In the late 1950s the Bauhaus architect Walter Gropius planned a satellite town in the suburbs of Berlin, under the device »Living in Light, Air and Sun«. Due to the housing shortage in West Berlin after the construction of the wall in 1963, the houses in the new urban district »Gropiusstadt« had to become taller, the open space smaller and it had to accommodate much more people. 90% of the apartments were built as social housings.
The new district developed in the 1970s very fast into an inner city and achieved never the reputation of a successful residential concept. During the planning phase the architects and responsible persons failed in questioning what a satellite town needs to enable a good and satisfied life for all its inhabitants. The district didn't offer any free time activities for children and teenager and it seemed to be built mostly for adults, who established a lot of restrictions on how to behave in the public areas. Those restrictions limited the possibilities for free time activities even more. A lot of young people were hanging around without real prospects. A way to escape the monotonous and bourgeois daily life could be alcohol, drugs and illegal activities.
36 000 people are living in Gropiusstadt today – every third person is older than 63, the part of people with migration background is around 42 percent. Gropiusstadt seems grotty, a lot is in need of renovation and it is still not the most welcoming place for young people, but it overcame being an inner city. The urban administration has not just realized these problems, but is working on improvements, which are visible and tangible. More green areas were applied, playgrounds and commercial centres created and offerings for the residents were established. Today the district is being confronted with the problem, how to be attractive for young people again. Like other satellite towns Gropiusstadt raises the question how cities will in future handle the growing population, increasing real estate prices and housing shortage.