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Berlin growing twice as fast as expected

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Population growth is putting strains on city planning. Photo: DPA
10:52 CEST+02:00
The Berlin senate revealed on Monday that the capital is growing at double the pace that city planners had previously expected. But after decades of stagnation the growth is seen as positive.

The senator responsible for city development, Andreas Geisel, announced in the senate’s chamber that the city administration’s previous prognosis that a population increase of 250,000 over 2011's figure would now be achieved by 2019, rather than 2030 as previously expected, reports Die Welt.

In 2014 alone the city’s population grew by 44,700 people.

“The growth of our city is a great blessing,” Geisel said, arguing that after decades of slow or negative population growth the new trend was "a chance for us all" and something that couldn't be stopped even if people wished it.

But the fast pace of population growth is also placing strains on the city.

House prices, rents and the costs of building plots are increasing at an ever faster pace.

Geisel warned that in the last 12 months the price of a plot of land has increased by 30 percent, an increase he described as a “crazy.”

“When we build, we need to build densely,” said the senator.

Geisel also outed himself in favour of reducing restrictions on separating industrial areas from living spaces and cutting down bureaucracy that controls building on green spaces and places of historical importance.

To this end the senator proposed the establishment of a ‘building permit acceleration law’ which would offer developers shortcuts around planning bureaucracy.

The senator also promised that population growth would not lead to car traffic clogging up the city.

Only five percent of the increase in transport in the city is car traffic, said Geisel.

The state would invest in cycle lanes and increasing bus routes, the ex-mayor of Lichtenburg promised.

 

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