East Looks West

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This video program features two case studies on Europe: Berlin: United We Standand Poland: Diffusion of Democracy.

Berlin: United We Stand explores Berlin, Germany, a city uniquely shaped by superpower rivalries over five decades. The city, its division marked by the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, is a study in contrasts. Differing patterns of land use and transportation, as well as of income and residence, are apparent even today when comparing the eastern and western parts of the city.

This first case study features a French geographer whose work involves a reconnaissance of districts in the former East and West Berlin. Her research helps address questions about how and in what ways the dismantling of the Berlin Wall may lead to the integration of urban areas that formerly were spatially distinct. Berlin is experiencing dramatic transformations in its urban landscape, in part due to the political designation of the city as the capital of a reunited Germany and in part a response to international economic forces. This is especially true along the old boundary separating East and West Berlin, which is now the site of a number of large-scale construction projects.

Updates to Berlin include further discussion of the refurbished Reichstag and its symbolism to reunified Germany, new footage of urban development, and commentary by Dr. Guntram Herb.

Poland: Diffusion of Democracy presents the difficulties facing Poland in its transition from communism to capitalism. This second case study shows how, under the new system, Poles are learning the nuances of discourse, compromise, and civic engagement. The future of Poland's democracy depends on how quickly these skills spread throughout its population. New urban voters have rapidly assimilated these ideas, but rural Poland is plagued by dismal voter turnout. In response, a new government program is attempting to teach the geographic concept of diffusion -- and its carriers and barriers -- in order to speed the pace of change in this newly open society.

Find additional resources, including primary source materials, interactives, and downloadable print materials, at: http://www.learner.org/series/powerofplace/page4.html

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