What is it exactly that makes a city a great and creative place? In today's globalised world, a clear-cut identity, good public space and sustainable placemaking are qualities which increasingly represent the desirability for living in a city. Over the last 15 years, Berlin has re-emerged as a, magnet for young people, and has redesigned itself as a metropolis. and as a symbol of contemporary Europe. Berlin is a cosmopolitan, forward-looking city, conscious of its status and confident about its stature. Currently, Berlin attracts a 'creative class' who gravitate to its inspiring public space network for walking and cycling; its large number of robust, flexible buildings; and the, wide range of types and sizes of its character places waiting to be occupied with fresh ideas about living and working in the inner city. Those places are well suited to new approaches to informal urban design and artistic searches for undiscovered potential, which frequently hides in the derelict, post-industrial fabric. Such 'places and spaces not done yet' hold a promise for freedom of personal expression and individual interpretation. After the fall of the Wall (1989) and the settling of the ensuing turmoil, the years 1992-2002 have become the 'golden years' of Berlin's reemergence. However, the advantages Berlin possesses today will persist only if the city manages to maintain its distinctiveness and its affordability. Berlin's affordability is likely to be ending soon and the city may stop being a desirable 'Creative City'. With the completion of the government's move to the new capital and the influx of a large number of bureaucrats, a phase of consolidation and mainstream consumerism has begun. Artists are being forced further out of the centre by high rents and new developments. By 2012, Berlin's status may well have shifted to another city, probably in Eastern Europe.
Third International Conference of the Center for the Study of Architecture in the Arab Region, Instant Cities: Emergent Trends in Architecture and Urbanism in the Arab World: The Third International Conference of the Center for the Study of Architecture in the Arab Region (American University of Sharjah, UAE 01-03 April, 2008) p. 3-17