Urban Repair Manifesto

Noble and respected urban designers, students, craftsmen, workers, vagabonds, people of all countries, it is time to unite! In the name of all those who take urban growth seriously, today I will make a declaration that will provoke agitation in this room. I hope this will not touch upon your physical well-being, however, what we have to say here, will feel like you would hit yourself on the thumb with a hammer. We have decided to understand cities and growth as one big repair project. We have found repair, what we do is repair and what we are is repair. At the same time, we do not know what repair is, we do not know what it means. Repair is real only when something breaks down. Repair is design work at whose origin is not the human mind, but a moment of failure or degrowth. Repair is change based on erroneous premises. We want to change our understanding of the city with repair, we want to change design with repair, we want to bring war to an end with repair. We have gathered here without intention to make things better or to entertain you. And as we wait until something breaks down, until we can take action, we do not have to be enemies. In the moment in which you have overcome your intellectual resistance and have accepted repair as fundamental principle of urban transformation, we will unite and be best friends. Your children and your children’s children will thank you!
(This manifesto is a paraphrase of Richard Helsenbecks ‘Erklärung’ in the Cabaret Voltaire in spring 1916 (Riha, 1992, page 29). I have read aloud this Manfesto in the Urban Mutations on the Edge Seminar “Degrowth” on 4.4.2016)