City of Berlin – Like My Child Leaving the Nest|Kazuhito Habu|KnowLedge World Network|Activities|KNOWLEDGE CAPITAL

  • 2016.05.02
  • City of Berlin – Like My Child Leaving the Nest
Our onpa headquarters in Charlottenburg District had been relocated by the end of February. Our new location is in a district called Kreuzberg. Many of my friends have been moving as well.
Lots of relocating within Berlin have been seen in the recent few months around this time of the year due to factors such as the renovation of buildings or rising rent, and not because it’s the time when new ones enter the workforce like in Japan. The rate of increase in land prices vary by the district.
For instance, the Wittenbergplatz in Charlottenburg District where our former office was located used to be the heart of West Berlin during the days of East and West Berlin. When we moved in 15 years ago, the rent for this approximately 90 square meter office was the equivalent of roughly 40,000 Japanese yen. And now, it is a shocking 160,000 Japanese yen! It’s an unbelievable rate of increase.
When I visited Berlin just a year after the unification of the East and West, there were new buildings being constructed one after another. I recall that back then, there were still lots of abandoned land as far as the eyes could see, and therefore land value did not need to be increased that much. Lots of East Berliners set up street booth tents and engaged in business without any permissions. Then until around 2001 when onpa moved into its office, youths were squatting throught Berlin in empty buildings. However, such squatting is now struggling for its existence in a little corner of Kreuzberg.

The other day, I went to visit one of our staff’s parents’ home in an area called Pankow. I enjoyed an interesting conversation about the ever-changing Berlin with the family. Pankow is located at the very northern edge of Berlin where there is nothing but fields all around. It’s such a tranquil area that there is even a street called Kartoffelngasse (potato lane). However, I heard that the surrounding fields were going to be shut down within the following five years, and that residences for around 50,000 households will be constructed! It really is a shocking scale. Even in these quiet outskirts of Berlin where time passes slowly, large foreign companies, the country and the local government are planning to soon begin working on a large construction to turn Berlin into a capital befitting a capital. The parents of my coworker shared their mixed feelings with me, as they had settled here at the time of the fall of the Berlin wall and watched the changing Berlin for decades.
And I too, having been here in person to witness the appearance of Berlin since the days of the separation of the East and West until now, wish to watch over the growth of this city of Berlin with feelings mixed with expectations and uncertanties, as if watching over my own child, although that may sound like an exaggeration.
According to the news, the city aims to achieve its goal of land development by 2026, planning to provide residences for 400,000 households.

I truly wish that the beautiful good old features of Berlin will still remain at that time…



  • Kazuhito Habu
  • AgeHorse( UMA )
  • GenderMale
  • JobCurator, Media Art Management

In 2001, I established onpa))))), a media art curation label in Berlin. I have constructed a worldwide network of artists and festivals, and am currently active as a jet-setter between Berlin and Tokyo.

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