NIEMANDSLAND – Über die Zukunft einer verlassenen Stadt [MOVIE] – Franklin Village in Mannheim Doku

After a nearly 70-year presence, in 2011 the US military abandoned its largest residential settlement on german territory, the Benjamin Franklin Village in Mannheim, leaving behind an empty 356-acre barracks NO MAN’S LAND The Future of an Abandoned Town I first came to Mannheim in 1969 I was 19 years old My father was a soldier and head of the hospital in the Village And it was this summer, the summer of 1969, when I came to Mannheim to visit my parents They lived in Grant Circle at the time, in the officers’ quarters My name is Larry Scavone I was the director of public works in Mannheim for many years In this job, I was responsible for construction planning and maintenance for this area in Mannheim Mannheim was a major military base at the time Benjamin Franklin Village was the residential area for the soldiers and their families and was home to over 10,000 just in this area, in Benjamin Franklin Village Those were the days when I could go outside here and see thousands of children playing in the streets

They were everywhere: Mothers, fathers, children, dogs It was a vibrant town Well, I’m an architect I studied architecture in America The buildings we construct are for people, and when we construct buildings and there are no people around to use them, then our efforts have been for naught When I look at this building and don’t see a single soul, I think that is very strange Let’s check and see if all of the cats are here… I’ve been visiting this place for over 20 years now I’m a volunteer at the animal rescue center and care for the cats that the Americans left behind I’m married to an American I met at work in Mannheim back when I was working in the Turley Barracks It’s kind of sad to see everything going downhill like this So let’s have a look first at what my team of cats here has eaten I think that’s something, it’s my… it’s part of my life These animals have a special place in my life They give me a lot of joy About the cats here – it costs money to take cats back to America and then they don’t have the money to get the cats vaccinated So they decide to leave the cats here Cause it’s a nice site, right? And once they’re set free and haven’t been spayed or neutered, well, things get going from there It happens pretty quickly Oh, don’t run away Come, come… come here! That’s good stuff, isn’t it? Lamb goulash with sauce Delicious! It breaks my heart to see this community and school close But the memories will always be with me Mannheim will for ever and always be my home When I talk, think, discuss,

or walk around the premises of Franklin, I know exactly what’s going through the minds of the others And the difficult part about it, to be honest, is to dispel those myths because they’re almost always clichés One cliché: Oh, those apartments are great I could move in tomorrow Technically that’s wrong Another cliché: What a junkyard Monotonous, dreary, tear it down, build something new Then I say: For God’s sake this place has some history to it We have to respect the history here It’s not just an idle site of a future construction yard where you start planning something entirely new What you see around you is part of history And that gives you a bit of courage to make sure certain things don’t happen here We’re not a page on the drawing board This place has historical significance and it’s our duty to transform it for the future Yes, 35 would be good We should include a buffer in the planning because the others are waiting for us and we don’t want them to get nervous That would be great. I’ll set this in motion. Fine About Franklin we always said that this is a project that might either lead to stagnation in Mannheim, true to the motto: ‘A few more square meters, oh man how do we get rid of them, how do we sell them?’ Or lead to the city exploding into the new century And this explosion would mean Building to accommodate the needs of future housing and living standards for a new generation And I definitely think that it’s different, than – carefully phrased – how some still live in the city I wanted to go to the pink house – The pink house? Well, let’s go in the white house. Look over here – And after that we’ll go in the pink house! The time comes when you’re getting close to finishing your degree, and you have to ask yourself: Do I move to Berlin or don’t I? And if you don’t go to Berlin, then it doesn’t really matter where you do go You could go anywhere for all it matters I was always attracted to the Ruhr region but then I got to know Mannheim and liked Mannheim better than the Ruhr region because it’s got a similar structure but is not as far along in its development So, here were are. Let’s go in. Come on! When the conversion process began, the conversion office communicated this to the public They were really active And since that point they couldn’t get rid of me It didn’t take too long before I was sitting with Hummel and then there was an exhibition coming up where I needed a space to produce for the exhibition Daddy – which is our doorbell? – This one. Ring this one down here – Why? – Look – Maybe there’s someone here. Come on! I caught wind of the conversion with that first project and really experienced the conversion and how quickly something like this goes I wasn’t able to really process everything in the short period of time and figure out what we could have done The bathrooms in this apartment are old Now I’m happy we’re here at Franklin Cause this place It’s just fantastic isn’t it? It’s great I think it’s a real shame that so much is being torn down The scent of the club is still lingering here You could get change here And here was a large coat check …the dining area the kitchen, the bar The bingo nights were always held here No light anymore, is there? Top Hat Casino You could gamble here There were slot machines It still smells kind of like still smells like uniforms around here I always bought the Stars And Stripes for my husband here, I had dollars and got change in coins here so I could go and buy a newspaper from the vending machine I’ve been here so many times before, yes Been here so often It was a nice time ‘We say Mann, you say heim, Mann – heim, Mann – heim’

