To: “Noisy revelers keep police busy on Saturday” and “City wants to ban glass” (BZ from June 21-22):
“Parties” in the Old Synagogue Square – deterioration? To answer the question, let’s differentiate between three types of places: transit places, i.e. traffic intersections (Europaplatz in Freiburg), empty places (in front of the castle) and places to stay.
Nobody celebrates in transit places. Empty spaces keep the look of something special. The square is a platform for a special object, do not step on the stage. We wait with the picture until the place is empty. Then we move to the edge of the square, and not in the middle – and there is no place to celebrate either.
Old Synagogue Square has many property features. It is easily accessible in a restricted traffic area. Close enough adjoining buildings give the square the feel of a more enclosed space, but with open access.
All this is an invitation to stay. Once people come together in such a place, they attract other people, strangers get close, it is just a small step to celebrate together.
The square’s memorial character is not evident in light of its design. Traces that we can immediately identify stand in our way, often physically, at least visually.
We might stay in places like this, but instinctively we don’t celebrate. The Old Synagogue Square lacks contraindications for celebration. Not so at Münsterplatz. In addition to the fact that a religious site cannot be overlooked, the extent of social control is much higher there: pedestrians walk across the square, visitors to the restaurant sit on the edge, and the surrounding buildings have many windows facing the square. Anyone celebrating there is an observer.
On the other hand, Old Synagogue Square allows for anonymity. You can keep your distance from traffic lanes, and once enough people gather, everyone gets swamped and the barriers drop.
Instead of bans, we should talk about creating inhibitions next – not an easy task, but a solvable one.
Hans Habeke, Freiburg
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