International

100 years of Greater Berlin: what now belongs together must grow together – politically

Berlin can grow in a crisis – and even surpass itself. Historically, evidence of this has been provided. Today, 100 years ago, on October 1, 1920, the law on the formation of Greater Berlin came into effect. Overnight, the German capital doubled its population to 3.8 million with the creation of six independent cities, three surrounding districts, dozens of previously independent municipalities and country houses, and rose to the rankings of world cities.

The display of strength was successful under extremely difficult circumstances. The fledgling Weimar Republic, shaken by political unrest, groaned under billions of dollars in war debts. The decisive, relatively narrow majority for Greater Berlin’s law was obtained by the Social Democrats, split into the SPD and the USPD, in the decisive vote of the Prussian Constituent Assembly in April 1920 with votes of the left-wing liberal DDP – against the conservative camp, which dominated ‘red Berlin’. ‘Feared in the heart of Prussia, Brandenburg.

The creation of Greater Berlin was guided not so much by a red ideology as by the pragmatism to meet the demands of the fast-growing industrial metropolis.

Even as development stalled as a result of World War I, the spirit of optimism, as evidenced by the great projects of the 1920s, from ambitious settlement construction to the expansion of transportation systems – it’s amazing how much of it survived the war. and division has survived.

Where’s the political willpower?

Today the main region is growing again. And more than ever, in the globalized world, the future lies in the metropolitan regions. In Berlin and Brandenburg, however, little is felt of the political willpower and determination of yesteryear to consistently stimulate positive development and overcome impeding boundaries.

The referendum on the merger of Berlin and Brandenburg into a common federal state was now more than a quarter of a century ago. The union failed because of the Brandenburgers’ no vote. The result of the vote can be considered time-barred. Because it has been overtaken by the reality of life. The metropolitan region has long since merged into a common economic space.

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Hundreds of thousands of commuters cross the border every day, in both directions. Under pressure from the housing shortage and high real estate prices, more and more Berliners are looking for space and new perspectives in the Brandenburg region, also outside the suburbs. Meanwhile, young families from the capital are blowing up villages and small towns that have already been considered written off.

to combine forces

Berlin and Brandenburg can only grow together. With a transnational authority like the Joint State Planning, it is not enough for years to pass before a new bus connection between Berlin and Potsdam is set up. In order to compete successfully in the international competition between the metropolitan regions, Berlin and Brandenburg must join forces.

[30 Jahre Deutsche Einheit: „Das nächste Mal machen wir es besser“ – Lesen Sie hier mit TPlus ein Interview mit Wolfgang Schäuble und Sabine Bergmann-Pohl]

The challenges that are waiting to make the region future-proof can only be met if they work together: thorough digitization, essential for living and working in rural areas, new mobility concepts and an intelligent location policy for companies and companies.

But above all, we need political actors who campaign with conviction and passion for the understanding that a country can achieve more with united forces than just two good neighbors. 30 years after German unification, it is high time that what belongs together in Brandenburg and the bustling capital in the center grows together.

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