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Berlin: Poor but Sexy, 20 Years after Re-unification

25 Jan

To know more about the city, planners have to understand the historical background as one part of the analysis. Berlin as the capital city of German has its own history. It started as a divided city from 1945 until 1989 which was ruled by France, British, and the US in the western area, and by the Soviet Union in the eastern area. It was separated by the wall which became a barrier and a non-building-zone. The wall also impacted building character by not allowing windows to face the border. In this period, Berlin became a very complex city because geographically it was located in eastern German, and furthermore, Berlin itself was divided into western and eastern areas.

After the reunification in 1990, Berlin grew as an important place in the middle of Europe. From 1990 until 1995, there was a boom period in Berlin. Berlin had 23 districts and many developments are being made in these years. Buildings such as Potsdamer Platz became the new landmark of the place. In the next period from 1995 until 2000, development in Berlin was leveling, so there were not as many new buildings as in the period before. Furthermore, nothing happened in Berlin in the period between 2000 and 2005. The biggest occasion only happened in 2001 during which Berlin reduced the numbers of its district from 23 to 12 districts, Berlin had no new ideas to develop the city. Subsequently, slight increase happened from 2005-2007 but there has been a down turn since 2007 until the present global recession.

Nowadays, Berlin is a poor city. There are no agriculture and industrial areas. 12.7% of the society is unemployed; higher than German which only 5.9%. Berlin also has to pay a lot of welfare meanwhile the economy grows slowly. Surprisingly, the population pyramid shows that there are more young-group than old and the children. With this kind of situation, Berlin has tried to shift the development paradigm into one that is more attractive than before. This strategy is obviously to fulfill the young-group needs, such as education-systems, entertainments, shops, sports, telecommunications, etc.

These situations are not much different with the physical and social condition. Geographically, at least there are 3 brown field areas that until now still and will abandoned: the Heidestraße, Flughafen-Tegel, and Speeraum. Heidestraße, located near the main station Hauptbahnhof, is one of the examples. Owned by the former railway company; people usually do not realize that there is an unused area in front of the center of the city.

There is also a social condition called gentrification. Gentrification is a transformation process of social group, which involves an ‘invasion-succession cycle’.  The pioneers have to move into another place because of the pressure from the new-comers. It happened in the 1960’s in US and Canada, and in the 1990’s in Germany. Gentrification has 4 phases. First is the entry of the pioneers. Pioneers such as students and artists usually try to find the cheapest place to live, so it does not matter if the place has a high risk. The next phase is the entrance of more pioneers and gentrifiers. After the pioneers have settled in the place, it will attract more people to stay there. Moreover, as the third phase, more and more gentrification occurs in the place. In this phase there is an increasing value of land-rent and social conditions of the place which make the pioneers become anxious about their condition. Finally, in the fourth phase, there is yet more gentrifiers which make both the pioneers and old habitants move out from the place. In conclusion, there have been many attempts to try to solve the problems of gentrification, but they have not yet been successful.

Brandenburg Gate: Famous Landmark in Berlin

 
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Posted by on 25 January, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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