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Creating the Revolving Restaurant; Planning a United Berlin

Welcome to Curbed's weekly roundup of architecture, real estate, and urban planning-related feature stories. Please be in touch if you have a story to recommend.

1. The 1960s saw, among many other curiosities, the rise of the revolving restaurant. Gizmodo has a delightful history of these restaurants and an explanation of their engineering.

Rotating a floor, as it turns out, isn't particularly technically complicated. Mickey Steinberg, a structural engineer on several notable John Portman hotel projects (the leafy, atrium-laden designs found in many U.S. cities) explained in a recent interview that the engineering requirements of the revolving structure became quite simple. A mechanism perfected by a Connecticut firm called Macton built the "turntables" for most American and several international revolving restaurants (its only competitor even today is the Chinese firm Weizhong, which has dominated Asian construction and is growing rapidly). 2. A quarter-century after the reunification of Germany, NPR looks at how German planners' "concerted effort to erase the divisions between two Berlins" have affected residents of the eastern part of the city:

She worries about a 1993 master plan by German architect Hans Kollhoff. It was approved by the government and calls for 10 high-rise towers in and around the square, although investors shied away from erecting any during a decade-long economic slump. Lompscher says it now it appears that plans are moving ahead for one of the high-rises: a 39-story building designed by avant-garde architect Frank Gehry. To Lompscher, it's a slap in the face to East Berliners, many of whom feel reunification has meant doing everything the Western way. 3. Economist Paul Romer has suggested that, to combat poverty in Honduras, investors create "charter cities", or "business-friendly, quasi-sovereign villages…free from government regulations and the messy realities of politics," Citylab explains. These Zones of Employment and Economic Development (ZEDE) might actually happen, which means they are now the subject of significant debate.

Critics are also concerned that the ZEDEs could lead to a divided country: those who can live in private suburbs and those who are stuck in the messy reality of poverty, gangs and shaky governmental stability. Will the attempt to enter a ZEDE begin to resemble the attempt to enter the United States? It's easy to imagine developers creating low-income housing for staff—if it suits them. But it's just as plausible that shantytowns would grow outside the ZEDE walls, as happens outside of private luxury neighborhoods everywhere in Latin America. · Recommended Reading archive [Curbed]