March 1, 2015

Berlin’s new city quarter becomes colourful

You have to have a bit of imagination when you look through the wire mesh fence at the Tegel Airport site and imagine what it will look like here in a few years. A modern research and industrial park and a lively urban quarter with flats, parks, schools and day-care centres? At the moment there is only meadow and concrete.

To stimulate precisely this imagination, Tegel Projekt GmbH invited participants to the 8th Public Site Conference “Nachnutzung Tegel” at the WECC at Westhafen last Saturday. Berlin continues to grow rapidly and urgently needs space for living and working. In an open marketplace format, future users and stakeholders presented their ideas and plans for the future of these spaces.

The first are to move in as early as 2018

Urban Tech Republic and Schumacher Quartier are to form the new urban quarter together, connecting the outskirts of Reinickendorf with the centre of Berlin. The designs of the planning offices scheuvens + wachten plus and WGF Landschaft, which could be inspected on site, gave a first impression. The users who will be the first to move in are already digging in their heels. Because what all the players have in common is a need for space: for test tracks, for premises, for experimental fields. Tegel has enough of that – a total area of almost 5 hectares is available. Beuth University, which will move into the striking hexagon with about 2,500 of its current 12,000 students, is already sitting on packed boxes. In the future, study programmes such as electrical engineering, building energy technology, landscape architecture or phytotechnology will come together at the new location. In other words, all those that deal with urban technologies. “In Tegel we have the space to set up a fully equipped campus with lecture rooms, library, refectory, day-care centres and research laboratories for these degree programmes in one place,” says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Kramp, Vice-President for Studies, Teaching and International Affairs, happily. Another first-time occupant will be the Berlin Fire and Rescue Service Academy. The academy has a space problem on the grounds in Schulzendorf, where the training and further education of more than 5,000 firefighters from professional and volunteer fire brigades as well as from the emergency and rescue services currently takes place. Harald Herweg, fire director and head of the academy is also looking forward to being able to raise training operations in Tegel to the latest technical standard and to making use of new opportunities: “For us, the hangars are a special highlight, because training there will finally be independent of the weather and the season.”

The spatial proximity to other players is equally promising. Beuth University and the Fire Brigade Academy are already working on plans for a joint dual course of study, and the proximity to the start-ups and companies that will settle in the subject area offers completely new opportunities for cooperation. For example, the university can support small and medium-sized companies in their development and get direct input from the larger companies about needs, which can then be reflected in the degree programmes again.

New jobs and housing for growing Berlin

Tanja Kufner from Startupbootcamp also has high hopes for this new hub for tech startups and companies, because despite digitalisation, a personal relationship still seems to be crucial for the emergence of collaborations. Kufner wants to locate the startups that her initiative brings to Berlin from all over the world in Tegel so that they can learn from each other and advance the topic of urban tech together. “The location is valuable for the startup ecosystem. Once you’re in Berlin, you want to stay. So we have to create the infrastructure for this, because Berlin needs this internationality and this talent to remain attractive as a business location,” says Kufner. But the students and start-up employees also want to live somewhere. And not only them – with 30 to 40 thousand people moving to Berlin every year, the city needs around 15 to 20 thousand newly built flats every year. That’s why around 5,000 flats are to be built next door in the new Schumacher Quarter. The large-scale project will be characterised by an intelligent mix of subsidised and privately financed housing. Housing associations, building cooperatives from Reinickendorf and private building groups are involved, and student housing is also being considered. Jörg Franzen from Gesobau explains: “The mix is what makes a neighbourhood quality, you can see that everywhere in the city. Where it is particularly colourful, people feel most comfortable. That’s why we are planning a mixed residential district with flats for all income levels and living situations.”

Thomas Koch from the Berlin Tenants’ Association stressed how important it was to include the neighbouring neighbourhoods in the planning. To this end, there was a series of dialogue events on the Integrated Urban Development Concept (ISEK) in the run-up to the site conference, at which residents, stakeholders and interested parties were able to contribute their wishes, concerns and suggestions to the planning process. “At these events, 22 citizen representatives were elected, with whom we are now continuing to sit down to work out individual points intensively,” reported Sabine Slapa from the planning office Die Raumplaner. The next event is scheduled for September, and everyone is again invited to discuss with the urban planners. Philipp Bouteiller and his team from Tegel Projekt GmbH are happy about the opportunity to plan such a large piece of new city. “In the Urban Tech Republic, everything from brainstorming to mass production can happen in one place. To this end, we are placing living, life and work in a spatial context. Just like you would plan a modern city.”


March 1, 2015

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