How can successful neighborhood development be achieved? Vonovia is pursuing an integrated approach in Reinickendorf, striving to get local residents involved. The aim is to create a family-friendly neighborhood that meets intergenerational needs and offers benefits for everyone.
“Building the Berlin-Ziekow district together” – in line with this motto, we launched a project to develop the housing settlement on Ziekowstrasse hand-in-hand with our tenants and the Reinickendorf local authorities, with a view to future development. The project will involve measures to modernize the existing apartments, not least to contribute to climate protection.
The overall plans are to be implemented in several sub-projects; we will start with the energy-efficient refurbishment of 1,100 existing apartments. The next stage will involve the construction of more than 500 new apartments, with a particular focus on cross-generational living. This will allow us to become part of the solution to the Berlin housing shortage problem. We will also be improving the infrastructure in the neighborhood: The overall concept features the construction of another childcare center, an additional supermarket, redesigned green spaces and optimized parking.
Dialogue From Day One
The neighborhood development project in the Borsigwalde district will change the everyday lives of the people living there. This meant it was important to us to get them involved in the process early on. Sebastian Jung, Managing Director responsible for East at Vonovia, says, “We are aiming for a delicate and socially responsible approach to the regeneration of the Berlin-Ziekow district. This is something that we can only achieve by engaging in dialogue and knowing exactly what topics are particularly important to our customers. ”
Since the 1950s, two buildings, ten and fourteen stories respectively, have formed the heart of the settlement located on Ziekowstrasse.
shaping things together
Residents have various options open to them when it comes to engaging in dialogue with us during the development process. They include tenant workshops, allowing residents of the Berlin-Ziekow district to play an active role in shaping their neighborhood.
The first tenant workshop was organized in June 2019 on the topic of mobility. First, urban and transport planning experts presented their ideas for a new mobility concept, including concepts for car sharing, bicycle parking and charging stations for electric cars. Next, the tenants came up with their own ideas and voiced their preferences regarding how to reorganize both stationary and flowing traffic in the neighborhood.
A second workshop dialogue after the summer break looked at the issue of modernization. The tenants worked in small groups to discuss what is important to them when it comes to apartment and building modernization and what other aspects have to be borne in mind during the process. A lot of ideas were collected at the workshop – on the use of building materials, on lighting for building entrances and stairwells, on the replacement of windows and doors, on the use of photovoltaic and solar thermal facilities, on the maintenance of green spaces, and on a whole range of other issues, including general safety.
Available Throughout the Project
The “Kiezschaufenster” (neighborhood shop window) is a central and permanent forum for dialogue. It is a centrally located information and communication point that is staffed by the neighborhood development team three days a week to answer tenants’ questions regarding the project. If need be, the on-site team can also visit tenants in their own apartments; we used door-to-door discussions to provide a third of households with information on the project status in person. While this might be a time-consuming approach, it plays a key role in fostering acceptance for the project. Anyone who is not interested in a direct conversation but still wants to remain informed can keep themselves up to date by consulting the website.
It goes without saying that Vonovia is also in contact with all of the other neighborhood groups, such as the “Johanniter” (Order of St. John charitable organization). As the neighborhood is designed to be attractive for families, sufficient playgrounds, for example, need to be made available. We consult the future operators of the facilities on the best possible design concepts and what else needs to be taken into account.
On a path that suits everyone
All in all, the agreement sends out a clear signal: when it comes to the implementation of the project in Berlin-Ziekow, it is important to us to win our tenants over and make sure that they also have the financial resources to wholeheartedly support the project. Ultimately, this sort of constructive cooperation helps everyone - current and future customers, the local facilities and the district as a whole.
„The first thing we always do is provide information to our tenants.“