New urban living and mobility: Experiences from urban development areas in Berlin

New urban living and mobility: Experiences from urban development areas in Berlin


Julia Jarass, Institute Of Transport Research, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Dirk Heinrichs, Institute Of Transport Research, German Aerospace Center (DLR)


New urban development projects are emerging in the inner-city areas of multiple European cities. For two urban development areas in Berlin, we illustrate the potential effects of new living concepts on land use and urban mobility.


While some cities in Europe are shrinking, others are experiencing new growth. The inner city is regaining its attractiveness as a residential area. Consequently, there is an influx of new residents and a diversification of the population structure of the inner city (Haase/Kabisch 2010; Buzar et al. 2007). This process of urban population growth and change is oftentimes accompanied by an extension of the housing stock and the creation of new residential areas within the existing land use structure. This is where new concepts of urban living are emerging in order to provide suitable dwelling types that satisfy the specific demands of the residents. Brownfields or former industrial areas within the urban fabric provide the possibility of creating new urban areas. Recently emerging in multiple cities in Europe, these urban development projects are contributing to the regeneration of the inner city and provide new living space by increasing the density of the urban structure (e.g. ‘La Confluence’ Lyon, ‘Rummelsburger Bucht’ Berlin, ‘Hammarby Sjöstad’ Stockholm). It can be observed that these new urban areas differ from existing urban land use and dwelling types. Lower residential densities, new dwelling types and green space or waterfront locations are to attract residents to the inner-city areas and prevent urban sprawl and further suburbanization.
Against this background, the question arises to what extent this new urban development influences daily mobility. Considering that compact mixed-use spatial structure is associated with rather low shares of motorized transport and short trip length, we still know little about residents living in new inner-city areas and their daily mobility. Bearing in mind that to some extent, the residents of these new urban areas self-select to move to these areas based on their residential preferences and their mobility needs, it is necessary to obtain more information about the socio-demographic characteristics and travel behavior of people moving to these new urban areas. Finding answers to these questions will enable transport and urban planners to better understand the effects of new living concepts on land use and travel behavior. Ultimately, this knowledge will help spatial planning policies to adjust to sustainable urban mobility.
Therefore, we recently conducted a quantitative survey in two urban development areas in Berlin which provide an insight into the issues raised above. The urban development areas ‘Alter Schlachthof’ and ‘Rummelsburger Bucht’ are both located close to the city center and dispose of a rather low-density land use structure with terraced houses compared to the surrounding areas. In the survey, we examined residents’ motives for relocating to these areas, their preferences towards land use characteristics, the socio-demographic structure of these areas and the travel behavior of the residents.
The results suggest that this new type of urban living mostly attracts highly educated families with relatively high incomes. They mainly moved from other inner-city areas within Berlin to these newly developed locations. Therefore, the assumption that new urban living concepts attract people from suburban areas to the core city is not applicable in this case. However, our research indicates that it was important for the residents to look for a bigger apartment and a garden when they decided to relocate. This suggests that if there was not a suitable offer of dwelling types in the inner-city areas, the residents might have moved to other areas where they can realize their housing preferences. In the context of daily mobility, it was found that over 80 % of the households have access to a private car. This is above the average in Berlin. However, people living in these new urban areas reported that they go for more than half of their trips by foot or by bike on the reference date.
In the session of the ETC, we intend to provide a closer look at socio-demographics and travel behavior in order to estimate the impact of new inner-city areas on urban mobility.


Association for European Transport