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Old Posted Nov 9, 2006, 4:33 PM
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The Berlin Cityscape – an analysis : Districts in the city

Berlin's cityscape is composed of a mosaic of districts, each with its own character. Their appearance is defined by the building profiles and their height, along with characteristic open spaces such as courtyards and gardens. The width of the streets and their distance from the buildings, their trees and the size, position and incorporation of squares into the street grid also play an important role. The districts are not stagnant: each generation must be able to add to its district as current tastes dictate, although here it is important to ensure that a combination of urban functions is available, and to make distinctive regional landscape features a basis for new district identities.

Inner city districts
The heavily built-up residential areas created during the German Empire dominate here, broken up in part by the rebuilding carried out during the post-war years. There is shortage of green recreation areas and the high volume of traffic is causing harmful emissions.

Development is focussed on:

* Increasing the number of planted areas effective for the ecosystem by re-opening surfaces.
* Planting greenery on roofs and walls, and in courtyards.
* Establishing a functional, interconnected network of green spaces.

The outcome:

* The re-establishment of the recreational quality of streets and squares.
* A decrease in the shortfall in public green and recreation areas.

The inner city fringe
This is characterised by what is on the whole a relaxed and heterogeneous structure composed of residential areas built during a variety of eras, industrial estates, large infrastructure sites and the green areas provided by the inner park ring.

Important principles to be considered in these areas are:

* The individual identity of the various districts should be preserved and developed, even when more buildings are added and the structural density increased.
* The potential of areas to be used more intensively for relaxation must be exploited. This includes introducing rented or multicultural gardens, the temporary use of open space and other ecological improvements.
* Measures must be taken to protect the groundwater in industrial and commercial estates in the Spree Valley.

Residential complexes on the outer edge of the suburbs
Small housing estates, detached and terraced houses with gardens and large residential complexes determine the city landscape here. The occasional village structure is still preserved. It is important to retain the current harmonious character of houses, open space and characteristic orchards and to limit the number of surfaces which are sealed. New buildings and a greater density in these areas is ecologically more viable than the uncontrolled development of landscapes. The typical character of the various districts should not, however, be watered down, but purposely emphasised. In the suburban quarters of the eastern districts in particular there is still a large number of distinctive open space structures and plenty of gardens planted with vegetation typical for the area whose character and ecological function should be preserved.

Beyond the city
Areas outside the city should in essential be safeguarded for their landscape and recreational qualities, and where necessary developed accordingly. The approach to adopt is that of inner city development before use of the areas outside the city. The need for new buildings cannot, however, always be completely met by increasing the concentration in existing residential areas or adding to them, or by converting industrial estates to residential areas. On a small scale, it is therefore vital that we set aside areas for the development of new districts with all of the necessary urban functions while at the same time preserving the distinctive regional landscape features and sensitivities in conjunction with the Land Use Plan for Berlin.
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