November 20 2012

Creative Industries Against the Right to Access Water: Who Can Claim the City?

The Mayor, urban planners, and economists agree: creative industries are key to Berlin’s economic development. In a city that doesn’t rely on larger industrial facilities, that holds a special position due to its historical heritage, that was perceived as an island for decades – music, film, and new media industries have started to settle; building on the city’s creative potential. Whether it’s web design, music, or television, Berlin is an attractive place to be for the media industry.


Many of these companies cluster around the River Spree, at the border of Berlin-Kreuzberg and Berlin-Friedrichshain, and many more are to come. The investor’s plans include office space, lofts, and hotels. While the Berlin Senate supports this development, by co-funding the settlement of larger companies, local residents aren’t too happy about this development; the formerly unused or only temporarily used land will soon be out of their reach. Many of the new buildings are blocking their access to the River Spree.

MediaspreeIn fear of gentrification and a declining quality of life, the local initiative “Mediaspree versenken” (engl.: “Sink the Mediaspree”) critiques the plans for Mediaspree. The critics believe that the needs of private investors are being placed above those who live in the area and count on its natural and cultural assets. They suggest a more sustainable development via a 50-meter-minimum distance of buildings from the waterfront, and a ban of high rise buildings in the area. In 2008, residents voted in favor of the initiative’s goals. The debate now centers around the question whether these claims should affect all plans of the Mediaspree or only newly created plans.

What do you think? Are economic interests or residential interests more important in this development?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Luise Letzner

Originally from Berlin, Luise Letzner currently pursues a Masters at HafenCity University in Hamburg, Germany, in Urban Planning. She also holds a B.A. in European Studies from Malmö University, Sweden, where she focused on inner-city redevelopment projects, place branding, and the concept of urbanity. She worked as a concept strategist and social media manager for several online agencies and in trend research, where she investigated new forms of communication via mobile and online technology, as well as trends within city marketing. Apart from Sweden, she has lived in France, Switzerland, and the U.S. and is fascinated by different approaches to the creation and use of public spaces within city centres. For The GRID, she investigated current urban and environmental design projects in Berlin and Hamburg.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 at 9:31 pm and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Environment, Environmental Design, Landscape Architecture, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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