01-02-07 // 2ND RATE URBANISM
“Call for Submissions”- Poster for MONU #7, February 2007
2nd Rate Urbanism
By Bernd Upmeyer and Thomas Söhl
London, Tokyo, New York, Berlin, Moscow, Bejing, Johannesburg Rio or New Delhi… we all know the names on the A-list of cities and love to study and compare them. They are big, beautiful, dynamic, full of extremes and there is always a good story to be told. But who really lives in those places? A very small share of the world’s population in the end. The vast majority of people, whether rich or poor live someplace else. The majority of urban life is at home in places we don’t know. It is the places that are described as 1.5hr outside of New York or between Munich and Hamburg. 2nd rate cities that boast no particular qualities, with the dubious exception that they sometimes boast the record for “the place with the tallest church tower built between 1780 and 1795.” Or once in a while one of these 2nd rate cities becomes famous because a ruthless dictator was born there – think Tikrit in Irak or Braunau in Austria.
In the upcoming 7th issue of Monu we want to explore 2nd rate urbanism. What is the character and quality of this seemingly generic urban life? What motivates people to live and work there? How does life differ in those C-list places from that in the big bright cities? What of politics, economy and culture? What role do these places play for the urban landscape in different countries?