Christian Thomas (in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung – one of the biggest daily newspapers in Frankfurt = FAZ, Nr. 65, 17. March 2007, p. 19) asserted that Frankfurt is a place of contradictions, that contrasts are the overwhelming reality of this metropolis. Architecture would be responsible for this condition, and therefore the citizens depend on an urban attitude to life in order to keep grounded. He stated that Frankfurt is permanently stress inducing („Global City Stress“). Frankfurt would be the most formidable german ‚boomtown“ of contemporaneity of the non-contemporary („Gleichzeitigkeit des Ungleichzeitigen„).
For me it’s a little bit surprising, because contrast, stress and tensions ought to be mannerism of lots of cities. Every place has its history through time, a seeable and readable landscape. As time goes by, cities are changing habitats. They are inherently changeable, as if they were built on sand. And people are coming and going….. The planning and development of a city is a very complex process, with lots of actors, which are themselves changing (due to elections), and so the arguments, beliefs and guidelines. Maps are important tools in and for this process. There are maps for the future, for example the so-called „Hochhausrahmenplan“ (a map or plan, which is prescribing which and where high-rise buildings could be constructed in the near-future). For C. Thomas the evolution of the Hochhausrahmenplan is symptomatic for the Frankfurt ‚Global City Stress‘. Indeed, the Hochhausrahmenplan is one-of-a-kind in Germany, but discussions about new buildings (shopping-center, office-buildings, remediations, bridges and so on), city development initiatives in general, certainly are not unique. Furthermore, the Hochhausrahmenplan is mapping the future, like the older versions did. Future maps should not be confounded with the bearing on present or past conditions representations of other maps. Future maps are a little bit more like projections, szenarios, blueprints, conceptions, delineations, and therefore are less obligatory, more fluid, ambigous and insecure.
From my point of view the attitude of analysing Frankfurt as a boomtown, global city or whatsoever is stress-inducing, the ceaseless, closed-loops, by which trying to construct or deconstruct Frankfurt as the one and only german postmetropolis, an international transnationalized (americanized or degermanized, european or over-european?) node in the postmodern global network of world cities. Frankfurt, true to say, is not like other cities. Yet almost every city is comparable, but distinguishable from another. Frankfurt – not more nor less.
If you are not sure, what meant to you to be a Frankfurt citizen, if you agonise over the question, if your hometown is a global city, my diagnosis is: restrained curiosity, not stress. My recommendation: Join the Eintracht Frankfurt fan community (if it’s to crowdy or bizarre, vote for FSV Frankfurt, another football-team). This football-team and its adventures have the ability to conciliate a Frankfurt attitude. But beware of the more authentic form of stress, the so-called Diva-vom-Main-Stress. One link for first informations about the new ‚Hochhausrahmenplan‚.