Hellersdorf (Berlin)

Marchwitzastraße. 1979.
Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-U0809-0017 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Hellersdorf used to be a small village in the vicinity of Berlin, until in 1985 constructions of a new large housing estate in prefabricated slab construction began on the area of former sewage fields. The district is located in the northeast of the Marzahn-Hellersdorf district and thus on Berlin’s eastern border with Brandenburg. It was the latest and one of the biggest New Towns in the former GDR. The subway connection to the city centre went into operation in 1989. As Berlin’s second largest construction project, the Helle Mitte district centre was completed and ceremoniously opened in 1997.

Zossener Straße: Steel skeleton sculptures by a Lithuanian artist on the roof, 1998.

Hellersdorf has been a Berlin district in the Marzahn-Hellersdorf borough since the 2001 administrative reform. Approximately 90,000 people live in the Hellersdorf district alone, but the cultural and also social infrastructure is far from adequate for such a medium-sized city. Thus, the station urbane künste/nGbK Hellersdorf, founded in 2014, is one of the few places for urban debates and contemporary arts. It sees the peripheral nature of Hellersdorf as one of its key characteristics, which it shares with other New Towns and satellite cities. At the same time Hellersdorf is also a vital place in which it will be possible to develop other forms of support structures, to implement long term projects, and not just in the centre of Berlin. The city is victim to a socio spatial disintegration. Hellersdorf needs to find the strength and power to find a cosmopolitan perspective of the common good. The biggest challenge is to find new ways to understand each other, to deal with conflicts and to negotiate them in the very diverse situations that a 21st century city increasingly offers.

Representative Organisation:
station urbaner kulturen/nGbK Hellersdorf

Dimitrovgrad (BG), Drumul Taberei (Bucharest, RO), Dunaujvaros(H), Evry-Senart(Gran Paris Sud, FR), Fritz Heckert/Chemnitz (Berlin, DE), Hellersdorf (Berlin, DE), Ilijas(BA), Milton Keynes(UK), Nowa Huta (Krakow, PL), Kohtla Jarve (ET), Nova Gorica(SLO), Rotterdam (NL), San Polo (Brescia, I), Spijkenisse (Nissewaard, NL), Visaginas (LT) and Zoetermeer(NL)