Date of Award

Spring 6-10-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of arts (BA)


Global Honors

First Advisor

Ph. D. Lisa Hoffman



U.S. military bases are widely present in Germany and dominate territorial urban spaces in the metropolitan regions since WWI. The cultural interaction and the city's formation have imprinted on the lived experiences creating identities through people’s daily interactions with the built environment, both directly and indirectly In combination, the U.S. military dominating presence left behind voids that have caused a rupture in the lived environment and social production of spaces throughout communities and neighborhoods in Germany, particularly in Mannheim, the focus of this study. The U.S. military sites are as interruptive as their counterpart the military brownfields and require the same attention and thought. Even though these abandoned fields might assimilate into municipal plans, fading into the background, they carry a destructive past beneath the surface waiting to seep to the top, altering identity and social formations. The interconnection of decommissioned military sites and the social implications on the local community is understudied in the existing literature and should be expanded.

This paper argues that the social implications of spatial changes related to former U.S. military bases are not integrated into the narrative of the U.S. military base’s recuperation. The lack of connecting the implications of identity formations with the economic and environmental context ruptures the landscape from its memory in the current literature. My focus is on the Mannheim region in Germany which was predominantly occupied by the U.S. military as a node of commanding headquarters. I draw on the works of Allan Pred and gather data from federal reports and existing communal voices from local municipalities in a post-military era. Further, I examine existing German and English literature to connect the missing context to link the social implications of reclaiming public spaces. This paper’s contribution is to expand our understanding of post-military presence and its complexity of integration, placemaking, and the collective memory of historical landscapes.


Refection of Identity

“The story told in this paper will lead you through a contrasting world of spaces. Spaces that have been a large part of my life and many others. I have lived on both sides of these military fences and each space created my identity influencing how I see the world. It was the separation of places that conflicted with my personal narrative and made it difficult to express who I am and belong. These uncomfortable spaces tell a story and call attention to our reality of spatial formation that is often unspoken.”