There is a subliminal uneasiness about the change that the city has already experienced and that is yet to come: Munich is growing faster than many would like. What is the right answer to the pressure that arises from the influx of companies and people? Everyone who lives in the area, property owners, political parties, associations, investors and, more recently, a coalition of around 100 companies from different sectors that calls itself the “Alliance for Munich” wants to have a say in urban planning.
The aim of the association is to counter negative voices about growth with positive ones. “Criticism of progress and growth characterizes the discussion about Munich’s development,” says Daniel Schreyer, spokesman for the new alliance. They wish that “Munich will remain a cosmopolitan and innovative city in the future, in which companies like to settle, found and expand”.
Because the settlement of new companies is crucial for the prosperity of the city, for jobs and trade tax revenue. This cannot be achieved without the designation of new commercial areas. Schreyer is CEO of Hendricks & Schwartz, a real estate lobbying firm whose business is building permit acquisition, permit management and acceptance communications, the website says.
Behind the alliance are personalities from the Munich economy with Christian Greiner, CEO of Ludwig Beck AG, Clarissa Käfer, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Käfer AG, Melanie Hammer, Managing Director of BHB Bauunternehmung, and Julian Rautenberg, Bank Director at Donner & Reuschel. Rautenberg recalls the spirit of optimism that prevailed 50 years ago at the Olympic Games in Munich. “Back then, people had the power to bring the city into the new era, with the construction of a subway and an architecturally bold Olympic site,” says the banker. “Many feared at the time that Munich would lose its character.” Today they would be happy about the courage of that time.
But not everything that was once considered modern was good. In the one he visits as a guest, Benjamin David recalls the last time the Munich City Council wanted to radically rebuild, the plans for the 1972 Olympic Games would have. “They wanted lots of trees along the Isar Falls, fortunately there was the Munich design, five young architects who painted white grave crosses on all these trees – and the project was dead.” The mayor at the time, Hans-Jochen Vogel, understood that this supposed path of progress was a mistake.
Now many discussion rounds on the subject of progress are to take place
The “Alliance for Munich” is all about such debates. In a first step, they will initiate the “Munich workshop”. It starts on September 27th at the University of Television and Film with the question: What does progress mean for Munich?
In the coming months there WILL be discussions in different formats throughout the city. Together with citizens, a vision of the future is to be designed for the city, which will then be presented to the town hall politicians in around six months. The best suggestions should be honored with a prize.
“Our industry is used to debates. If we want to implement a project, we start right away,” says contractor Hammer in an interview. Objections and concerns quickly arise when arguments are being held about large construction projects costing millions, which bring offices, living space and prestige, but which also put the old, historically grown Munich in the shade. The debates are often about details and ideological positions. But rarely is it about the big question that overarches everything: How big should Munich be?