Dean Rohrer

Urbane Identitäten

PEKING – Was ist das große Thema unserer Zeit? Die Antwort auf diese Frage hängt zwar vom jeweiligen Tag ab, aber wenn wir in Jahrhunderten denken, gilt die Urbanisierung der Menschheit sicher als eines dieser Themen. Heute lebt mehr als die Hälfte der Weltbevölkerung in Städten, während es im Jahr 1800 nur 3 Prozent waren. Bis 2025 soll es allein in China 15 „Megastädte“ geben, in denen jeweils mindestens 25 Millionen Menschen leben. Ist die Sorge der Sozialkritiker hinsichtlich einer anonymen Einsamkeit in Großstädten berechtigt?

Zwar können Städte nicht jenes intensive Gemeinschaftsgefühl vermitteln, das oftmals das Leben in Dörfern und Kleinstädten prägt, aber in Städten bildet sich eine andere Art von Gemeinschaft. Die Menschen sind vielfach stolz auf ihre Städte und versuchen die charakteristische städtische Kultur zu pflegen.

Der Stolz auf die eigene Stadt hat eine lange Geschichte. In der Antike identifizierten sich die Athener mit dem demokratischen Charakter ihrer Stadt, während die Spartaner stolz auf die Reputation ihrer Stadt hinsichtlich militärischer Disziplin und Stärke waren. Natürlich sind die heutigen Stadtgebiete riesig, vielfältig und pluralistisch und daher mag die Behauptung seltsam erscheinen, wonach eine moderne Stadt einen Charakter hat, der das kollektive Leben ihrer Bewohner prägt.

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