt: Argument Kultur

dérive Nr. 7 (01/2002)

Sampler: Ökonomie der Aufmerksamkeit,

Plattenbauten, Feministische Stadtplanung,

Manchester, Augarten/Hakoah

dérive Nr. 8 (02/2002)

Sampler: Trznica Arizona, Dresden, Ottakring,

Tokio, Antwerpen, Graffi ti

dérive Nr. 9 (03/2002)

Schwerpunkt in Kooperation mit dem

Tanzquartier Wien: Wien umgehen

dérive Nr. 10 (04/2002) (vergriffen)

Schwerpunkt: Produkt Wohnen

dérive Nr. 11 (01/2003)

Schwerpunkt: Adressierung

dérive Nr. 12 (02/2003)

Schwerpunkt: Angst

dérive Nr. 13 (03/2003)

Sampler: Nikepark, Mumbai,

Radfahren, Belfast

dérive Nr. 14 (04/2003) (vergriffen)

Schwerpunkt: Temporäre Nutzungen

dérive Nr. 15 (01/2004)

Schwerpunkt: Frauenöffentlichkeiten

dérive Nr. 16 (02/2004)

Sampler: Frankfurt am Arsch, Ghetto Realness,

Hier entsteht, (Un)Sicherheit, Reverse Imagineering,

Ein Ort des Gegen

dérive Nr. 17 (03/2004)

Schwerpunkt: Stadterneuerung

dérive Nr. 18 (01/2005)

Sampler: Elektronische Stadt, Erdgeschoßzonen,

Kathmandu, Architektur in Bratislava

dérive Nr. 19 (02/2005)

Schwerpunkt: Wiederaufbau des Wiederaufbaus

dérive Nr. 20 (03/2005)

Schwerpunkt: Candidates and Hosts

dérive Nr. 21/22 (01-02/2006)

Schwerpunkt: Urbane Räume – öffentliche Kunst

dérive Nr. 23 (03/2006) (vergriffen)

Schwerpunkt: Visuelle Identität

dérive Nr. 24 (04/2006)

Schwerpunkt: Sicherheit: Ideologie und Ware

dérive Nr. 25 (05/2006) (vergriffen)

Schwerpunkt: Stadt mobil

dérive Nr. 26 (01/2007)

Sampler: Stadtaußenpolitik, Sofi a, Frank Lloyd Wright,

Banlieus, Kreative Milieus, Refl exionen der

phantastischen Stadt, Spatial Practices as a Blueprint

for Human Rights Violations

dérive Nr. 27 (02/2007)

Schwerpunkt: Stadt hören

dérive Nr. 28 (03/2007)

Sampler: Total Living Industry Tokyo, Neoliberale

Technokratie und Stadtpolitik, Planung in der

Stadtlandschaft, Entzivilisierung und Dämonisierung,

Stadt-Beschreibung, Die Unversöhnten

dérive Nr. 29 (04/2007)

Schwerpunkt: Transformation der Produktion

dérive Nr. 30 (01/2008) (vergriffen)

Schwerpunkt: Cinematic Cities – Stadt im Film

dérive Nr. 31 (02/2008) (vergriffen)

Schwerpunkt: Gouvernementalität

dérive Nr. 32 (03/2008)

Schwerpunkt: Die Stadt als Stadion

dérive Nr. 33 (04/2008)

Sampler: Quito, Identität und Kultur des Neuen

Kapitalismus, Pavillonprojekte, Hochschullehre,

Altern, Pliensauvorstadt, Istanbul, privater Städtebau,

Keller, James Ballard

dérive Nr. 34 (01/2009)

Schwerpunkt: Arbeit Leben

dérive Nr. 35 (02/2009)

Schwerpunkt: Stadt und Comic

dérive Nr. 36 (03/2009)

Schwerpunkt: Aufwertung

dérive Nr. 37 (04/2009) (vergriffen)

Schwerpunkt: Urbanität durch Migration

dérive Nr. 38 (01/2010)

Schwerpunkt: Rekonstruktion

und Dekonstruktion

dérive Nr. 39 (02/2010) (vergriffen)

Schwerpunkt: Kunst und urbane Entwicklung

dérive Nr. 40/41 (03+04/2010)

Schwerpunkt: Understanding Stadtforschung

dérive Nr. 42 (01/2011) Sampler

dérive Nr. 43 (02/2011) Sampler

dérive Nr. 44 (03/2011) (vergriffen)

Schwerpunkt: Urban Nightscapes

dérive Nr. 45 (04/2011)

Schwerpunkt: Urbane Vergnügungen

dérive Nr. 46 (01/2012) (vergriffen)

Das Modell Wiener Wohnbau

dérive Nr. 47 (02/2012)

Ex-Zentrische Normalität:

Zwischenstädtische Lebensräume

dérive Nr. 48 (03/2012)

Stadt Klima Wandel

dérive Nr. 49 (04/2012)

Stadt selber machen

dérive Nr. 50 (01/2013) (vergriffen)

Schwerpunkt Straße

dérive Nr. 51 (02/2013)

Schwerpunkt: Verstädterung der Arten

dérive Nr. 52 (03/2013) Sampler (vergriffen)

dérive Nr. 53 (04/2013)

Citopia Now

dérive Nr. 54 (01/2014)

Public Spaces. Resilience & Rhythm

dérive Nr. 55 (02/2014)

Scarcity: Austerity Urbanism

dérive Nr. 56 (03/2014) (vergriffen)

Smart Cities

dérive Nr. 57 (04/2014)

Safe City

dérive Nr. 58 (01/2015) (vergriffen)

Urbanes Labor Ruhr

dérive Nr. 59 (02/2015) Sampler (vergriffen)

dérive Nr. 60 (03/2015)

Schwerpunkt: Henri Levebvre und das Recht aus Stadt

dérive Nr. 61 (04/2015) (vergriffen)

Perspektiven eines kooperativen Urbanismus

dérive Nr. 62 (01/2016) Sampler

dérive Nr. 63 (02/2016)

Korridore der Mobilität

dérive Nr. 64 (03/2016)

Ausgrenzung, Stigmatisierung, Exotisierung

dérive Nr. 65 (04/2016)

housing the many Stadt der Vielen

dérive Nr. 66 (01/2017)

Judentum und Urbanität

dérive Nr. 67 (02/2017)

Nahrungsraum Stadt

dérive Nr. 68 (03/2017) Sampler

dérive Nr. 69 (04/2017) Demokratie

dérive Nr. 70 (01/2018) Detroit

dérive Nr. 71 (01/2018) Bidonvilles & Bretteldörfer

Impressum /


dériveZeitschrift für Stadtforschung

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dérive N o 72 — WARSAW. Devastation, Modernization, (Re-)privatization

»The phenomenon of wild

reprivatization seems to

pose one of the most

serious challenges to

urban policy in Poland.«

Łukasz Drozda — Wild reprivatization, S. 12

(Re-)privatization, urban movements, housing, eviction,

transport axis, public space, destruction, chaos/order, neoliberalism,

modernization, gentrification,

reconstruction, property restitution

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