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A German native, I have lived in Belgium, France, Japan and the United States for many years and have traveled extensively through Europe, Asia, North Africa and North America. My mental map of my "hometown" is thus composed of bits and pieces from around the world. It includes such monuments as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Palace of Justice in Brussels or the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia as well as Hamburg -- natural landmarks, the Alster central lake, the Elbe river, Mount Fuji or the Tokyo Bay. My city is not only composed of famous landmarks, though; it includes just as much vernacular architecture and everyday neighborhoods. I have been interested in the study of architectural and urban history as much as in urban reality, in citizen movements and transportation systems from around the world.
My courses on architecture and the city are thus the outcome of a fascination with the built environment since childhood and of walking through numerous cities as well as of my training in architectural and urban design, theory and history. Form of the City, Survey of Western Architecture, History of Modern Architecture, The European Metropolis, Architecture and Urban Form in Japan, Capital Cities: Places of Art and Power, War, Catastrophes and the City, and The Global Architecture of Oil are courses that I love to teach, as they combine personal involvement, scientific interest, and my desire to share with students my fascination with cities. In discussion with students, I try to reach a better understanding of the built and urban environment, its history and future, and devise ways to become actively involved in our contemporary cities. Senior Seminar in particular allows students to develop their own interests while maintaining an intimate exchange with us.
My current research and teaching interests include 1) "capital cities," an analysis of capital cities worldwide as the loci of culture, economics, politics and social movements as reflected in the built environment and art works; 2) "war, disaster, and the city," a class and a research project examining the impact of war and war-derived doctrines, languages, planning and building techniques on urban development and 3) the “international exchange of architectural and planning ideas.” Here I am specifically interested in diverse global networks and their spatial impact. My research and related course “The Global Architecture of Oil” explores this topic as well as my research on “Port Cities, Dynamic Landscapes and Global Networks.”
Most recently, I have received a NEH Teaching Development fellowship that will allow me to revise my course on The History of Modern Architecture in view of my recent research interest in networks and their effect on architectural form. Since 2008, I have been working with an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship on the topic of “Urban Identity in a Global Market: An analysis of Hamburg’s large-scale urban transformation projects in their local and international context between 1842 and 2008” This research will be part of a forthcoming book on "Port Cities: Dynamic Landscapes and Global Networks" which also includes material from a conference I organized with colleagues at Bryn Mawr College entitled “Port Cities and Networking in Local and Global Contexts.”
In 2007, I have received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for my ongoing project “The Global Architecture of Oil”. In 2005, I was awarded a Planning and Development Fellowship from the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy for research on: Regional Integration and Land Policies Affecting the Future Development of Tallinn, Warsaw, and Budapest as Part of the Polycentric EU Headquarters Network. In 2004, I received The Planning Perspectives Best Article Prize 2002-03 for "Maurice Rotival-French Planning on a Global Scale."
My research has led to the publication of a monograph, The Capital of Europe: Architecture and Urban Planning in the European Union (Greenwood-Praeger 2004) and several edited books, notably Brussels: Perspectives on a European Capital. (Brussels: Publication of the Foundation for the Urban Environment, 2007) and Bruxelles l'Européene: Capitale de qui? Ville de qui? European Brussels. Whose capital? Whose city? (Cahiers de la Cambre-Architecture n 5, La Lettre Volée, 2006), Cities, Autonomy and Decentralization in Japan (edited with Philippe Pelletier, Routledge, 2006), and /Rebuilding Urban Japan after 1945/ (edited with Jeffry Diefendorf, Yorifusa Ishida, Palgrave Macmillan 2003). The latter resulted from a colloquium entitled "The Rebuilding of Japan's Bombed Cities, A Comparative Analysis," which I organized at m Mawr in 2001. I also edited and mainly authored Hauptstadt Berlin. Der internationale städtebauliche Ideenwettbewerb 1957-58 (Gebr. Mann, 1991).
As part of my professional service, I am on the editorial board of the moderated, multi-disciplinary forum on urban history and scholarship H-Urban. I am also on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Urban History (JUH) where I currently act as Asia book review editor. I am furthermore a member of the academic steering community of the peer-reviewed academic e-journal Brussels Studies (published in English, French, and Dutch) that focuses on current issues in Brussels in any discipline or language.
Fires, Earthquakes, Modernization and Air Strikes: The Destruction and Revival of Japan's Cities
as author at MIT World Series: The Resilient City: Trauma, Recovery and Remembrance,