Along with AIR Foundation and the City of Rotterdam, we lead a group of 40 urban planners, architects, and real estate professionals to Berlin. We were on a mission to see the city’s best examples of temporary use, cooperatives, collaborations, and revitalization projects. Of course we were also interested in the plinths, and the city at eye level.

Our first full day started with a tour by Dutch local, Vincent Kompier. He lead us through Mitte and over to the Department of Urban Planning. We saw a great diversity of streetscape: construction zones, quiet semi-public courtyards, large historic open spaces, formal gathering areas, various commercials scales, and river front residential.

From our first observations and first walk through the city, it was very clear that Berliners prioritize community, art, and the city’s history in the way they produce their cityscape. Each is demonstrated in their own, Berlin way, and they overlap as well.

Mitte is the center of Berlin, but also a diverse and bohemian neighborhood. Lively, organic, bursting with energy. It can also be quiet and reserved. These dichotomous themes were visible throughout the whole study trip.

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