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last updated: October 5, 2005


Marzahn and Hellersdorf belong to the largest eastern panel building agglomeration which overall houses more than 750,000 people on the eastern perimeter of Berlin. Distant from the commercial, cultural and economic centres - which both also have single family garden estates of the 1920s as a second feature - the uniform panel buildings built before 1990 were the well-liked homes of a highly desegregated and young population of often privileged industrial workers, administrators of the socialist state and their families.

These two estates, owned by different 'old-type' housing cooperatives and two large public housing companies, are presently developing into different directions. Whereas Marzahn seems to be in danger of becoming the 'vacuum-cleaner' for the 'refurbishment refugees' from gentrifying inner city quarters, Hellersdorf in some parts seems to be on an integrative strand. Distinguishing the fundamental differences in spatial development, management of the assets and their causes and consequences will be a challenge as in both areas more than 50 per cent of the housing stock was modernised over the last decade by the two main actors, the WBM (Marzahn) and the WoGeHe (Hellersdorf).