The Christkindlsmarkt in Nuremberg has a very narrow range of stalls. Good if you want to sell prune men, straw stars or wooden toys. This stall seems to break the rules and kowtow to commercialism.

A group of Americans spotted it with cries of ‘Knut!’ – obviously not realizing this is Flaky Bear.

Building plans in Fürth/Neue Mitte 2

The mayor, Thomas Jung, had another online chat session on November 25, and the transcript can be found on the town website (via Rathaus, Oberbürgermeister, OB-Chat, Podiumsprotokoll – a PDF file).

19:20:35 tausendein: Ich finde das Projekt Neue Mitte sehr gut, und die einzige Chance für Fürth nachhaltig etwas zu bewegen. Um die Comerzbank und Fiedler sind es nicht schade. Schlecht ist aber wirklich die Sperrung der Breitscheidstr. kann man das nicht untertunneln? So wäre doch ein großes Problem beseitigt?

19:21:32 OB Jung: Die Breitscheidstr. bleibt ohne jeden Verweil- oder Kaufzwang für alle Menschen durchgängig und offen zwischen ca. 6 Uhr und ca. 2 Uhr nachts, d.h. an voraussichtlich 20 h pro Tag. Dies ist für 99,9% aller Passantenströme ausreichend.

There is some discussion as to how to save the City Center, a similar project that was never very good, but is now a complete failure. But the discussion doesn’t really get into the topic of what Fürth will be like if a whole street is blocked off and then the Neue Mitte gradually becomes less attractive.

neuemitte: Müßte ein Projekt wie die neue Mitte in einer Stadt, die sich als Solar- und Denkmalstadt bewirbt, nicht sehr behutsam entschieden werde? Eine Energieschleuder, der auch noch viele Häuser zum gefallen sind, wäre da soch eher kontraproduktiv, oder? Warum wird dann so wenig Dialog mit den BürgerInnen gesucht?

19:37:27 OB Jung: Das Projekt wird ja diskutiert und behutsam vom Investor betrieben. Viele Pläne wurden schon geändert. So bleibt das frühere Hypo-Bank-Gebäude vollständig erhalten. Viele Bürger melden sich und wünschen sich die Neue Mitte. Ein Arbeitnehmerbeirat und ein Wirtschaftsbeirat, also Arbeitgeber und -nehmer der Stadt, fordern sie in großem Gleichklang. Die einzelhandelsverbände, die in anderen Städten solche Projekte massiv bekämpfen, wünschen sich die Erneuerung der Innenstadt als Einkaufsstadt in diesem Bereiche. Wir werden auch noch öffentliche Anhöreungen durchführen, sobald konkrete Architektenvorschläge vorliegen.

Well, the retailers have had their chips anyway after two years of resurfacing the pedestrian zone, and in view of the trend of the times.

19:37:55 name: Ich find das Projekt Neue Mitte sehr gut, es bringt etwas ganz Neues in die Innenstadt. Egal auch ob da ein Denkmal draufgeht (wovon das wichtigste – der Saal – erhalten bleibt), Fürth hat schließlich noch andere Denkmäler die sehenswerter sind als so ein Hotel. Lassen Sie sich auch nicht von Stadtheimpflegern oder so einschüchtern und halten Sie an dem Projekt fest :)

19:39:42 OB Jung: Das Parkhotel wurde nie unter Denkmalschutz gestellt. Das Gebäude stellt selbst eine Verletzung des Denkmalschutzes dar. Herr Meier klärt leider nicht vollständig auf. Er müsste großes Interesse haben, dass Schandflecke wie das Kinogelände Verbesserungen erfahren. Schauen Sie sich einfach im dortigen Hofbereich einmal um und Sie werden richtig erschrecken. Ich halte an meiner Überzeugung grundsätzlich immer fest, freue mich aber auch, wenn es gute Vorschläge gibt, die die Dinge voranbringen. Billige Pauschalablehnung aber hilft nicht weiter.

I haven’t actually seen any billige Pauschalablehnung myself.

One thing would be interesting – if this development comes about, will there be comfortable seats inside the centre, unlike in the rest of the pedestrian zone? If they had big seats like at Lakeside, they would not be happy with many Turks and Russians congregating on these for a chat.


