Rubble Mapping

Berlin Rubble Mapping – soil as archive and art

alexandra regan toland

A unique aspect of German soil protection policy is the protection of soil on account of its archival function. After World War II over 75 million cubic meters of rubble and debris almost completely covered the city of Berlin. Mountains of stone, brick and dust had to be cleared, sorted into recyclable and non-recyclable material, and moved to suitable storage and dumping sites before the city could begin rebuilding. This work was famously accomplished by women, usually in exchange for food and shelter.

Today some of the city’s most frequented and beloved public parks hide the material remnants of pre-war Germany. Humboldthain, Volkspark Friedrichshain and the largest “rubble mountain” Teufelsberg confront recreation seekers with massive grass and tree-lined ghosts of the past. Scratching only a few centimeters of topsoil from the surface may reveal shards of colored tiles and bits of bricks of all shapes and sizes. More problematic is…

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About lukebennett13
Reader & Course Leader, BSc Hons Real Estate, Sheffield Hallam University, UK. I TEACH: built environment law to construction, surveying, real estate and environmental management students. I RESEARCH: metal theft; urban exploration & recreational trespass; occupiers' perceptions of liability for their premises. I THINK: about the links between ideas, materialities and practices in the built environment. I WAS: an environmental lawyer working in commercial practice for 17 years before I joined academia in 2007. I EXPLAIN: the aims of my blogsite site here: https://lukebennett13.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/prosaic/ LINKS: Twitter: @lukebennett13; Archive: http://shu.academia.edu/lukebennett. EPITAPH: “He lived at a little distance from his body, regarding his own acts with doubtful side-glances.” James Joyce, Dubliners

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