On the outskirts of Berlin, the last free spaces are gradually disappearing. Often not for cheap quarters, but for expensive condominiums. A gloss.
Berliner Zeitung/Torsten Harmsen
It can’t go on like this for years!” scolds a man who is laboriously pushing past the barriers in front of Köpenick station. Yes it can! Because it has only just begun. The expanding building activity in my district is reminiscent of the national reconstruction work after the war, only without rubble women. Everywhere is cleared, excavated, rammed and hammered.
While our piefig S-Bahn station is being converted into a regional station, a large district is soon to grow a little further, where the wonderfully morbid landscape of the old goods station spreads out today. New roads are planned, new tunnels, and soon one of the big bridges in the old town is to be demolished and rebuilt. I’m in favor of removing the fish from our county coat of arms. For this we put the beaver in, the old “master builder with a bite”, as I recently read.
For years our area was a playground for friends of enchanted places. Oh, how many “Lost Places” I’ve explored: abandoned factory premises, where trees grew through the hall ceilings, the old villa in the nearby park with its enchanted rooms, all kinds of wild wasteland. In the meantime, much of it has been built on. The rest will probably follow.
“Be happy, the jam-corners are disappearing!” says the inner Berliner
Recently I trudged across the old freight yard, a huge overgrown area. The train station itself looks like a wooden relic from the Wild West. An extended Romanian family lived in one of the old halls. The men fetched water in canisters from the city. Somewhere a meter high fire was crackling.
“And now you’re crying after this miserable provisional solution?” asks my inner Berliner. “Be happy that those jam-packed corners are disappearing! And people get apartments.” That’s right, the new quarter is supposed to be built here soon. But probably not for the Romanian extended family. She will probably move on before then.
Above all, one thing worries me: Everywhere it complains that the cities should prepare for climate change heat summer – with lots of greenery, water and air corridors. Nevertheless, the last fallow disappears, the last free spot. Unimaginative blocks of houses are built on top, with arrow slits high, arrow slits across or greenhouse windows.
Farewell to cool drafts on tropical nights! Hello oven!
When I look out the window of my apartment, I stare into a huge construction pit. A so-called perimeter block development will soon grow here. That means: soon my gaze will no longer wander into freedom, but will collide with a house wall. Farewell to cool drafts on tropical nights! Hello oven!
Berliner Zeitung/Torsten Harmsen
But urgently needed apartments are being built! I hear. Is that so? I see rather expensive quarters. They are called “Riva Living”, “Aft Deck” or “Feine Dahme”. Köpenick is schniekified. “You can get involved from 320,000 euros,” I read about the building that is being built right in front of my nose. Lots of expensive condos.
Elsewhere in the city, there are long queues of applicants in front of the few inexpensive rental apartments. A new verse fits in with this, which I recently added to the old song “Berlin ist ja so Große” by the couplet singer Otto Reutter. It goes like this: “If you want to look for an apartment, then take three weeks off./ I’d rather not have any children, instead, I’d rather be as young as hay./ Many a person hears the price and laughs: I’d rather live on a yacht!/ Berlin is yes so big – so big – so big – it’s built year after year./ But you want to live cheaply, then you stand there stupid.”
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