Thursday, September 27, 2012
Below are photos from a recent excursion to Marzahn, a 1980's communist "plattenbauten" development and neighborhood located in the northeast of the city. Referred to by many Berliners as being dull and uninspiring, the area has garnered a reputation for a number of social and socioeconomic issues, including neo-Nazism, alcohol and drug abuse, and poverty. Marzahn is the best-known of several similar 1970s and '80s "commieblock" areas, that along with Neu-Hohenschönhausen and other municipalities in Litchenberg, house some 400,000 Berliners.
Inspired by its very telling communist appearance and aesthetic, along with a desire to see how the GDR's vision of the future is holding up 20 years after its collapse, and 30 years after its inception, I made the 30-minute S-Bahn journey to the city's fringe, where I explored and documented the area. These are the photos that resulted from the said visit. Pure DDR utopia. That isn't the whole story, though, so for further background and information on Marzahn and its inception, I highly recommend this report on it. Here is another, more contemporary article detailing how Marzahn and other Berlin communist housing estates are being affected by gentrification in inner-city districts, such as Kreuzberg and Neukölln.