Romerstadt: The modern garden city

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13 Scopus citations


The settlement of Romerstadt was a primary achievement of the 'New Frankfurt' initiative, the urban expansion and housing programme headed by the architect Ernst May in Frankfurt am Main during the later years of the Weimar Republic. In all of Europe, only Berlin built more social housing than Frankfurt. In six years, between l926 and l932, May and his design team re-housed over 10% of Frankfurt's population, some 60,000 people in 15,000 units of housing and 14 new settlements. The programme was perhaps even more significant as a crucible for social-reform initiatives that generated myriad experiments in new building types, landscapes and industrial design products. Among all its projects, the settlement of Romerstadt is recognized as the crowning achievement, the most complete realization of the programme's ideal. Romerstadt incorporated the best in technical advances: the rationalized household, electricity, central heating and cable radio, as well as the exemplification of 'New Life' reforms: a model school, and an intricate landscape plan of allotment gardens and parks. The settlement reflected both new attitudes towards leisure and modernity, and romantic ideals of the consolation of nature. This article surveys its design and contemporary history to elucidate a complex vision of Weimar aspirations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-346
Number of pages24
JournalPlanning Perspectives
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Ernst May
  • Frankfurt am Main
  • Garden city
  • Housing
  • Settlement design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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