2007, Thu, Oct 18

The Dynamic of the City - Fragmentation and Concentration

New York - Berlin: Cultural Diversity in Urban Space

Times Square, New York | (c) Frank Paul

Times Square, New York | (c) Frank Paul

Transnational migration continually adds to the great depth of New York's ethnic and cultural mix. The complexity of this metropolis is generated in large part by two forces which seem to act on each other reciprocally: the integrative pull of the city as the object of identification on the one hand, and the formation of separate communities on the other. What is the relationship between these two forces and what cultural and social processes do they set in motion? This conference inquires into the differences and similarities between New York and Berlin – in the ways ethnic and cultural diversity is handled, public space is used, and urban development is participated in.


Metropolises are characterised in part by the diversity of their ethnic, social and cultural communities, which participate in the life of the city in different ways. What are the integrative and disintegrative dynamics at work in a city like New York?


With Peter Marcuse, Professor of Urban Planning, Graduate School of Architecture, Columbia University, New York.

Moderated by Margit Mayer, Professor of Political Science, Free University Berlin.


Peter Marcuse is a professor of urban planning at Columbia University in New York City. He was born in Berlin in 1928 and moved to New York with his parents (Herbert Marcuse and Sophie Wertheim) in the 1930s. He attended Harvard University, Yale University, and Columbia University. He received his PhD from the UC Berkeley Department of City and Regional Planning in 1972. From 1972-1975 he was a Professor of Urban Planning at UCLA, and since 1975 at Columbia University. His publications include: Of States and Cities: The Partitioning of Urban Space (2002), Globalizing Cities: Is There a New Spatial Order? (1999), and Wohnen und Stadtpolitik im Umbruch: Perspektiven der Stadterneuerung nach 40 Jahren DDR (1991).


Margit Mayer is a professor of political studies at the Faculty of Political and Social Studies and at the J. F. Kennedy Institute of North American Studies, Free University Berlin. She is a member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Graduate Research Program Berlin-New York at Center for Metropolitan Studies in Berlin. Her research interests are new social movements in the USA and Germany as well as urban development, urban politics, reorganization of the welfare state, and homelessness in the US and Germany from a comparative perspective. Margit Mayer is member of the editorial board of the magazines International Journal of Urban and Regional Research and Capitalism, Nature, Socialism. She is also an associate editor of Urban Affairs Review and a co-editor of the books Modernisierung der Kommunalpolitik and Urban Movements in a Global Environment.


The conference is a joint event of the House of World Cultures and the Center for Metropolitan Studies, Berlin/New York.


Concept: Susanne Stemmler (Center for Metropolitan Studies) and Sven Arnold (House of World Cultures)