After a period of stagnation, dynamism is returning to the Berlin-Brandenburg region: population growth, new flows of commuters and goods, new quarters and housing developments, a new rail map, a radically new airport arrangement, and a growing public transport system. Berlin is a metropolis, its integrated hinterland extending far beyond its administrative boundaries.
What the region needs now is a broad public debate on institutions, on sustainable planning and ordering of growth across the region as a whole, also addressing the specific role of individual neighbourhoods within the growing metropolis.
A range of planning resources is available, including the state development plan for Berlin-Brandenburg, as well as other plans and concepts prepared by the city-state of Berlin, the Berlin boroughs, the state of Brandenburg and its municipalities, regional planning bodies, and the Neighbouring Municipalities Forum (Kommunales Nachbarschaftsforum).
Numerous proposals by experts and organisations also support the search for strategies of sustainable growth in the region. What has been lacking is a wide-ranging discussion about a comprehensive paradigm for the region as a whole, a dynamic vision for the metropolis that spatially integrates sectoral needs and includes strategic thoughts on implementation. A century ago the city was facing similar challenges. Around 1900, Berlin – including its suburbs and neighbouring settlements – was growing at a rate of 90,000 residents annually, a dynamism absolutely comparable with today’s population growth.
In 1907, Berlin’s two leading architects’ organisations decided to run a regional planning competition. After a privately funded campaign, the Greater Berlin Competition opened in 1908. It was Berlin’s urban planning event of the century, and still shapes the city today.
Shaping VisionsThe Greater Berlin we know today marks its 100th anniversary in 2020. That date offers a timely opportunity to review the city’s strengths and weaknesses and consider what is required for a sustainable future. The Architekten- und Ingenieurverein zu Berlin e.V. has taken the initiative with an anniversary programme that asks the relevant questions and puts proposals from policymakers, civil society actors, and experts up for discussion.
Three formats supply the setting: Urban Planning Network colloquia, an International Urban Design Ideas Competition for Berlin-Brandenburg 2070 and a major exhibition entitled 100 Years of (Greater) Berlin: An Uncompleted Project. The International Urban Design Ideas Competition for Berlin-Brandenburg 2070 will be held in the second half of 2019, seeking an overall paradigm and specimen proposals at different scales. The competition will be run by the Berlin 2020 gGmbH and will be open, anonymous, and international.
The results of the competition will be presented in a major exhibition, 100 Years of (Greater) Berlin: An Uncompleted Project, opening on 1 October 2020 at the Kronprinzenpalais, Unter den Linden. As well as looking back at the Berlin region’s history and forward to its future, the exhibition will also consider the development trajectories of four other major European cities.Accompanying the exhibition, six Urban Planning Network colloquia will supply an interdisciplinary review of urban planning developments in the Berlin region and offer a forum for discussion and debate.
The colloquia will bring in civil society actors in Berlin and the region, above all from the sectors of mobility, construction, health, digitalisation, and energy, as well as relevant cultural actors.This process, extending through and beyond 2020, offers Berlin and neighbouring Brandenburg the opportunity to revive their ground-breaking role as a test-bed of innovative urbanism.
The patron of the project is the Governing Mayor of Berlin, we are also in close contact with the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Planning Brandenburg and the Senator for Urban Development and Housing Berlin.
The exhibition is supported by the Stiftung Deutsche Klassenlotterie Berlin, as well as many honorable curators from Berlin and Brandenburg.