HUstadt process: Urban Planning Workshop in the Catholic Church – Assembly Hall

28 November 2008

Urban Planning Workshop in the Catholic Church – Assembly Hall

Stadtumbaubüro Hustadt – SUB organised an Urban Planning Workshop where I participated as an inhabitant and as an artist working on a project in the area. The workshop took place at Catholic Church – Assembly Hall, a fact already strange for me for two reasons. One, where I come from (Slovenia, former Yugoslavia), a church is not really the place for holding community meetings and conducting community life. Churches mainly serve their own church communities. Two, I could not imagine people living in Hustadt coming to this church; they were mainly Islamic. Namely, it quickly became clear to me that Hustadt was not the place described in its official documentation: 80 % Germans and 20 % Foreigners. I saw that it is the other way around. Later in my research I found out that Bochum is one of the few cities in Germany that still hasn’t made a progressive statistics; they haven’t asked the people who have come to live in the city the right questions. Population changes occurred in the 1980s when many German families (people who worked at the university) moved away (info: att.2). As a result of different social, economic and political developments related to today’s changing global situation and new market economy, the population has changed dramatically. The people living in Hustadt today come from all parts of the world, which makes Hustadt much more metropolitan then the main city of Bochum itself. Today there are approximately 56 different nationalities living in the neighbourhood, many different cultures, lifestyles, or living habits are performed every day very close to each other, creating a microcosm of the world, for better or for worse. At the Urban Planning Workshop there were almost no immigrants participating, only Germans. In addition, the workshop was attended mainly by representatives of various organisations from Hustadt, there were almost no individuals. I realised that it would be very hard to get immigrants to attend this type of workshop in this kind of place. There was no way that a population which is mostly Islamic would attend meetings in a Catholic Assembly Hall, however, the neighbourhood didn’t have any other “neutral” place to meet. And one very important remark: language! I didn’t speak German at all! I needed to learn it immediately since nobody here speaks English.

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