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Claus Müller (Associate fellow)
Center for Metropolitan Studies
Back to the Land Again? A Comparative Study of the Back-to-the-Land Movement in 1970s New England and Contemporary Berlin-Brandenburg
In recent years Berlin was affected by a strong reurbanisation, especially the gentrification of central districts and significant increases in rent prices was a dominant topic of local public discourse. After a strong wave of suburbanization in the course of the political turn of 1989/90, the relations between Berlin and its Brandenburg environs have received only little attention.
In public discourse Brandenburg is displayed as hinterland, that is struck by unemployment and depopulation. The relations to the capital seem to be limited to the immediate outskirts, which are shaped by suburban dwellings, shopping malls and business parks.
But in recent times a new trend as occurred, especially Berliners move to the periphery to try out new forms of housing, living and economic activity. In their decision to leave the city, many of them explicitly refer to their experience (and the loss of former) urban open spaces like squats, house-projects etc.
The movement of urban dwellers to the periphery to practice new forms of life is nothing new in history, as show the Lebensreform-movement (life reform), the kibbutzim or the North American back-to-the-land movement of the 1970s. Built on a concept, which was established in the beginning of the 20th century, the latter revived in the wake of the 1960s counterculture movements and the beginning of the energy crisis. For this project, the back-to-the-land movement of the 1970s New England will serve as a comparative reference.
The project aims on how the movements of former urbanites influence peripheral spaces. What is urban about the new rural lifestyle? How is the new urban influx interpreted by the inhabitants of the hinterland? And what is the role of this movement in the marginalization of the urban-rural divide?
Since 05/2015 Associate Fellow at the International Graduate Research Program Berlin - New York - Toronto, Center for Metropolitan Studies, Technical University of Berlin, Germany
10/2004 – 3/2011
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel,
Dipl.-Volksw. in Social Economics,
Thesis: The Area of Conflict between Public and Private Space: The Example of Shopping Malls
09/2008 - 02/2009
Szkoła Główna Handlowa (Warsaw School of Economics),
04/2002 – 09/2003
Biberach University of Applied Sciences,
Business Administration (Construction & Real Estate)
Technische Universität Berlin, Department for Architecture,
Chair for Planning & Construction Economics/ Real Estate
05/2012 – 10/2014
Technische Universität Berlin, Center for Metropolitan Studies,
DFG International Graduate Research Program Berlin – New York – Toronto
08/2012 – 12/2013
Leibniz Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning, Erkner
09/2008 – 10/2008
isw Institute for Structural Policy and Economic Advancement, Halle/Saale
05/2008 – 07/2008
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Department for Economics,
Chair of Innovation, Competition Policy and New Institutional Economics