Creative scientific milieus: the European city ideal as a model for innovation processes
Community and college City planning -- Germany -- Munich College buildings Universities and colleges -- Social aspects Κοινότητα και πανεπιστήμιο Πολεοδομία -- Γερμανία -- Μόναχο Πανεπιστημιακά κτίρια Πανεπιστήμια -- Κοινωνικές απόψεις
Cities have principally been regarded as the typical space of creativity and of new ideas. It is claimed that they offer the most appropriate setting for the pursuit of art, culture and scientific activity. This image depends on specific features that are ascribed to cities in general, namely their characteristics as a social space, as a space of interactions, of heterogeneity, of networks and plurality. Accordingly, over centuries, scientific institutions and universities were traditionally located within the city. However, a dramatic change can be observed in the second half of the 20th century. Since then, following the American model of the campus, whole “cities of science” have been situated on the outskirts of cities. The close interconnection of science and the city that existed for a long time was only seemingly suspended, however. Scientific institutes, universities and academies did indeed leave the city area for various reasons (growth, specialisation and increasing complexity of science, lack of space inside the city, adherence to Humboldt’s ideal of unity), but there has been a distinct trend towards organising science – at the gates of the city – after the city model. Particularly since the 1980s and 1990s the new guiding principles became urbanism, interaction, face-to-face communication, interchange and networking among scientists. Politicians and scientists tried to create new “creative milieus” in front of the city. Thereby, the European city ideal served as a role model for “cities of science”. Nevertheless, looking back over four decades of development, one is forced to conclude that these science cities lack essential elements of the city. This suburbanisation of science therefore resembles a process that reduces urbanism to a metaphor that directs action but does not, in fact, lead to the establishment of an urban milieu. Thus, the “creative scientific milieu” has become a concept that tries to copy certain features of the city in order to stimulate innovation processes, thereby being located at a certain distance from the “real city” - and, ultimately, without much success.The paper aims to analyse this trend by focusing on the case study of the city of Munich after 1945.
Paper presented at Seventh International Conference on Urban History: European City in Comparative Perspective, Panteion University, Athens - Piraeus, Greece, 27-30 October 2004, Session: Cities and Creative Milieus