Last Friday, 5th December 2014, the closing event of the research project “Regional Building Culture and Tourism” took place in Wittenberg (Saxony-Anhalt). Despite busy schedules in December around 60 interested people found their way into a newly constructed, modern townhouse in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg.
Pecha Kucha as modern slide show
After a general introduction by Anke Brummer-Kohler (Head of Urban Development, Housing, Public Building Law at the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety) and the introduction to the topic by Anca Cârstean (Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development), we presented the eight examined national examples. For this, we chose the presentation format of “Pecha Kucha”, which comes from Japan and favors spontaneous and short presentations: In fact, each lecture is limited to 16 to 20 charts/images and each image is only shown for exactly 25 seconds. In a way it resembles a modern slide show. We as speakers were therefore encouraged to optimize our presentations to the constantly changing images and not to start “prattling”. It turned out that 25 seconds are just quite short!
After the lunch break, that was widely used for an exchange between the participants, we finally presented the research results. It was particularly important to us, to explain the aspects that are significant on the way to become a successful Tourism and Baukultur region:
- Identification and visualization of Baukultur
- Further Development of region-specific Baukultur
- To talk jointly as part of regional Baukultur
- Qualification in the fields of Baukultur and tourism
- Integration of Baukultur in tourism strategies and marketing
- High quality building as a tourist product
Active panel discussion
This was followed by a lively panel discussion in which the participating tourism and Baukultur experts exchanged their opinions:
The connection between the two disciplines was rated by everyone as fruitful and with great potential – Reiner Nagel (Chairman of the National Foundation for Baukultur) even spoke of the “integral of Baukultur and tourism”. Communication was rated particularly important by the participants, i.e. the joint talk stimulates the knowledge of what the other side thinks and does. Great importance should also be placed on a respectful relationship, in which communication must be practiced. “A common language for a common goal.” (Bettina Quäschning, IMG Saxony-Anhalt). The meetings between tourism professionals and Baukultur stakeholders were also referred to as “therapy sessions” (Dr. Stefan Rhein, director of the Luther Memorial Foundation of Saxony-Anhalt). However, the focus should not only lie on the communication between each other, but also the citizens and people on-site should be included in the process (Joachim Brenncke, president of the architectural association Mecklenburg-West Pommerania).
Michael Volgger (EURAC Research, South Tyrol) described Baukultur and tourism as the “interface par excellence between locals and guests; past, present and future; collective and common goods; including sectors like industry, trade or commerce”. Furthermore, Baukultur could be used as a stage for regional identities in order to differentiate from competitors.
In addition, the question was raised what good Baukultur actually is and how quality can be measured. Local building policies could make a helpful contribution to this. Furthermore, it was stated that “modern architecture is the best preservationist” (Dr. Rhein).
In particular in the context of tourism, the term “Baukultur“ is rather difficult and is rarely used as such. The term should be filled with more effective content. Tourism professionals also need “orientation in the form of national mission statements” (Dieter Hütte, Managing Director TMB).
On the right way
You can tell: the issue was discussed intensively. This shows that it offers a high potential for future collaboration between the two disciplines of Baukultur and tourism.
But basically it is agreed: “Baukultur professionals make tourism and tourism professionals make Baukultur. The two disciplines share just one living environment! “(Michael Volgger).
Well, we are still at the beginning and the final report (that will be published right in time for the ITB in March 2015) provides an important impetus. Ending with the closing words of Anca Cârstean: “We now know each other, we can learn from each other and must take the advantage of the ´storytelling’ in tourism in order to focus on the similarities of Baukultur and tourism.”
On behalf of the research team, we once again thank all dialogue partners for the exciting conversations and stories, as well as all the participants of the event for their interest.
In the future, we will keep you up to date with our new blog: www.baukultour.de!