‘We say bob, you say cats, bob – cats, bob – cats’ ‘We say Mann, you say heim, Mann – heim, Mann – heim’ Larry – Hello. Larry Scavone, hello – It’s a pleasure – It’s a great pleasure to meet you – Yeah, same for me – I see your picture everywhere – Yeah, that’s what I heard, yeah It is a bit amazing, that they are… that they put it around here – That’s good, yeah – Shall we speak informally to each other? – Of course, it’s easier that way – That’s also an American mindset – Is it okay? – I like it I dream of a place that… is a bit unusual Because of the interaction among various eras of history that could take place here And because of a potentially – hopefully an exemplary attitude or a courageous attitude toward living with history That would be my dream to see this… 20 years from now How much did that cost altogether? Have you ever… – We had a budget, only for Mannheim It was our budget for construction and planning and architecture, including maintenance of the buildings 80 million dollars per year It’s like a small city district – Now I’m talking to the city planner of the… for these 30,000 people Fortunately I was still here when people were still around and I experienced how the people here lived and today it’s, well, a ghost town It’s got something beautiful about it It gives me the feeling of anticipation, more so of hope than of despair These buildings have a somewhat historical significance – Very much so – It means the military was here All these 70 years… Germany is a safe country as a result of the NATO presence And the American soldiers gave their lives for freedom… – For peace… – And those are the people who lived here – That is also a symbol – Yes, it’s a symbol And that’s the reason a few of these buildings should be preserved It would be a shame if it was all gone in the future Then we can’t comprehend anymore If it all disappears, that means all the landmarks will be gone too – I also understand that everything people do here is immediately symbolic – Yes, yes Well, it’s… it’s painful to see, well, everything that’s being torn down here Here’s the discotheque We should be able to do something with this, right? With this tunnel Man, it’s cold here Kind of a run-down place, isn’t it? I mean, look over here, you can see through the houses … you can see through everywhere They never had any fences here You only needed to ride a lawn mower through here and mow the whole area at once It was all designed for convenient maintenance Oh, wow Oh, wow – Yes, and there we were There was the school over here – Yes – This ‘Platz der Freundschaft’, we built… and designed it We wanted the soldiers to feel at home here They were far away from America. It wasn’t so easy for them Many soldiers came here and then left, to fight in a war, and their wives and children remained here It means they deserved to have a bit more, you know? – Okay, I’ll take a picture of you with this map I think it’s fantastic So you’re going to stay here in Germany? – I’m retired here. I’m staying It’s nice here We’re supposed to knock down twenty buildings

