2018 Volume 91 Issue 1 Pages 1-16
Temporary use of vacant urban spaces has received increased attention during the last 20 years, especially in German-speaking countries, as a viable strategy in urban planning to revitalize unused vacant lots and buildings, which result from ongoing structural changes in industrialized countries. Particularly in the eastern inner-city districts of Berlin, a high number of vacant lots and buildings existed after the fall of the Berlin Wall. For many of these spaces, temporary uses, such as art houses, galleries, music clubs, bars, urban gardens, and alternative living spaces, were established during the 1990s and 2000s. From the end of the 1990s, in a particular area along the River Spree in Berlin’s former eastern inner-city district Friedrichshain, a high concentration of temporary uses have been observed. The reasons for this concentration have not been studied in detail. Therefore, this study clarifies the reasons for this geographic concentration by examining three case studies of temporary uses, using surveys and interviews conducted in 2013 and 2014. Additionally, this study exemplifies the characteristics of temporary uses in the surveyed area and shows what can be learned from the conflicts regarding temporary uses. The study concludes that temporary uses can be more than an interim utilization of vacant spaces and are a viable long-term alternative for sustainable urban planning in post-growth cities.