since re-unification. Among these is the reduction in planning and administrative staff which has contributed to a number of major “planning disasters” including the failure of completing the new airport in Brandenburg – a cause of tremendous embarrassment. In the 1980s the most significant cultural controversy had found its culmination in Berlin’s International Building Exhibition (IBA) of 1987 and its underlying major concepts of “Careful Urban Renewal” directed at the sensitive repair and regeneration of neighbourhoods and “Critical Reconstruction” applied where the destruction had left no buildings that could be repaired. There, new construction followed the structural principles of what had been in place before. These concepts were cornerstones in the transformation of the city of postwar modernism, transcending features such as functional segregation, tower and slab developments as well as topdown and automobile-centred planning. The new principles found wide reception in the international urban design scene. These principles continued to be applied after the fall of the wall, when one of the most urgent tasks consisted in restoring the run-down East Berlin tenement housing districts. The debate on how the two parts of the city should be developed and joined together was shaped by an associated cultural controversy centred on the alternatives of “the European City” versus the notion of the “US-American City” characterised by high-rise developments. This eventually culminated in the urban design concept of the “Planwerk Innenstadt Berlin” (1996). This was a framework for the urban design of the inner city, which essentially aimed for the critical reconstruction of the urban layout as it had been prior to World War I, with perimeter block buildings of up to 22 m cornice height and a reduction of the space devoted to automobile traffic. The years up to the mid-1990s were characterized by a climate of euphoria. Re-established as the capital of Germany in this strategic location between the old East and West blocs, Berlin was expected to re-gain its pre-war significance. Optimistic projections assumed big corporations would relocate their headquarters from Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich and Düsseldorf; so would the media industry as well as a majority of new, innovative and economically productive industries. There were voices warning that this was wishful thinking, considering the de-centralised locational pattern of corporations in the Federal Republic. But the planners were adamant predicting a population increase from 3.4 Million in 1989 to 5 Million by 2010. So construction went ahead on several big urban projects, akin to New Towns, that were built on the periphery of the city. In contrast to the suburban and high-rise estates of the
post-war decades, the “Water Cities” of Rummelsburg and Spandau, as well as Karow and the new urbanist exemplar of Kirchsteigfeld near Potsdam were mixed-use, compact urban developments representative of the new typology of “New Urban Quarters” (“Neue Stadtquartiere”). Berlin’s population growth, however, did not materialise as predicted, and so the built results of the master-planned projects did not live up to expectations. By 2015, the population of Berlin had only increased to 3.5 million. The decades after the fall of the wall were thus influenced by a series of high expectations followed by disillusionment and stagnation. Initially, rents were only slowly rising, but gentrification was accelerating after the millennium and sky-rocketed in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, which re-directed the attention of global capital to Berlin’s real estate market, this time in the housing sector. Thus, a majority of recent housing projects have been geared towards the interests of global investors focused on up-market segments, as exemplified by the Europa City project currently under construction just north of Berlin’s new Central Station. While built with an eye towards sustainability in physical design, only 43 of its 2,850 apartments are in the affordable category. Social housing had virtually been discontinued in the 1990s, and the contractual obligations to keep rents low in certain sectors of the social housing market were about to run out completely. These factors contributed to rising pressure. Housing shortages and social polarisation were thus already becoming dramatic, when a completely new situation emerged in 2015 with the arrival of a big wave of 80,000 refugees from Syria and other countries. Suddenly population projections had to be dramatically up-scaled; the dramatic nature of the housing crisis could no longer be overlooked. The urgency of providing housing for the refugees means that the processes of planning and implementation have to be speeded up in a way as never before. This poses significant practical problems and the of risk political conflict. Where and how to strike the balance between fast tracking with reduced control, thereby jeopardising social and ecological principles, and speeding up the bureaucratic processes in a responsible way is currently a contentious matter. This is the situation which the joint studio undertaken by the MUDD studio and TU Berlin Institut Städtebau und Regionalplanung took as a starting point, aiming to develop strategies and forms for an inclusive city with a focus on affordable housing for a broad spectrum of the population.
Master of Urban Development
Published on Apr 26, 2016
Published on Apr 26, 2016
City Visions: Method & Design Chicago | Berlin | Sydney International Studio workshops from the Masters of Urban Development & Design degree...