We’re in the demolition business Building 696: the youth club We started with the guard house and the beverage shop, the daycare center, building 742 And the first American apartment block is also gone now, building 695 with the next one to follow next week, building 689 So, thesepiles of rubble, that used to be the first building, 695 You can see here, the junk is being dismantled separately Behind this there’s a crushing facility to break up the material to a granulate size of 0.60, it goes through a sieving plant in two sizes, one into 0.32 and then into coarse crushed rock up front So, you can see it here now Three employees are working, they’re basically doing the groundwork, removing the furniture, taking the plastics out and removing the lamps and condensers But you can see you have to use a bit of force to be able to shred the solid furniture wood and properly drop it in the container It’s crazy to see everything so deserted here, isn’t it? It’s gigantic If you know how many people used to live here and now it’s nothing but dead silence… I’ll get started So, fellow citizens, decision-makers, I have a very strong personal connection to this place, my entire childhood and youth was spent in Benjamin Franklin Village I was born in Käfertal I also used to work in Benjamin Franklin Village at the Sullivan Barracks I really hope that Franklin Village promotes housing for young people Because I could really imagine moving and living here with my family someday I hope that Franklin is open for the arts Our public petition indicates that we should gather some basic ideas first

So we shouldn’t start by asking the neighbors: What would you like? They want to be left alone Rather, we need to gather fundamental ideas about a modern Mannheim We want fewer fences, but many green areas and playgrounds Basketball courts, tennis courts It would be nice if there was space for all of us, that we could meet someday With a mixture across the borders of wallets and billfolds I really hope that Franklin becomes a very diverse city district in which all people have the opportunity to live and in which affordable living space becomes available again We’ve understood the task at hand ever since, and I must admit I’m pretty proud that the development company for the most part is adhering to it How do we create a diverse, international and interesting Franklin? How do we preserve the names and many other things? Public involvement shouldn’t be restricted to letting a hundred people speak and doing something nice for them, but it’s about providing them with a thorough answer to a specific question Could it now work with the new type of mobility? Who’s going to do the energy calculations for us? How can we ensure that Franklin becomes multicultural and diverse? These are complicated questions We’re going to try selling everything here that is of any value before demolition begins And we’ll try to find the people who also need a great floor like this This is a a Belgian product It’s used and sold for 4 or 5 euros And if we sell them for 2.50, it’ll earn us the first 12,000 euros for the Franklin Store – Dad, over there. Don’t you see that? – Yes, right, they’re for sale too – Over there, the room. That room So, that used to be the washroom, there are old sinks We could try to find someone who’ll buy them… a collector possibly Look, the washing machines were here and there were also a few hand washbasins – Yuck – Yeah, they’re not very nice Some of the other houses have nicer ones The idea is to invite people to dismantle and remove things they need People could remove the doors here along with the frames They’re not set in concrete here, that’s often the case You could disassemble all the kitchen cupboards, and unscrew the kitchen counters You can see here it’s a four-centimeter-thick birch multiplex countertop and there’s also some bathroom medicine cabinets, floor cabinets with a sink All of that will be easy to disassemble Dad? – What? Open the bottle? – Yes – Here you are It’s a clear sign of a consumer society that we’d rather produce new things or make sure that new things are produced instead of ensuring that people have access to stuff like this, people who can’t afford more than just a little bit of money for a countertop or to take a kitchen home The difficult part is that we like to do things simultaneously And this stands in stark contrast to 80% of all the other urban planning projects out there How can I convince a mother who works at Lidl to move here, if she can’t take her child to daycare at 7am? But how do we establish a daycare center that opens at 7am before any children are even living here? The result is that we as a development company have been moving in a squared circle, from investors, the city government, the will of the people, and the political process,

where we often have to face the subcommittee You have to imagine how it could be, and not how it is now What’s it going to look like in the future? And not today. That’s always the power of a vision For example, what’s the traffic situation going to be like around here? So who received an Amazon package in the last eight days? No one? That’s very unusual! Today’s world is a complicated place What is the consequence of Amazon? Today, residential areas are being designed with package receiving stations That sounds all nice and great: A mailbox, the package station, the electricity transformer station, the fire alarm But for planning all of this, we need to consider very early on: What might we need in three years? And then it gets even more complex I always try to avoid using the term “complexity” but it really is incredibly complex and to be honest – I’ve got a few jobs behind my belt – This is by far the most complex job I’ve ever been commissioned to do This mask, it was lying around in the basement It’s still a little wet, it’s still gotta dry out Otherwise I’d put it on Our little mascot The dental clinic is open today Here, a cellphone booth Something else, isn’t it? Sinks, counters that kind of stuff Oh, look over here, here’s the kitchen That’s the real deal here Just great, don’t you think? So, here’s the kitchen The door cylinder’s already gone, already been sold 5 euros How can we best reconcile this connection between openness and private property? And what to do with these thousands of playground items? The beauty of urban planning and architecture is the ability to work together And that you can do something you’ve never done before The chance to shape the unknown and to create enthusiasm there… I’d say that’s the most emotional thing I can think of Mannheim to me is becoming more and more the epicenter of many of my travels Between Amsterdam and Rome, between Paris and Vienna, there’s really just one middle point! I knew it right away: The apartment up there, the one with the rooftop terrace, I’d like to live there I told myself immediately, yeah, that’s definitely the one! So, we basically found three types of apartments,

