Berlin (4)

I have been digesting the experience of visiting Berlin, particularly in the light of a discussion due to be held tomorrow evening at the RA about Urban Identities.   I was struck by how quiet Berlin was.   Of course, it was partly because I was walking around on a Saturday morning, but it was the same walking round the Unter den Linden on Friday.   There is less traffic, because there is better public transport, not just the subway, but trams, and an excess of bicycles everywhere – not least, to hire.   There are a mass of small, independent shops and cafés – at least there are in Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg – which give character and individuality to the street.   We know that, but the current rise in business rates is making it harder for small, independent operators to survive.   The model of the Holzmarkt (covered in an article in the Observer on 30 April 2017) is interesting.   It was bought by a Swiss pension fund Abenrot and then leased back to a holding company, SpreeUrban, who are developing the riverside site for mixed community use.   Not much sign of that in Vauxhall.   Sadiq Khan might apparently have attended the discussion on Friday.   It’s a pity he didn’t:-


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