City as Factory
How logistics and master plans change city life

Traffic routes and trade flows have always shaped cities. Today, complex logistic networks structure the transportation of goods, people, and data. The exploratory project “city as factory” examines the dynamics of city development processes based on the former main post office at Düsseldorf’s central station.

The building was designed to become a logistic hub for the disseminations of letters. But then the German post was reformed and privatized, which led to major changes: it moved its transportation network from the railway to the street. It was for this reason that the building’s function had already become obsolete in the moment of its completion in 1991. Now, it is remodeled into a cultural center. Besides the public library, the theatre museum, and several other public services that will settle here, it will become the new venue of the Forum Freies Theater (FFT Düsseldorf) in 2021.

In a three-day thematic focus, we will explore the area around Düsseldorf’s main station and the dynamics that can be observed here as exemplary for the reconfiguration of our cities. Sergio Bologna, one of the leading intellectuals of the Italian Workerism, analyzes the meaning of logistics for global capitalism. The Chicago-based architect Clare Lyster looks at the effects that urban logistics have on city life.

A one-day excursion into the logistic landscapes around Düsseldorf brings us to the end of the “new silk road” in Duisburg-Rheinhausen as well as to the “bridge of solidarity” that is reminiscent of the workers strike against the closure of the Krupp steel mill in 1987/88. We will here also focus on the transference processes that become apparent in the photographic works and installations created by Jan Lemitz. In collaboration with urbanologists Klaus Ronneberger, Jochen Becker, and Jan Lemitz we will develop the “Case Study” Düsseldorf, which will be complemented by talks that further expand on the subject: for this, we will be joined by Christoph Schäfer and Renée Tribble, who will present “PlanBude Hamburg,” one of the most fascinating examples currently dealing with participatory processes in city development.

A multi-voiced discourse invites all city inhabitants to engage in dialog with urbanologists, artists, and activists amd speak about our current scope of action. The event also initiates a survey that will accompany the relocation of the FFT and which will explore and discuss further aspects of the future role of the theatre within the urban society.