but quite a large quantity of them And when I put them up for sale on the market, I’ll know for sure that just one specific type of buyer will beinterested and say, “This is just my type of place” I know I’ve got this very small segment of people that I can attract as well as others that I certainly will not attract I can also indirectly determine which income groups will live here Of course, if I only advertise mansion properties, then I get exactly those people who want to have a hillside mansion built Then I’ll get all of those people but no one else That probably wouldn’t be the best thing So it’s certainly about looking at this complex society and ensuring that the town’s urban planning is carried out in a way that people from all walks of life can say, “Yes, this is my town” It’s not supposed to be an isolated “Island of the Fortunate” but rather a genuine piece of Mannheim The grounds currently have 1,480 trees, of which only about half of them, 730 trees are native to the area Whereby not all of them are trees, most of them can be defined as groves Fewer than 50% of them have a treetop diameter of more than 2.5 meters and only about 100 trees are protected by the tree preservation laws established by the City of Mannheim, meaning they are under special protection With regard to the tree list, Ms. Döpner, you mentioned that only trees native to the area would be planted here, but the tree list indicates otherwise So if you would please modify the list, we’d greatly appreciate that The committee in Mannheim in charge of this, AUT, takes care of the zoning map and, this is very important, once a zoning map at Franklin becomes specific, ready to implement, set in stone, regarding the type of streets, the type of houses then it must be officially submitted to and approved by the committee to allow for discussion, public petition, objections, et cetera This procedure is now being commenced The second thing is the issue concerning the high points It has been stated that to date the grounds and the elevation have been specified In the presentation at the Reiss Engelhorn Museum, you talked about HOME, consisting of 4 letters, 4 high points I’ll be honest – I was born in Käfertal – when I have to explain to someone there, there are letters there as a building 48 meters high, everyone says, “You guys are crazy” I can assure that – You can see this from a number of different perspectives, Mr. Sponagel, whether the people say, “You’re crazy” regarding those letters I think more people would say, “You’re crazy to construct old-fashioned square buildings” It all boils down to the real question: “What can be done to preserve this unique landscape of Franklin for the future?” – I’m not really worried about the votes for the axis, against the axis, for the letters or against them But we are the elected representatives of the people and will be required to explain it to them We will have to advocate this to the public and when we as city council members, and I speak for each and every one of us sitting here,

you’ll be asked, “How could you let this happen or why was it built that way?” – What’s important to me is to have – Sure, sure, but Well, it’s top-notch quality, that’s for sure It’s great for packaging, 8mm felt carpet It’s actually a really good quality material, I think for packaging we’ll probably use up a few rolls Let’s move on to the next horror strip back there, what do you say? Vasily! Hello! Where is Vasily? – Vasily – Down there? – Yes! – Good, alright And? Did you close the hole up front? Great job. Excellent. It’s working Vasily is here? We put all the concrete floors and foundations of the buildings that we’ve torn down in the roadway All in here It was a nice day today, we did a workshop with the mayor, city officials,

