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type of New Town:
> scale of autonomy
Schwedt is the third Company Town of the GDR, located in the Halle region, to the north of Frankfurt am Oder, in the North-East of Germany. Until the fifties Schwedt was an insignificant small town, but after the war it became relevant for the chemical industry of the GDR. Schwedt had a strategic position nearby a chemical factory and at the endpoint of the oil-pipeline coming from the Soviet Union, which made cooperation with Poland and Russia possible. The SED decided at the congress in 1958 to expand the industrial area and to build new residences close to the historical centre of Schwedt and Oderbruch.
Urban plan and design
The chief architect architect Selman Selmanagic (1905-1986) designed an urban plan with a radial structure and a facility centre in the middle of the city. Around the centre four housing quarters with circa 10,000 to 20,000 inhabitants and a quarter for future developments were planned. A 1,5 kilometre long and 86 metre wide major axis that run at right angles to the river formed the basic element of the city. The allee was connected to the tree main roads that enclosed the city: the present Verradener Caussee, the Karl Teichmann Strasse and the Werner Seelenbinder Strasse that leaded to the oil factory complexes at the North-West side of the city. Selmanagic designed housing slabs along radiated streets and directed these towards the centre. The second quarter, to the west side of the major axis, had a semi-circular form. Near the centre also a stadium was build. The first three districts were planned to the south of the central axis with rigid four-storey high housing slabs with a repetition of the same types of apartment houses, in total 7440 for 25,000 inhabitants. The only way to realize such a high density in a short amount of time was by mass production according to the Platttenbau method. Because of the prefabrication of building elements and the limited supply of materials only a minimum of variation was possible. This resulted in the same monotonous housing districts as was the case in Hoyerswerda. Between the slabs green belts were made for communal use. The building slabs, placed in North-South and East-West direction, formed courtyards, for a more intimate character.
After the first housing quarters were built in 1964, Richard Paulick (1903-1979) took over the lead. He made an expansion on the higher Talsandterasse between the oil factory and the city for 25,700 inhabitants (district VI and VII). He designed a sports and recreation area between the expansion and the existing town. A bus line was planned to go to the larger service centre of the city. Roads for these busses and cars were laid out separated from the pedestrian paths. The density of the newer districts was higher, the courtyards were more enclosed and the buildings were much longer (100 to 150 meters). Paulick designed landmarks of eleven-storey high complexes and school- and Kindergarten that could repeatedly be implemented in the city districts. The repetition of building types made construction easier, cheaper and faster. The housing form and building height was determined by scientific methods. The distance between the building slabs was 2,5 times the height, so that enough sun could enter the interiors of the apartment houses. The amount of green parcels was equally spread over the city. This was the only way the houses would fit best to the needs of the inhabitants. The buildings of the sixties consisted of more differentiation in design and building type and were connected to facility buildings. In the eighties building density was again increased, but the planned amount of 60,000 inhabitants was not realized. In 1994 the population measured almost more than 48,500 inhabitants. In the nineties the densification continued and the old buildings were redeveloped.
In 1997 fifteen percent of the buildings were empty, because of a departure of inhabitants. They left the city because of the unemployment. Because of the euro the shops became to expensive and without incomes the retailers had to move. The only measures the municipality can take is dismantling the empty building complexes at the borders of the city. In 2006 already 6,000 houses were demolished and more than thousand people moved, but the infrastructure and facilities do not suit with a smaller amount of inhabitants.