• Germany edition
 
Future of Berlin Airlift site hangs in balance
A wind skater enjoying Tempelhofer Feld and one of the designs for a central library. Photo: DPA/H.-J. Wuthenow

Future of Berlin Airlift site hangs in balance

Published: 28 Jan 2014 10:49 GMT+01:00
Updated: 28 Jan 2014 10:49 GMT+01:00

UPDATE: The fate of one of Europe’s oldest city airports will be decided by a referendum in Berlin this spring, city authorities announced on Tuesday morning.

A debate has raged over the future of Tempelhof Airport in the south of the city since its closure in 2008. Its open space is currently used for concerts and city gardening. 

Developers want to build apartment blocks and a central library on the edge of the site, but people living in the area hope to preserve it as a green, open space.

The development plans sparked a petition which gathered enough signatures to force a city-wide referendum on the future of the site.

CLICK HERE for more Berlin news

An initiative called "100 percent Tempelhofer Feld” gathered 185,328 valid signatures – 174,117 are needed to spark a referendum, equivalent to seven percent of Berlin’s electorate.

Around 233,000 signatures were gathered in total but thousands were invalid as only those with German citizenship or registered in Berlin counted. The final number was still enough to send the decision to referendum.

Berlin’s Senate will now need to fix a date for the referendum. May 25th, the date of European Parliament elections, is being touted as a potential, the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported.

It would increase turnout and therefore the chances of success of the referendum.

Berlin’s last referendum in November over whether to take the city’s energy grid back into public hands failed because of a low turnout. A referendum needs at least 25 percent of eligible voters to support the proposal for it to be ratified and a majority of those who do vote to say yes. 

Tempelhof Airport was used by the Allies to break the Soviet blockade of West Berlin in 1948. 

PHOTO GALLERY: Tempelhof airport 

Architect Jens Oberst, whose library was among two winning designs selected by Berlin's Senate for the site in December, told The Local that the referendum would not influence his plans.

He said: "We’re of the opinion that it is precisely our project which fits with a desire to have an open public space - not in the spirit of a backward looking minority, but in the spirit of integration and communication among different societies, societies which distinguish cities like Berlin whose diversity should be developed and realized.

"Our project can take on this function. It is more than just a library."

READ MORE: Berlin Airlift site touted as tech start-up hub

For more stories about Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter

Tom Bristow (tom.bristow@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Croatia extradites ex-top spy to Germany

Croatia extradites ex-top spy to Germany

Croatia extradited a former Yugoslav spy chief, Zdravko Mustac, to Germany on Thursday to face charges for the 1983 murder of a dissident on German soil. READ () »

German court jails Somali pirate for 12 years
An officer of the Lower Saxon Criminal Investigation Department (CID) securing evidence on the hijacked ship Marida Marguerite. Photo: DPA

German court jails Somali pirate for 12 years

A German court has sentenced a Somali pirate chief to 12 years in jail for hijacking a ship off the Horn of Africa and tormenting its crew during an eight-month ordeal. READ () »

New app helps clients find prostitutes
Photo: DPA

New app helps clients find prostitutes

While the German government is considering tightening prostitution laws, Berlin entrepreneurs have developed a smartphone app to connect sex-workers with clients. READ () »

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend
Photo: DPA

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend

The days running up to Easter may be cool and wet, but the holiday weekend should be a bit warmer for most of Germany, according to forecasters. READ () »

Berlin man must call himself a mother
The fight over the transgender man's right to be his child's official father has been raging since last year. Photo: DPA

Berlin man must call himself a mother

A transgender person who became the first man in Germany to give birth in March 2013 must be registered as the child's mother, a court has ruled after his year-long court battle to be named a father. READ () »

Study: rape convictions fall sharply
Photo: DPA

Study: rape convictions fall sharply

The chance of being convicted of rape in Germany has more than halved in the past two decades to fewer than one in ten, a major study revealed on Thursday. READ () »

SPD: Restore 45-percent investment tax
The tax privilege for investment income is unfair, says the SPD. Photo: DPA

SPD: Restore 45-percent investment tax

The centre-left half of Germany's coalition government has called for the old top rate of a 45-percent tax on investments to be brought back - to match standard income tax and fight the squeeze on middle incomes. READ () »

Customs find smuggled cash in every third car
Sniffing out the money. Photo: DPA

Customs find smuggled cash in every third car

The number of Germans smuggling large amounts of cash across the Swiss border into Germany rose dramatically last year. Customs officers said on Thursday they made a find in almost every third car they checked. READ () »

Crystal meth use hits record level
Crystal meth seized in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

Crystal meth use hits record level

Consumption of crystal meth in Germany appears to have reached a record level, according to government figures published on Thursday. READ () »

Child's near death sparks row over refugee homes
Leonardo had to have a finger and toe amputated after staff refused to call an ambulance. Photo: DPA

Child's near death sparks row over refugee homes

A political row has broken out in Bavaria after an asylum seekers' home failed to help a toddler who almost died of meningitis. The case has raised concerns about the treatment of refugees in the state. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Rhineland
Elderly man taped €200,000 to his genitals
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
What's the unemployment rate in your area of Germany?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
'The mafia has infiltrated every sector in Germany'
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
School kids hospitalized after 'porno' party
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The week in pictures: April 5th - April 11th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten great inventions you (probably) didn't know were German
Photo: J. Arthur White
Berlin
Clashes in Berlin as refugees tear down their own camp
Advertisement:
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Munich's baby polar bears are finally named
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The 10 best German employers to work for
CurrencyFair
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Mr. Lodge
Sponsored Article
How to find a furnished rental in Munich
Sponsored Article
How to make a lasting impression in business
Hult International Business School
Sponsored Article
What they don't teach you at Business School
Photo: DPA
Society
Nine jobs you can only do in Germany
Photo:ESL
Sponsored Article
How to integrate successfully in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,143
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd