Berlin’s Take on a High-Tech ‘Smart City’ Could Be Different
BERLIN—Right now, it’s hard to imagine what Siemensstadt will eventually look like. Surrounded by old brick factory buildings and shuttered offices, the area sits at the intersection of two large roads in a neglected northern outskirts of Berlin. Cars speed by faster than they should; every now and then, a solitary traveler emerges from the underground train station. Owned by the industrial giant that gave the suburb its name, Siemens, the 50-acre site doesn’t give off much of a sense of community.
But Berlin’s new mega-project aims to change that. Over the next decade, Siemens will spend more than €600 million to create what it’s been calling “Siemensstadt 2.0,” a “smart city” project with research facilities, space for startups, logistics centers, and a new production facility—the company’s largest worldwide—geared towards renewable energy, transportation, and digital infrastructure products. Along with its new campus, the company is also creating something of a neighborhood: Some 3,000 new apartments are on the way, plus kindergartens and schools, green spaces, and restaurants, hotels, and retailers. An abandoned railway line nearby will be revived, connecting travelers to Berlin’s new (as yet unfinished) airport in just 40 minutes.
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