the quality team and all the investors in order to talk about the opportunities to shape Franklin I think it’s an unbelievably important moment to demonstrate enthusiasm, to understand how public policy today deals with the future It was a moment to talk about boldness in architecture How to incorporate it Not just the old traditional elements It was also a moment to discuss how many old buildings, how many new buildings we make I sense more commonality today than ever before We are talking about one billion euro building construction investments And not at some point way down the road I’m talking about the next few years It will begin with 8,000 people Mannheim has never experienced anything like this before We’re talking about enormous amounts here, at least when added up What we’ve been planning together for the past four years, is by no means a simple, one-dimensional solution Neither one single investor nor one single plan, but instead a highly differentiated set of plans with a group of 20 different types of investors A new city district is set to be established here and be home to 6,000 to 8,000 people And here the political controversy starts: A city district only for certain people that are attracted to and can afford high rents and prices for homes or mansions or is this going to be a part of town that reflects the diversity of the city of Mannheim? We have frequent investor discussions with Mr. Judt from the MWSP These investor talks are also nationwide unique because we developed a certificate for Franklin together so we can discuss qualities and standards with our investors Where they stand with regard to making a contribution to architecture, green spaces and inclusion for example for disabled people, wheelchair accessibility We are quite confident that Franklin will feature the widest range of apartment types in the entire city of Mannheim The architect competition is over But there are questions that need to be asked If it really takes place as intended, the results will be disastrous Because their plan to tear down half of the buildings first and then to increase the density to about three times what it once was, in view of our lack of green areas in the city, as the speaker before me stated, has to be stopped If we let this happen, we’ll have a dreary-looking community here and all these old trees will be gone Trust me, I will fight this Thanks! We’re advocating for the officers’ quarters to remain fully intact, in contrast to the city’s current plans This means none of the buildings will be torn down, no additional buildings will be constructed and in particular no decimation of the trees by 70% You’ll have the opportunity to have a look at two houses Everyone who’s interested in buying something here later should know what he’s getting into and what the basic rules and conditions are You can see that not too many people are living out here I’ve never counted them, maybe twenty houses,twenty families and another eight at Teufelsberg back there We neighbors got together to create a small movement unaffiliated with any political parties I’m pretty sure almost the entire political spectrum is represented in this street We came together to speak out against the plans of the MWSP, especially concerning the officers’ quarters, as we think they are not justifiable One of the neighbors likes to jokingly call this little village the “Island of the Fortunate” We’ve been living in a kind of isolated community for decades No one pays attention to us And nothing has happened here for decades as far as infrastructure is concerned

But that was okay, because it had a bit of an atmosphere of an autonomous community I’m an old history buff and map collector That’s why it never ceases to amaze that this map doesn’t show all of Mannheim, but rather just the northern part And it becomes ever clearer, that this place is huge, it’s just as big as the downtown area And this huge area is not only undergoing development now, but is suddenly, just like a circulatory system, also servicing the area, so to speak Many more people will be driving out into the area, more people will be visiting the Käfertal Forest, and these grounds will offer interesting things to do Franklin will basically be incorporated into the city of Mannheim, but in a novel and productive manner Of course I’m aware that there is always a potential conflict between individual need and public interest But it’s a question of considering both sides I receive between thirty and seventy calls a day It’s incredible Mhm Okay See you in a bit, alright Bye So, this is Oh! This the Wolfsdorf family at work Good – These two lamps. How much are they? – Go ahead and just take them – Good – Yeah, sure.- Okay, great – Mhm Everyone who enters one of the houses looks at it and can’t believe everything that’s being discarded I’ve already sold a metal shack like this With a damaged roof, 150 euros for one People have a need for anything and everything I mean, the beautiful thing about it is that many of these people, they somehow managed to buy a house over the past few years They made a huge find here and have the opportunity to make their houses nicer, spiff them up a bit It’s a rewarding task, really fun If you realize how happy these people are to have the things they’re taking away from here, you know? Hello – Hello Mr.Westner told me that I might be able to take a few drawers for my cabinets from the other two blocks – Yes, exactly. Thanks for letting me know – Could we have another six cabinets for 100 euros? – Sure, fine Excellent – Good You guys saved the day – Bye See you in a bit They’re converting a barn into a workshop And they decided to take a few built-in cupboards The development of our own planning is as turbulent as I’ve never seen before And our very dynamic development is being complicated by the fact that we’re hammering out the purchase agreements only very slowly and arduously Now we’re being confronted with politics at a global scale and within just a few days 6,000 refugees have arrived from all corners of the world and will shape the landscape here in a completely different way than ever before We’re trying to reach a complex compromise to ensure that these people are accommodated and also that the residential development project is carried out as intended I’ll be honest with you

