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Berlin's Manifold Strategies Towards Commercial and Industrial Spaces: The Different Cases of Zukunftsorte

Suwala, Lech; Kitzmann, Robert; Kulke, Elmar

Despite being the third largest industrial agglomeration in the world before World War II, Berlin was faced with an economic void after the partition and reunification of the city with many abandoned and alienated commercial and industrial spaces in a compact urban fabric. What has happened with this commercial and industrial heritage over the last 30 years? The main rationale behind this article is to show how Berlin planned and developed some of these spaces through the Zukunftsorte strategy by preserving its historical sites and modernizing its commercial and industrial base. As part of this undertaking, the article combines insights from urban planning and regional innovation studies. Methodologically, a two-step approach is applied: First, the article conducts an analysis of fundamental planning frameworks and technology/innovation policy trajectories with regard to commercial and industrial spaces; second, a multiple-case study analysis of selected Zukunftsorte (Adlershof, Marzahn, Schoneberg, Siemensstadt) is carried out to test whether and to what extent those spaces are supported by planning frameworks and exhibit components of what we coined territorial ecosystem models. The data compiled stems from 15 years of work engaging in various planning and policy steering committees, individual or joint research projects, personal interviews with relevant stakeholders, and regular field observations. The findings suggest that Berlin's strategies towards commercial and industrial spaces need to integrate highly contextual approaches since size, progress, operation, means, and timelines of Zukunftsorte vary substantially. Whereas Adlershof is a well-functioning network of business, academia, planners, and policymakers with preliminary attempts to embed those stakeholders in residential neighborhoods and the European Energy Forum in Schoneberg-which can be described as a miniature living lab of Adlershof-the other investigated Zukunftsorte do not yet deserve to carry this name.
Published in: Urban planning, 10.17645/up.v6i3.4239, Cogitatio