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Old blast furnace, an industrial past of Emscher Park (Landzine, 2018).

Thank you, YaLi, for making a post about progressive regeneration! The Byker Wall was seen as a holistic approach for the community at that time. However, regeneration is difficult in contemporary society because it is stigmatised and often linked with “whole sale clearance and comprehensive redevelopment” (Cowan, 2005, p.425). Regeneration often struggle to balance the views of social and economic values. I specifically, want to focus on your point relating to the collective memory, as I believe it is this factor that adds character to a place but also using platforms to activate civic participation towards their own community.

A strategy that fully catalogue the needs in a community, whilst allowing a collective memory is certainly a progressive process. However, lessons can be learned from European Countries such as Germany and their IBA (Internationale Bauausstellung) model for urban regeneration strategies, which branches on the issues of industrial heritage, identity and regional collective memory (Pinch and Adams, 2013, p.231). A similar context with the Byker Wall.

The IBA started out as Building Exhibitions, which focused on the messages of urgent needs of social reform and design represented in each era; the Open-IBA (n.d) states the four stages it’s been, future stages of using International Building Exhibitions as a tool for:

Stage 1) Demonstration of the state of the art in architecture (1901-1957).

Stage 2) Renovation for urban development (1979-1999).

Stage 3) Changing Planning Culture (2000-2013).

Stage 4) New scales and Transitional Cooperation (2010-2023).

   Furthermore, the progress of the IBA developed targeting local significant historical events as a platform to show-case building exhibitions, to gather attention and funding, which was mainly in Stage One, on to larger and progressive international cooperation. Similarly, the Great North Exhibition, that happened in the North East of the UK could have been a great platform for social reforms or highlight specific issues. However, there seems to be no news, or continuation of certain events because as at the beginning of the exhibition I would experience a lot of leaflets and flyers coming through the post. But now, nothing.

Moving forward, the project from IBA that was notable for its urban regeneration strategies was the Emscher Park a 10 years programme from 1989-1999 (National Archive, 2011). Emscher Park was an industrial site situated in Ruhr Regions of North West Germany and provided strategic plans such as, “retention and creative use of key industrial heritage” and “working in the park” (National Archives, 2011). Where it still retains a collective characteristic of the place. Most significantly Emscher Park worked with diverse networks for example municipal governments, civic associations and the general public; where the IBA widely and openly published their development of the Park, as well as maintaining a flexible planning solutions and learning-by-doing methodology (Müller and Carr, 2009, p.85). Thus, Emscher Park offered continual change and development to meet the needs of the public.

Overall, the IBA utilised critical moments in history and events to raise awareness of architecture and urban regeneration to gather attention but also conversing with the public about their developments and progress, to gather more civic participation. It is the continuation of efforts and utilisation of platforms that carries urban developments in to the future.


[1] Cowan, R., (2005). The Dictionary of Urbanism. Wiltshire: Streetwise Press Limited.
[2] Landzine., (2018). ‘Landschaftspark Duisburg Nord’. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed on 20 December 2018].
[3] Müller, S. and Carr, C., (2009). ‘Image politics and stagnation in Ruhr Valley’. In: L. Porter and K. Shaw (eds.) (2009). Whose Urban Renaissance? An international comparison of urban regeneration strategies. Oxon: Routledge.
[4] National Archives., (2011). ‘Emscher Landschaftspark, Germany’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed on 20 December 2018].
[5] Open-iba., (n.d.). ‘Four Stages: The Development of International Building Exhibitions’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 December 2018].
[6] Pinch, P. and Adams, n., (2013). ‘The German Internationale Bauausstellung (IBA) and urban regeneration: lessons from the IBA Emscher Park.’ In: M.E. Leary and J. McCarthy (eds.) (2013). The Routledge Companion to Urban Regeneration. Oxon: Routledge.

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