We don’t know for sure how it will turn out What we do know is that if, due to the emergency situation, Franklin had to be used solely to house refugees for three or four years, this would increase the number of people to house by many more thousands, the investors would bail on us, and we’d be forced to go back to the drawing board I am people call me the property manager, but I feel more like the janitor I’m chief cook and bottlewasher around here, at present it’s more security than anything else I open buildings for investors, I basically take care of the small things, and act as a liaison between the construction site and the office I have a lot of buddies just like me who are occupation kids or from mixed families where one parent, mother or father, was a soldier I know quite a few of them There are at least 15 of them in my circle of friends. At least It’s usually the same constellation of a white mother, black father… There’s a lot of that in Mannheim Especially around each of the barracks One of my responsibilities is to remove the mailboxes and then remove the contents There’s a bunch of stuff like reminders, paternity suits, really just about anything you can imagine And then you see a bit of, well, after two years they’re gone and then… They leave a few things behind After the furniture removal crew is done, I go in there and collect lost items from the apartments I’ve found baseball cards from the 1970s, loose change, toys, marbles… You can really find anything in there. Silverware… Anything that falls under the baseboards, behind the cupboard ridges, and things like that I’ve even found maternity records… Really, everything! I’ve been collecting military stuff my entire life I used to go out on the tank practice grounds as a kid and pick up the empty shell cases after the soldiers were done with target practice We traded cap badges and that kind of thing I’ve been doing that my entire life and it’s basically my hobby The father was a soldier here in Mannheim and my mother worked for the Army We used to play around the fence all the time with the Americans and got stuff like pop cans through the holes in the fence I can relate to this much more than say, to the german military That’s why joining the german military was never an option for me There were always soldiers coming to visit us at home

Probably that’s when I became a fan of the U.S. Army It’s crazy. If they were to see everything being demolished here and all the rubble lying around… their flesh and blood ran through this place, crazy all this But that’s just the way things are Part of history Yeah, we’re trying to catch the sheep so we can make our way to Franklin more quickly We don’t have a whole lot of experience with sheep herding Oh, well look here, as long as there’s food… Slow down! Careful, the concrete! Okay, okay, okay Got him! Okay, caught him Charlie is up front! The little ones, look, they’ve never been on a leash before, have they? All of them are still there, come on! Let’s go up here now The tongue! A man came by looking for lockers, clothes lockers And we even found some in a building And he told me about his sheep and I told him, okay, he can have the lockers, but only as a trade for a few sheep Don’t be a chicken! Look, we’re here This is Franklin This place used to house American soldiers and now it’ll be home to Arab refugees I think it’s a little strange, but that’s just the reality of it This used to be a bank, we’ve needed to improvise quite a bit

On the entire premises here And we’ve set it up like this for the refugees We have about 800 people here now and we’ve stopped taking in any more They’re being gradually transferred to other locations, so we can close down this facility Here is the info point for refugees, all the transfers are posted here on a daily basis As I said before, presently around 70 people are resettled into the communities every day And generally everything else like spending money, other appointments, medical checkups, x-ray appointments, are posted here for the refugees Here’s where all the refugees meet and get their information The questions we’ve been confronted with every day have changed over time At first it was: When will we be registered? When will our fingerprints be taken? Then everyone wanted to know: When will the medical checkups take place? What about the x-rays? Now the only real question is: When will I be transferred out of here? When will we finally be out of here? Those who venture to come here have had to cope with just about everything They really have to cope with everything when they come here and are determined to do it, to come here, and make their dreams come true here, I can understand that I understand that. That’s how it is If their dreams don’t come to them, they will venture out to where they can make them come true What’s your name? Luisina? Do you speak German? Where are you from? Syria? Afghanistan? Masha’allah Afghan? Arab? Arabic? Syria? Arabic! Masha’allah You have to admit that Germany really stuck its neck out there They really did a great job The things that happened in the past year… It still amazes me It truly amazes me! There’s still brushwood lying around here!

