A Berlin of the Future

14.03.2012, 16:03
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Set out to become a strong platform for young artists, Berlin is striving to offer as much support to the creative sphere as possible. Combining art and science, finding new funding schemes, developing networks  there are many initiatives with strategic plans on how to create a Berlin of the future.

One of these initiatives is Projekt Zukunft, of the Berlin Senate for Economics, Technology and Women’s Issues, was established in 1997 and aims at structural change in Berlin as an information and knowledge city.  Projekt Zukunft supports the up-and-coming branches of the media, IT and creative industries, interlinking them with scientific, political and management structures. In the aftermath of the economic collapse of 1998, traditional industries in Berlin shifted their production out of the cityand Berlin lost its subsidies from the government. However, the ICT (information, communication, technologies) and media industries grew.

Seen as a great potential to make Berlin more competitive and attractive, the first step in developing these industries further was to do research about other cities. The initiative then analyzed what was already happening in the city, its strengths and weaknesses. 350 scientists worked on an “enabling policy” theory that was directed at politicians and government officials in order for them to understand how to act on the structural change of the city.

The goal was identified as building networks and public-private partnerships. The main argument of the policy was that the state needed to go forward, give financial support, but at the same time reduce its control to enable people to do the structural change themselves.

However, the main issue of the creative industries remains their low profit. Berlin is a city of production, not sales. So, in order to enhance the conditions for setting up business and support the existing enterprises in the creative industries, Projekt Zukunft sets up spaces and incubators, links projects to potential investors, organizes events to stimulate dialogue between politics and the public.

Another initiative funded by Projekt Zukunft  a multidisciplinary project laboratory called the Hybrid Plattform was founded 2-3 years ago by Berlin’s two most important universities: University of the Arts and Technology University. The project aims to connect and conduct active research in both creative and scientific contexts.  By exposing people to one another, arranging a series of talks and inviting experts, the platform tries to identify bases for collaboration between these two fields. The project already had several events called Hybrid TalkDuring one of them, for example, a conversation about movement and space went on between dancers and scientists; it became a starting point for new collaborations. Although quite young, the Hybrid Plattform has big plans for the future to turn the created knowledge into profit.

Berlin wants to create a steady environment for the creative industries not only by organizing events, but also by trying to change the urban spaces. Think Berlin whose slogan is “Creativity Needs Space” aims to enrich architecture and urban planning through debates on urban development. Starting by mapping out the main locations of cultural production in Berlin, the initiative traced art moves around the city, thereby attempting to understand the main obstacles that the creative field faces. They actively advocate the idea of sustainable gentrification in order to ensure certainty for users and landowners who wish to use this space.