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Urban experts say removal of Berlin motorway is only route

The Berlin Senate is effectively being told to put its money where its mouth is and dispense with a section of urban motorway to create new traffic free city space.

The architect and engineers association of Berlin-Brandenburg (AIV), former Berlin senate building director Hans Stimman and former CDU member of the Bundestag Karl-Georg Wellmann are calling for the entire route of the A104 in Berlin to become a model for future urban redevelopment.

A motorway bridge over Breitenbachplatz was earmarked for demolition already, “but thinking does not go far enough, because dismantling only there would be piecemeal,” said AIV chairman Tobias Nöfer. “That is why we advocate complete demolition.”

Dismantling the A104 would provide
opportunities along its route.

AIV board member, architect Robert Patzschke, has drafted designs to illustrate the extent of the development opportunities that would be provided by dismantling the whole road in order to encourage politicians, businesses and Berlin citizens to “take a forward-looking urban planning position”.

Patzschke added: “More than 30 years after the fall of the wall, the entire route offers untapped building potential for new forms of inner-city mixes of living, working and new mobility.”

The AIV had previously advocated a paradigm shift for the direction of sustainable urban development and urban planning in its “Unfinished Metropolis” project.

“We are now calling on the senate and the districts involved to take the self-proclaimed traffic turnaround seriously and to extend the project to the entire route from Hohenzollerndamm to Schlossstrasse,” Nöfer said.

“Our cities are facing a fundamental change: In view of the climate crisis, which can no longer be denied, there can be no ‘more like this’ in urban planning,” he said, adding that there should be an immediate farewell to the ‘car-friendly city’ of the 20th century.

Rejection of modern motorway wastelands

He said that the city could regain its human scale and that compact, beautiful and liveable cities protect the landscape from further destruction and provide the opportunity to develop large numbers of new apartments as well as the return of urbanity and humane living and working “in today’s industrial and motorway wasteland”.

“The motorway bridge over Breitenbachplatz, which was inaugurated on June 11, 1980, is an expression of long-outdated traffic planning,” Nöfer said.

Stimmann, Wellmann and the AIV have put forward four urban planning requirements and ten proposals for the route of the A 104, including the road’s immediate closure and demolition of associated engineering structures.