Landscape of the Car
Sandra Koestler

In times not so long ago, urban highways and elevated roads were regarded as symbols of modernity and an efficient method to cope with the mass motorization in the latter half of the 20th century.

Ludwigshafen am Rhein was one of the first German cities to implement the American way of car-centric urban planning. Starting in 1957, two elevated roads were built to bypass the crowded roads of the city below in order to guarantee the free flow of motorized vehicles. As a result, the inner city of Ludwigshafen is now encircled by a closed system of elevated roads. An average of 40.000 cars passed these roads each day. Under this heavy traffic, the former symbols of progress show decay, they started to crumble and are expensive to maintain. They are now a thing from the past, not easy to get rid of and thus still shaping the urban fabric.

Landscape of the Car is a project based on walking as a way to make sense of space. With a focus on the immediate surroundings of the two elevated roads – the non-descript places directly underneath or around, that only exist as a consequence of the road above – I explored the car-centric urban fabric of Ludwigshafen from a pedestrians perspective. While walking a city that is not meant for walking, I wanted to find out how these massive pieces of carchitecture constitute space and spatial experiences.