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IRI THESys Walkshop on Urban Infrastructure en

Exploring a city through its infrastructure? Not as nerdy as you might think! The power cables and water pipes under your feet can teach us a lot about the past, present and future of a city —you just need to take a closer look…  

As part of the Berlin Science Week, Prof. Dr. Timothy Moss, Anna Frohn Pedersen and Pauline Münch from the Integrative Research Institute on Transformations of Human-Environment Systems (IRI THESys) have created a guided audio tour along the pre-1920 border of Berlin to view exciting examples of infrastructure which shaped the unification of Greater Berlin 100 years ago.

You will visit five sites of energy and water infrastructure and hear stories about how these systems were used as a tool for urban expansion, unification and modernization in the 1920s. You will also learn how these examples can be relevant to current-day efforts to render energy and water systems more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. Tim draws on his new book ‘Remaking Berlin. A History of the City through Infrastructure, 1920-2020’ (MIT Press) which captures Berlin’s turbulent history over the past 100 years.

The tour will begin in Moabit and end in the Mierendorffkiez. At each stop, Tim tells 2-3 different stories relating to the site:

Stop 1: Ottopark

– Infrastructure for a Greater Berlin

– A political history of infrastructure

Stop 2: Wastewater Pumping Station, no. VIII

– Unifying urban infrastructure systems

– Ambivalence of an icon to municipal modernism

– Echoes of wastewater reuse today

Stop 3: Charlottenburg Power Station

– A symbol of municipal self-government

– Sustaining the insular West Berlin

Stop 4: Ruths Steam Storage Facility

– Pioneering power generation for the ‘elektropolis’

– An early case of energy storage

Stop 5: Street Water Pump

– Manifestation of Berlin’s water table

– A ‘redundant’ technology lives on!

Stop 6: Gas Works and Distribution Facility

– Town gas ‘made in Berlin’

– Gas in the insular city

– Shift to natural gas

Stop 7: Kolonie Gerickeshof e.V.



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