The third destruction of Hannover: EXPO 2000

Kolakowski, Marcin Mateusz (1997) The third destruction of Hannover: EXPO 2000. In: Teoria i praktyka rozwoju przestrzeni miejskiej. Materialy II Sympozjum, Rybna. Wydawnictwo Sympozjalne KUiA PAN, Gliwice, pp. 164-171. ISBN UNSPECIFIED

The Third Destruction of Hannover: EXPO 2000
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The Third Destruction of Hannover: EXPO 2000

In 1992, Hannover authorities held a referendum on the public’s support of EXPO. 51.5% of people voted for, and 48.5% voted against with the turnout of 61.7%. The result was an 8-year-long argument between the Hannoverians as well as between the political and economic forces. The paper presents the arguments of both sides in the context of town planning history of Hannover. It sets the town as an example of how dangerous the phenomenon of festivalisation can be to the town fabric.
The policy of expansion
A war between politicians, social initiatives, town planners, sociologists and businessmen has begun. While the conservationists and sociologists say that there is no town development without the inhabitants’ engagement, the authorities represented by Lehman-Grube reply: ‘If we had started from a discussion, the international exhibition would be out of the question now.’
The exhibition is to take place from 1 June to 31 October 2000 in the south part of Hannover-Kreuzberg. It will have a motto ‘Man, Nature, Technique’. It will encompass the area of 160 ha, 90 of which belong to the already existing trade areas and the remaining 70 are designed for new investments.180 countries and organisations are expected to present themselves in their national pavilions at the exhibition. The number of guests is assessed at 265,000 daily, which makes 40 million during the time of the exhibition. The citizens are convinced that Hannover must get rid of the imprint of a provincial town and outshine other towns. The economic development triggered by the event is to become a positive impulse for the town and the region. Municipal authorities count on the influx of new investors. Transportation system - roads, railways and the new infrastructure for public transport are to be modernised. EXPO has been planned to initiate housing estate constructions. During the referendum 6,500 flats were promised although the number has now been decreased to 2000. According to the supporters, the exhibition is to become a catalyst of new investments and leave behind many architectural attractions, such as exhibition pavilions, a concert-sport hall etc. It may contribute to the creation of a smog-free town.
Various concepts
The beginning of the 1990s saw a series of workshops whose aim was to present the role of EXPO as well as its ideological and spatial frames. Interdisciplinary meetings were full of inspiring visions from the very start. The contest for the exhibition organization ultimately selected four concepts:
• Decentralised model which assumed that the exhibition will be organised in several places simultaneously, thus creating an impulse for development in different parts of the town.
• Model along Mittelkanal, which suggested holding the EXPO exhibition along the canal crossing the town on undeveloped areas and wastelands where there are many decaying factories.
• Model along Leine, which connected the most attractive parts of the town on the river Leine with the exhibition area.
• Model Kronsberg, which assumed that the exhibition area will directly neighbour the site of the existing trade area. Later, after 2000 these would become partly housing estates and partly the EXPO museum. This project has been accepted.
• Opposition
The opponents of EXPO warned of its unnatural growth. All the investments must be implemented in 2000. The system of transportation (both bus and railways) converges in Kronsberg while many other town investments have been stopped. “This is a wrong way,” say the town planners and sociologists. “If EXPO must take place, it should activate the whole town instead of creating the new ‘center’ in the suburbs.” Shiny slogans were to compensate for the uneven development; ‘The town and region as an exhibit’, ‘The town as a garden’, ‘The programme of climate protection KLEX’ etc.
Unfortunately, most projects chosen by the jury concerned Kronsberg. In May 1995, during a panel discussion, a sociologist Ulfred Herlyn noticed: “Kronsberg is clearly going to get crowned as an only architectural achievement in Hannover that is worth taking notice and we’re close to achieving that. If we succeed, we will seal the unfortunate division into the privileged south and the neglected north. I doubt we will ever get the chance to balance that.”
Indeed the town has long suffered from the dissonance between its north inhabited mostly by working class people and foreigners, and the rich south district. Elitist-ecological housing estates of Kronsberg will certainly not solve the problem.
The problem of social stratification is appointed clearly as well. While the Hannoverians who own some property will get richer, the poor will get even poorer when the rent and cost of living increase. Many initiatives against EXPO have been taken up. Over 30 of them joined in ‘Bundnis gegen EXPO’ and ‘Anti EXPO A.G.’ Others focused around The Greens and the civic initiatives of inhabitants from those parts of the town that neighbour with the future exhibition grounds. The declared increase of workplaces and the solution to housing problems are highly doubted. There is no need for middle and high-standard flats whereas the cheapest are still sought after. This shortage cannot be satisfied with luxurious ‘ecological’ apartments at Kronsberg.
The Greens warn against the one-sided transport modernization that gives the green light to the road traffic but has nothing to do with environment protection. Against the promises, no action has been taken to restrict the road traffic of passenger vehicles. According to the Interplan survey, 41.4% of guests will come by cars, 33.5% by buses, 9.1% by planes and only 15.9% will choose trains. Ecological investments seem ridiculously low as compared to the losses, according to EXPO critics. Carbon dioxide that is going to be emitted during the tourists’ invasion in the five months of the exhibition will be higher than the emission that could be decreased in the next 20 years thanks to the KLEX programme

Keywords:Urban Design, Urban Regeneration, EXPO, bmjtype
Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K100 Architecture
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
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ID Code:18007
Deposited On:27 Jul 2015 10:23

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