Panel discussion Cooperative City

Twelve urban policy actors from civil society invited to an exchange with the urban development policy spokespersons of the democratic parties CDU, FDP, SPD, LINKE, GRÜNE.

In order to advance cooperative urban development in Berlin, it is necessary to establish sustainable structures of cooperation between civil society, administration and politics. As actors at the interface between art, culture, urban planning, architecture, ecology, mobility, education and social issues, we therefore want to know from politicians how they would like to support us.

We see the key to a joint strategy for cooperative urban development in the next legislative period particularly in strengthening the following three areas of action:

  1. Co-designing urban transformation processes

Civil society projects that initiate public welfare-oriented, socially and climate-just urban transformation processes – among other things through artistic action – usually do not have the necessary resources and are dependent on public funding to guarantee the continuous and intensive participation of the civil society groups behind them. In addition, there is the challenge that such projects (sometimes even with a political mandate) are difficult to implement because they do not fit into the known process and department cuts. This counteracts the great potential of such projects and groups, which take responsibility and support the administration by testing interdisciplinary approaches to current urban issues locally (including cultural, ecological, social or urban planning challenges) and developing concrete visions for Berlin’s future.

We demand:

Sufficient and secure funding for these projects and the groups behind them, proportionally from different sources. departments are financed.

Continuity, ranging from the promotion of new ideas and approaches to the implementation of transformation projects, aimed at further developing positive impulses and, in the best case, implementing them permanently.

the consistent development and implementation of such projects within a cooperatively coordinated procedure with mandatory involvement and synchronisation of the responsibilities of all administrations involved.

The establishment of structures/instruments (such as cooperation liaisons, round tables, target agreements, reporting obligations) aimed at the challenges of interdepartmental, innovative and/or civil society-initiated and/or complex transformation of public spaces/infrastructures.

Targeted creation of experimental spaces (spatial, legal, financial, personnel) so that transformation approaches can be practically tested locally or temporarily.

further information:

  1. Cooperative structures in model projects

Acknowledge. Support. Implement. Urban society can be a partner, but this involves more than just having a few wish trees decorated. If you want to climb the participation ladder, you have to cooperate.

The creation of legitimacy is not solely the task of urban society. Politics and administration must help to bring good ideas, long-term commitment and challenging factual work to bear and make them transferable.

Model projects do not have to remain as scattered orchids in the urban space. They can help to arrive at new programmes through collective learning from individual projects, to initiate innovative forms of (administrative) action and to develop new, transferable sponsorships.

We demand:

Promote model projects with investment funds to ensure permanently affordable rents for inclusive housing, art, culture, education and social services.

Space and time for learning together and trying out cooperative processes, for example within the framework of opening up the programmes of the Academy of Administration.

Additional incentives for the districts in the implementation of urban model projects. This includes additional resources.

Joint search for and development of suitable new support structures for public welfare-oriented spaces and projects; this should also include cooperatively supported project spaces.

Legally secured direct allocations of land to non-profit developers at affordable ground rents, while at the same time securing rent and occupancy commitments for decades to come.

Further information:

  1. Common good-oriented land policy and spatial distribution

In order to secure affordable spaces, an overarching, strategic soil policy is needed, since soil as a resource – like water and air – is the basis of life and should belong to everyone as a common good. After the privatisations of the recent past, a realignment of the real estate policy was gradually tackled. However, it remains a challenge to increase and democratise soil – as well as green-blue infrastructures – as an urban resource for all.

We demand:

Keep the land, shape the city: Adopt the Land Security Act (no sale of state-owned land, hereditary building rights with usage ties as standard, public real estate cadastre).

More land: Strategic land provision through the establishment of a real land fund for all urban land (with a special pot in the budget, personnel and a civil society land advisory board).

Secure Berlin’s mix and socio-culture (set up task force for threatened spaces)

Community-oriented opening and strengthening of a green-blue infrastructure with the reclamation of the Spree as a development axis of Berlin (The river belongs to the city!)

further information:

You can download the demands as a PDF here: