Sylvia Necker

urban research &
modern history :::  
exhibits & installations :::
radio & sound art :::

minden :::
frankfurt/main :::
hamburg :::


Gutschow’s Stadtlandschaft in the 1940s, 19.7.2016

Vortrag “Gutschow’s Stadtlandschaft Hamburg in the 1940s” im Rahmen der 17th International Planning History Conference an der TU Delft im Panel “Urban Ruralities since the 19th Century” (Panel Conveners: Celina Kress and Sylvia Necker), 19.7.2016 [Zum Programm:]


Abstract of the presentation

Since the beginning of the 20th century, planners dreamed of merging the hitherto separate concepts of the “urban” and the “rural”. A variety of ideas, such as loosening the built structure of cities, adding garden cities, and creating urban landscapes, were discussed not only among architects and planners, also experts for public health, public transport, biologists and landscape architects were part of the discourse. Their common aim was to create a new order and a new town in which rurality played a fundamental part.

In 1939 the young Hamburg architect Konstanty Gutschow was commissioned to transform the Hanseatic metropole into a new town spatially representing the Nazi regime. To solve this task Gutschow relied more on methods of urban planning than on architecture – in contrast to other well known architects like Albert Speer and Hermann Giesler. He cooperated with landscape architects such as Gernot Hübotter in order to develop a modern urban landscape (Stadtlandschaft). Gutschow and his team mapped the whole city and its region precisely, including socio-economic and socio-ecological contexts. The Generalbebauungsplan (Greater Plan) 1941 was the result of this comprehensive research. Gutschow planned to publish the data in a handbook for urban planning. He was convinced that the Generalbebauungsplan and his methods would establish a role model for Germany and Europe. After bombardments in 1944, the plan had to be adapted to the changed reality of the city. Defence strategies were part of Gutschow’s plan. He believed that an organic Stadtlandschaft had the capacity to regenerate more easily from war attacks. With a special structure and land use strategy, the Generalbebauungsplan would make the city resilient against the effects of aerial bombardment. For the same reason, ecological strategies for composting and the re-use of garbage were included in the plan of 1944. Even if the end of the war was the end of Gutschows planning activities, his staff transformed the Generalbebauungsplan into a reconstruction plan for Hamburg after 1945.

The paper focuses on the long tradition of the idea Stadtlandschaft in the first half of the 20th century, and situates the specific characteristics of Gutschows plans for Hamburg in the 1940s in it.