January 20, 2020

“This is where bright minds and creative businesses can flourish together.”

What will actually happen when Tegel Airport closes? Answers to this question will be provided at the 10th Public Place Conference on 12 February 2020. In the run-up to the event, partners will be talking about the importance of post-use plans and Berlin’s path to becoming a smart city. Dr Julia Neuhaus, head of the Berlin Future Places office, is looking forward to experiencing the growth of a Future Place from seed to flower.

With the announcement of the BER opening date, the after-use of Tegel is also coming within reach. What are your personal expectations of the Urban Tech Republic and the Schumacher Quartier and what significance do the two projects have for Berlin?

The then former Berlin TXL airport offers an ideal breeding ground for innovations – and on an area of 495 ha! In the future, the Urban Tech Republic will not only be used for research, but also for development, construction and on-site testing. Experiencing new products can become reality in the adjacent Schumacher Quarter, among other places. I expect to experience the growth of a future place from sowing to flowering. What has developed quasi unnoticed over many years in other places can happen much faster and more effectively here, with the help of the experiences of the other Future Places. In cooperation with Siemensstadt, a new area full of tangible high technology will be created for Berlin in the northwest, offering our dynamic city space for growth and creativity. Here, bright minds and creative companies can develop together in a small space.

Wie weit ist Berlin Ihrer Meinung nach auf dem Weg zur Smart City und wo sehen Sie den größten Handlungsbedarf?

The “smart city” affects almost all areas of our lives. The digitisation of an entire city requires many small steps and many, very different actors. It will lead to upheavals on the same scale as industrialisation in the 19th and early 20th centuries – with one serious difference: back then, disruptive technologies had much more time to take hold than they do today. This poses special challenges for the economy, politics and society. In Berlin, many individual steps have already been taken so far; bringing these and future steps together will be one of the challenges to be overcome in the near future. The Urban Tech Republic will continue to drive and channel this development.

I look forward to a 2030 where we celebrate the new and old success stories together and set the right course for the further development of our future.

Wenn Sie an die Zukunft denken, was wäre Ihr persönlich größter Wunsch für Berlin im Jahr 2030?

Berlin is my home and I am proud when I look at the developments of recent years. You mustn’t forget that ten years ago we were still demolishing entire blocks of flats here. Berlin was a shrinking city for a long time after 1989. Many of its talented people emigrated. Fortunately, that has changed completely in the meantime. The slogan Berlin is “poor but sexy” is outdated. Berlin is Germany’s science metropolis, it attracts young people and now offers innovative job prospects after graduation. Berlin has held the title of “start-up capital” for a number of years now – this also offers potential for the future. Berliners are known as complainers. Personally, I would like us to value the city’s development so far more. I have no doubt that this development will continue positively – the “Berlin University Alliance” has sent an important signal from a scientific point of view – also because Berlin’s universities are acting in concert. Other important impulses were provided by, among others, Siemens AG with its decision to locate in Siemensstadt and the plans of the electric car manufacturer Tesla for a new large vehicle plant in Grünheide in Brandenburg and a development centre in Berlin. I look forward to a 2030 where we celebrate the new and old success stories together and set the right course for the further development of our future.

Dr Julia Neuhaus has been head of the Berlin Future Places office since March 2018. Before that, the Berlin native was the managing director of a private university and an academy for five years. With a doctorate in economics, her research focuses on regional analyses. The office of the Berlin Future Locations is a project of the Senate Department for Economic Affairs, Energy and Enterprises and will also be present at the location conference as one of our partners.


January 20, 2020

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