The BBC reported on this Lapland-style theme park a few days ago.

It’s been shut down now, but apparently there are others – see today’s Guardian.

What their parents may not know is the reindeer aren’t coming, the huskies are in fact a “similar looking” breed of dog and, in a last minute change of plan, the ice rink has been replaced with “a rollerskating platform”. Trading standards officers who will attend the opening, said yesterday they had “serious concerns”.

The Lapland based just outside Wolverhampton, which the organisers say will attract 3,000 paying customers a day, is composed of several marquees in a muddy field normally used for car boot sales, which overlooks the M54.

Of course, what with global warming, this may be what Lapland looks like nowadays.

Building plans in Fürth/Neue Mitte 1

The plans for a huge shopping centre in Fürth have even reached the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:

Fürth will es mit Nürnberg aufnehmen: in Sachen Konsum. Dazu bedarf es eines großen Einkaufszentrums, das im Herzen der Stadt entstehen soll. Ein portugiesischer Investor will einen Riesenkomplex mit 25.000 Quadratmetern Verkaufsfläche, Restaurants und Kino bauen. Dafür soll nach ersten Plänen fast ein komplettes Viertel samt denkmalgeschützter Häuser dem Erdboden gleichgemacht werden.

Trotzdem sind Wirtschaft und Politik von dem Projekt hellauf begeistert. Das sei „wie ein Sechser im Lotto“, sagt Christian Nowak von der lokalen Industrie- und Handelskammer – gerade, weil die Investoren in Fürth nicht Schlange stünden. Nowak glaubt, die sogenannte Neue Mitte könne wie „ein Magnet wirken“, der Kunden anlocke und von dem auch der Einzelhandel profitiere.

(Fürth wants to compete with Nuremberg, with a huge shopping centre in the town centre … almost a complete district, including listed buildings, is to be flattened (if the project goes ahead).
But businesses and politicians are thrilled – they say it’s like winning the lottery – could be a magnet attracting consumers, who will then help the retailers.)

Some opposition is forming, although I gather it is split. There are some extreme left-wing groups who would probably not gather popular support if they were in charge of the opposition. The latest circular from Dr. Alexander Mayer, the Stadtheimatpfleger, the local ‘guardian of cultural heritage’ (best translation I’ve found so far), has a few pictures of what things might look like. It also presents some evidence from elsewhere on the failure of such projects to help the present retailers. As for a tender for the building: the potential investor, Sonae Sierra, is having four captive architects of its own choice compete with their plans!

One or two remarks on this:

Fürth never has had a centre – it gradually grew from the west over a longer period of time. It has at least three centres. So there was no Alte Mitte.

Many small shopkeepers are worried about not making enough money. I fear that is happening everywhere and is an unstoppable process. Some of them think the Neue Mitte would bring them more trade, but I wouldn’t be so sure.

My feelings: even if the scheme were promising, I think it’s unacceptable for Rudolf-Breitscheid-Straße to be in private hands. It’s obvious that the investor insists on this: only if all the people who walk along that road are captives of the shopping centre will they go ahead. Hence the mayor says: it’ll only be closed from about 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. I don’t think that’s the point – the point is that the investor can close the street off at all. Even if those closing hours could be guaranteed for ever, it would be no good.

As for the buildings that are to go, that worries me less. That is, if the scheme were good, I would be prepared to give them up. FAZ says: practically a whole district. The OB (mayor) says: the Park Hotel is not listed (but I quite like the 1950s façade); Fiedler and the Commerzbank would be no loss (Fiedler is a big former department store, and apart from one section adjoining the Park Hotel, it looks perfectly OK to me; the Commerzbank really is horrible). Of course, the Sonae Sierra architecture will be of the kind that will look ugly in ten years’ time, like the former Gänsberg buildings. The OB has now been calling the land behind the cinema (Wölfel-Areal) a Schandfleck (a blemish, an eyesore). Now in fact no-one sees that area at all unless they poke their noses in. (See my pictures, posted earlier). There are a number of smallish listed buildings opposite the Commerzbank that are really nice, with small shops in them that are doing well: that would be the main sacrifice.

