Michael Grunberg & Tara Smedbøl, 2011

POST-TOUR COMMENT on the DAAD-StudyTour to Hamburg (2011)

Another interest I have, stemming directly from the Hamburg trip, is shipping and trade law. I often recall the presentation by Hapag-Llyod and what an interesting organization it is. I've also contributed an article that talks about urban development and an aboriginal group in BC – and it's been published in a journal called Perspectives Légales Internationales. Though it may not have come through in my limited word space, my time in Hamburg was in the back of my mind while I was writing, specifically how one interacts with and optimizes urban space.

Although we might not have realized it at the time, the tour has certainly had many positive impacts. It has influenced the way we (I speak for Tara and myself) perceive urban space and society. For me, I realized that these discussions were not merely theoretical abstractions from real life, but very
concrete and important steps that we take towards building the kind of cities and future we want to live in. Not only that, but it also reflects current social attitudes to what we value. I think this kind of knowledge and awareness is priceless. Part of me, the dreaming, irrational, unrealistic part of me, wishes I could do the tour again – with a new pair of eyes. I would have asked more questions and have been even thirstier for knowledge. I know that at some points during our time in Hamburg we all probably thought, “Oh god – no more Stadtentwicklung.” Perhaps this is the natural reaction in the face of something we subconsciously recognize to be intrinsically important – we brush it off because it's too much. Still, when I think back on it, the intensity and the multiplicity of perspectives I gained from my time there has continued to make me think, and I think act, in ways that are indicative of the world that I want to be a part of in the future. It's for this reason that I wanted to thank you, John Paul and Ulrich, and let you know that your efforts have been much appreciated, even if many months after.