Diana Felber
Athens, Berlin, Leipzig –
Who Owns the City?
A Critical Mapping Workshop

The story is well known. Artists move into cheap flats in unrenovated neighborhoods that are close to the center but not very popular among the middle class. Galleries, later cafés and bars open. Other young people move into the district, then the well-off. Rents are rising. The artists finally move to the next neighborhood and the cycle starts again.

But does this simple narrative really tell the story of gentrification and the relationship between art and urban development? It is a complex process with many actors – the municipality, planers, residents, investors etc. The city as a central space for social interaction is desired, not only by the people. Real estate is an internationally sought-after investment property. It is not primarily a question of the building structures but rather a land question. The ownership remains invisible for people passing by.

Urban planning should ensure the protection of the weak and the right to the city for everybody. So what is the status quo of our own cities? During the workshop we will try to find out more about the changes on our doorsteps. Due to the process of critical mapping we will detect, organize and discuss spatial information.

Henri Lefebvre: “The right to the city cannot be conceived of as a simple visiting right or as a return to traditional cities. It can only be formulated as a transformed and renewed right to urban life. It does not matter whether the urban fabric encloses the countryside and what survives of peasant life, as long as the ‘urban’, place of encounter, priority of use value, inscription in space of a time promoted to the rank of a supreme resource among all resources, finds its morphological base and its practico-material realization. Which presumes an integrated theory of the city and urban society, using the resources of science and art. Only the working class can become the agent, the social carrier or support of this realization.”

Flächennutzungsplan Stand 04/2020

Diana Felber is a practicing architect and part of transit – Architectural Collective Leipzig. Since 2015, she has been teaching architecture and urban design at several universities, e.g. TU Braunschweig, TU Dresden, and BTU Cottbus. In her research she is focusing on the housing question with a special interest in housing typology. She is also an active member of the contemporary art collective (Kunstverein) KV – Verein für zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig



Harvey, David. The Right to the City. In: Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution, 3-25. New York: Verso, 2012.

Holm, Andrej. Berlin’s Gentrification Mainstream. In: The Berlin Reader. A Compendium on Urban Change and Activism. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2013.

Lefebvre, Henri. The Right to the City. In: Writings on Cities, trans. Eleonore Kofman and Elizabeth Lebas. 63-184. Cambridge: Blackwell Publishing, 1996 [1968].

Lynch, Kevin. The City Image and its Elements. In: The Image of the City, 46-90. Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1990 [1960].