(Trinational) reading and understanding border areas

Border­lines and border zones
RWTH Aachen
Prof. Dr. Agnes Förster
Gisela Schmitt
Prof. Christa Reicher
Anne Söfker-Rieniets

Lehrstuhl für Planungstheorie und Stadtentwicklung, Lehrstuhl und Institut für Städtebau und Europäische Urbanistik

The contribution of RWTH Aachen University focuses on the trinational border region of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Two different thematic approaches are chosen in different spatial sections in the format of "impromptu tasks" with literature and newspaper research as well as inspections and mapping.

One approach, entitled "Border Lines", deals with the transformation of visible and invisible borders since the uncontrolled crossing of internal borders in the border triangle has been possible as a principle of the Schengen Agreement. In the border area of the border triangle the visible after-effects of the old border situation and the gradual merging of the border areas are to be recorded, documented and translated into transferable spatial categories. Cross-border everyday experiences, derived from newspaper analysis and spontaneous interviews with passers-by, document the subject areas of the invisible border lines with their problems and potentials.

"Quer zur Grenze" is the title of the second perspective, which deals with the local identities of border zones in the trinational border area. In a Europe without internal borders, the dissolving border regions have to search for an identity that can understand the loss of the old identity not as a danger, but as an opportunity and gain of a new, completely different identity. In the search for a method of conveying this opportunity, this approach aims to find special urban planning or urban sociological identities that can serve as a model for larger movements of growing together. In the search for special borderline situations, the considerations go back to the 19th century.