DOI link for Introduction
About a year after large parts of Dresden’s inner city were destroyed in the bombing attack of February 1945, the new municipal government issued an open competition to draft “the New Dresden.” Residents alongside urban planners participated and took up claims of postwar democratization. 1 Among them, the codirector of the city’s famous health education facility, the German Hygiene-Museum, felt compelled to sketch a “proposal for the fundamental redevelopment” of the city. The trained physician and social hygienist Rudolf Neubert found the “baroque town” to be “beyond recovery.” In his new Dresden, “equal housing” should spread from a central “Democracy Square” opposite the few remains of the old town’s center. 2 His plan did not only aim to represent a new beginning or to distribute scarce resources through a housing program, but also to affect people’s bodies and minds. “Therefore, not only calculating rationality or the accomplishments of technology but the mind is decisive.” 3 While Neubert claimed to break with the legacies of the royal residence, failed republicanism, and fascism, his democratic architecture drew upon a conglomerate of prewar medicine and psychological knowledge, an admiration of the garden city movement as well as socialist ideals of educating the conduct and feelings of the “New Man” through 2architecture. Yet in those early years the relationship between socialism and democracy was still unclear.