Localizing cultural infrastructures

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Festivals as infrastructures in public space

Festival M. Müller-Gmelin
Festival flags
Festival M. Müller-Gmelin
Festival im Karlsruher Tollhaus


Urban planning and the multi-scalar challenges of locating cultural infrastructures

In the last 40 years, alternative cultural institutions have been founded in many cities as a local response to the social and urban crises of the post-war years. Originally started as grassroots movements, these institutions now play an important role in the local cultural landscape of many cities. The infrastructures provide accessible and permanent spaces for conviviality, cultural empowerment and the negotiation of community concerns.

Using the example of the Karlstorbahnhof, a socio-cultural centre in the of Heidelberg, Germany, we seek to understand the evolving ways political and social relations are formed, negotiated and challenged through cultural infrastructures. By analysing newspaper coverage, policy documents and interviews with stakeholders from urban planning, city administration, community work and resident populations, we map and evaluate shifting planning discourses and forms of embeddedness in the processes of de- and re-localisation.



Mager, C. (2000): Kommunale Kulturpolitik und lokale Kulturarbeit. Dynamik und Entwicklungen des soziokulturellen Zentrums ‚Karlstorbahnhof‘ in Heidelberg. In: Journal der Heidelberger Geographischen Gesellschaft (HGG-Journal) 15, 164-183.


Der Karlstorbahnhof in der Heidelberger Altstadt, 2001 U. Förster
Das Kulturhaus Karlstorbahnhof in der Heidelberger Altstadt, 2001
M. Wagner
Der neue Standort des Karlstorbahnhofs: Arbeiten zum Umbau der ehemalige Kutschenhalle auf dem Gelände der Campbell Baracks in der Heidelberger Südstadt

Location structures of cultural facilities

Data on cultural institutions in Germany are characterised by a high degree of heterogeneity in terms of availability and analytical comparability. Against the backdrop of ongoing discussions about equitable socio-spatial services of general interest, there is a lack of quantifiable and qualifiable bases that go beyond the provision of technical facilities to focus on those offerings that make everyday social life possible, including educational and cultural facilities. Our aim is to comprehensively map and analyse the location structures of cultural infrastructures in Germany.



Mager, C., Wagner, M. (2022): Kulturelle Infrastrukturen in deutschen Klein- und Mittelstädten. Eine Typisierung der Standortgemeinschaften von Einrichtungen der kulturellen Daseinsvorsorge. In: Raumforschung und Raumordnung | Spatial Planning and Research 80(4), 379-396.

Wagner, M., Mager, C. (2021): Kleine Städte, k(l)eine kulturelle Ausstattung? In: Nationalatlas aktuell 15 [10.2021] 6.

Mager, C.; Freytag, T.; Hoyler, M. (2018): Soziokulturelle Einrichtungen in Deutschland – zeitliche Dynamik und räumliche Muster. In: Nationalatlas aktuell 12 [08.2018] 4.

Mager, C. (2017): Was liegt wo und weshalb? Standortstrukturen kultureller Einrichtungen in der Peripherie. In: KM Magazin - Kultur und Management im Dialog, Nr. 126 (September 2017), 7-10.

Mager, C. (2014): Alternative kulturelle Einrichtungen in deutschen Städten und Gemeinden – ein Beitrag zur Kritik ökonomischer Perspektiven auf Kreativräume. In: Raumforschung und Raumordnung 72(4), 477-489.