What was here in front of the building, throw it in the wood container, then it’ll be gone! Zizek! Hello, Zizek – is where? Office? This is the entire ceiling plaster from eight buildings Zizek? – Yes? – Come over here, please! Come here a second! This is a good man, Zizek! My friend! Yes, you too! To me, the worker is the most important man Comes to work in the morning healthy, goes home in the evening healthy Hold on, I need to sign this Done? – No I can’t take the container the way it is – And? What are you gonna do? – Open it up and try to use the earthmover to close it You just can’t bring something like that here Ok, and what now? You fucked up Yes you did This is a major project which I can congratulate all of you on, of course you as the mayor, but also the city of Mannheim In order to render you capable of acting, Dr. Kurz, may I… These are just the master keys for each of the individual barracks Well, I’ll go ahead and pass on this heavy burden This is a new type of a chain of office, exactly! This is the first workshop, the first Franklin Factory since the keys were actually handed over to the city after the purchase agreement took place A city district as large as the entire Mannheim downtown area is being developed all at once The way to school on the Wasserwerkstrasse, is that going to be secured during construction? Are the rules you agreed on accessible to the public? Can you comment on the quality of the soil? Where do you plan to establish connections to the public transportation network? The issue of schools and day care centers, et cetera I’d really like to know the reason why so many of the existing buildings need to be torn down!? The interplay of investment, urban development, large sums, suddenly interjected with bouts of global politics is something I certainly was not expecting I find it quite strenuous, and that’s mildly put The investors groan when we tell them they should preserve existing buildings We would like to preserve as much as possible, because this is the American legacy The normal investors understandably would prefer to level everything and start from scratch, and this is the compromise My name is Markus Hagedorn I’m the CEO of the company ‘Ihr Haus Sahle Massivbau’, and I would like to give all of you a warm welcome to the official sales launch and welcome you to the groundbreaking ceremony here in the officers’ quarters The special part about this location for us is that we’re preserving the old houses on the one hand

and creating living space for new people on the other hand This means moderately increasing the density of buildings, demolishing some of the old houses, but in return creating much more living space for families with young children Ah, okay A bit dusty Okay – There’s not much left I still have a little bit Maybe I can still get another one Nope, I can’t get it in 20 euros Let’s put this one to the side for now – Alright These cost… 50 euros – 50 euros… Well, they’re used of course… No offense but I could get brand new ones at Conrad for 89 euros – Sure, but there’s a considerable difference in quality here – Yeah, okay… – Go ahead and buy them at Conrad then, I don’t really care – No, I’ll take one, just for memory’s sake You have exterior cams as well? – Yes, but make sure to check the connections… I think we’ve got just about half of it behind us The first part consisted of the citizens’ petition, planning, and purchase The second part has begun: Sale, demolition, development And we’re basically in the second half of this now, where the first players are on the field continuously The first apartments will be housing people in just a few weeks, months And then the final stretch will come, which will mark all the elements of Franklin becoming a complete urban construct that will have a great deal to offer and attract people to visit We’re going to turn Franklin into a vibrant place, filled with culture and not just sell the things People should have the opportunity to immerse themselves in art here and I would really like it if a broad spectrum of people were attracted to come here to explore a diverse range of interests There are not many areas in Europe that offer an opportunity as tremendous as this one We don’t have a reset button We can’t just say, let’s go back to zero When I started here, it was like this: I drove here in the morning, door open, went in, door closed, and it felt like I was in the movie ‘I am Legend’ Not a soul to see And now, gradually,

this place is showing signs of life again NO MAN’S LAND The Future of an Abandoned Town