City of the future | Tomorrow Today - The Science Magazine | DW | 25.02.2013
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Tomorrow Today

City of the future

Our studio guest is Alexander Kühn, a Berlin-based bioinformatician

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03:27 mins.

DW:

Imagine building an entire town in basically one high-rise building. What do you think about that?

JK:

I think it is a very interesting, although not new idea. I think much more important for me is the way to build this whole thing. The idea to work with flying robots is a nice idea - I think an important idea for towered cities. But compared with a conventional city, I would prefer to live in a normal one.

DW:

The idea of a city in just one high-rise building is sort of claustorphobic, in a way. But there are advantages to it as well.

JK:

Not really. I don't see the advantages. If you see a vertical city like that and the next one is 10 kilometers away, then it might be interesting. But this is for me not an urban situation. And I like cities because of their urbaninity, its density, its mix of functions - retail, housing, offices, culture and things like that. I like to move on the street, I like to meet people on the street, not in the elevators and I like to have small piazzas. These kind of things are for me important for an urban city.

DW:

Definitely for me as well - I would like to be able to move freely and not have my bakery on the same floor as my work. But what is an ideal city for you?

JK:

The ideal city for me is Berlin, London or Paris. European cities of the 19th century.

DW:

Why Berlin?

JK:

I think Berlin has an ideal density. It offers, at least in the areas of Charlottenburg, Kreuzberg, and so on, an ideal mix of different users. That means the city is not sleeping at night - it isn't sleeping in the day or the night.

DW:

A city that never sleeps. Could you take Berlin and put it in another part of Europe, somewhere where the climate is different.

JK:

If it is about planning new cities - I think we should have a look at the positive things in cities we like. But there is also history as well as there is climate, you just mentioned it. If you look at old historic cities, like Bologna in Italy or Münster in Germany, where you have the same arcades but for different reasons. In Bologna, for example, because of the sun, but in Münster you have the same arcades, but because of the rain. So when you look at things like that automatically, you have a nice city - and those are the cities of the future.

DW:

Mr. Kleihues, thank you very much for joining us here at Tomorrow Today.

(Interview:Anne O'Donnell)