Now the word Schandfleck has been moving around Fürth as long as I can remember. The main one used to be opposite my flat, where the car park building now is. It was an open area used as a car park, where people who’d bought beer at Aldi used to urinate. Most recently it was the back yards of buildings where the Casa Erhard has now been built. I think it’s a poor argument that suddenly demonizes buildings and areas that are either perfectly acceptable or hidden from public view.

See earlier entry.

English case reports online/Alte englische Entscheidungen online

English case reports dating from 1220 to 1873 now online without charge. (They’re available at a price at Justis).

They are hosted by the Commonwealth Legal Information Institute.

The English Reports collect old cases. The earliest of them first appeared in year books. Later reports appeared under the name of the reporter. See Wikipedia on Law report.

via Geeklawyer

Chitty on Contracts

The new edition of Book 1 of Chitty on Contracts is out – I must admit it won’t be on my Christmas list.

There is a nice review at Informationoverlord.

As you might expect Mr Chitty has managed to pack much more into the latest edition, so volume 1 runs for 2261 pages (as opposed to a mere 1967 in the 29th edition) , whilst volume 2 runs to 1928 (1785 in the 29th Edition). I should say here, that even back in the day, Mr C was not short of a word or two as this 3rd Edition (often cited at the classic edition) attests to. Only one volume needed back then, but still a respectable 976 pages

The Book cover is still grey with a “knobbly, elephant-skin-like” feel (copyright Jaffne), but the nice racing green of Edition 29 has been ditched in favour of a kind of Red/Orange colour for the faux name plate in Edition 30.

Via John Bolch

Court of Appeal and Bundesgerichtshof citation patterns

Citation Patterns of the German Federal Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal of England and Wales
Mathias M. Siems
University of East Anglia, Norwich Law School; University of Cambridge, Centre for Business Research

This paper presents citation statistics on decisions of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales (CA) and the German Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH) for the last 55 years. This data is used in order to identify whether the citation patterns of the CA and the BGH reflect the conventional comparative perceptions about the English and German legal system. For instance, it is addressed how often the CA and the BGH cite the highest national and European courts and higher foreign courts from different legal families. The paper also examines the cross-citations between the highest courts of the United Kingdom (House of Lords, Court of Appeal of England and Wales, Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland, Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary).

Keywords: Court of Appeal of England and Wales, German Federal Supreme Court, Bundesgerichtshof, citation patterns, foreign case law, constitutionalization, Europeanization, numerical comparative law

Actually, having a quick look at this 20-page PDF file, I was mystified by ‘citations to higher courts’. Apparently this is American usage for ‘references to’.

Via Legal History Blog


How often do people call the city Mumbai and how often Bombay?

The Media Guardian used Google Insights to show the relative use in ninety days by British web users – the use of Mumbai has greatly increased in the past days. There’s a breakdown by region and a map too.

Alexander Svensson at Wortfeld tried it out for Germany. The results are strikingly different from those in Britain.

The Guardian article also quotes the style guides of various newspapers and comments on their practice. It seems that Bollywood is not to become Mollywood.

Times Online is still using the word Bombay but it seems times are changing. A memo from a senior editor emailed to Times staff today and seen by reads:

“Key to policy at The Times on the usage of place names is that they are adjudged to be recognisable to a majority of our readers. After the events that started on Wednesday the name Mumbai has been used extensively in other media to which our core British readership is exposed.

“It would be foolish to ignore that context. We also have a global online audience to consider.

“We will be changing our style from December 1, so that we also use Mumbai for the city that we have previously referred to as Bombay. On occasion, it will be appropriate still to use a phrase such as ‘formerly known as Bombay’. In the meantime we will adopt a formula that talks of ‘Bombay, also known as Mumbai’.

“We will carry on considering place names, case by case, in a pragmatic way. So, in the Indian context, we will continue with Calcutta and Madras unless and until there appears to be an equally strong case for change. The linguistic heritage of what we will call Mumbai will live on in references to Bombay duck, Bombay gin and, of course, Bollywood.”