Urban Structure / Urban Structure - Area Types Differentiated 2015

Map Description

Description of mapping units

The 52 different area types which are available as mapping units for the urban structure are categorized into six groups. This is designed to facilitate a logical assignment of types to the various uses, to support the mapping process. For example, block sections with residential use can only be assigned to area types belonging to the groups “Dense residential development” and “Low-density residential development”. In Map Urban Structure (06.07), similar area types are grouped into 16 overarching structure types, as well as body of water (which cannot be assigned a “classic” structure type), for better readability. The definition and description of area types can also be seen in the report on the documentation of mapping units and updating of the database 2015 (German pdf; 7.6 MB).

Area types of the "Dense residential development" group

Link to: Vergrößern
Tab. 1: Area types of the “Dense residential development” group
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin

Area type 1 “Dense block development, closed rear courtyard (1870s-1918), 5-6-storey” emerged during the Wilhelminian period (1870-1918) in order to maximize land utilization for residential purposes. It is largely found inside the city rail (S-Bahn) Circle Line, and is characterized by close blocks of 5-6 storey buildings. Often, there are still several courtyards, usually entirely surrounded by buildings and connected with one another only by passageways; some of these courtyards are only the size of a light shaft. Sometimes, the courtyards are commercially used; usually however, they merely serve the purpose of access to the wings and rear buildings, and as placement for rubbish bins or bicycles. Not only in the case of commercial utilization, are these courtyards virtually completely impervious. This area type is thus the most densely built-up and also the most impervious type of residential area.

Area type 2 “Closed block development, rear courtyard (1870s-1918), 5-6-storey” designates blocks with primarily closed 5-storey block construction, also built during the same period, also within the Circle Line, for the rapidly growing population of Berlin. The blocks consist largely of old buildings with wings and/or parallel rear buildings. In addition, there are also commercial and industrial buildings, public facilities buildings and restored or new buildings at the block-edges. The courtyards are encompassed by high buildings on several sides, but only rarely on all sides. There are often separated from neighbouring courtyards by walls or fences, so that they together constitute angled interior block spaces. Often, courtyard areas have been connected with one another in the context of renovation measures by means of partial demolitions, and are now used as comprehensive areas for such public facilities as childcare centres etc.

This area type is characterized by considerable mixture of residential areas and workplaces. It also includes larger commercial operations which require large non-built-up spaces for storage purposes, deliveries, car parks etc.

This category has a somewhat lesser degree of density and impermeability than the area type “Dense block development”. In better neighbourhoods, the courtyards often have old trees, paved walkways and decorative flower beds. In residential areas with a lesser degree of renovation, the share of completely impervious and minimally green courtyards is higher.

Area type 3 “Closed and semi-open block development, decorative and garden courtyard (1870s-1918), 4-storey”, is characterized by 4-storey block construction, often with front yards. The blocks with decorative and garden courtyards were often built during the Wilhelminian period (1870s-1918) in the then-suburbs of Berlin outside the Circle Line (today’s edge of the inner city). These buildings have only wings or only parallel rear buildings, but generally not both. They are characterized by a much sunnier interior block space than is the case for the above two area types; it is usually designed as a garden.

Area type 6 “Mixed development, semi-open and open shed courtyard, 2-4-storey” is characterized by open mixed structures, particularly at the edge of the inner city and at the edge of the city, and is there especially associated with the old village cores and sub-centres. There are some remains of old structures which were there before 1870, sometimes low, old buildings, sheds and workshops in the courtyards, and these areas are also interspersed with buildings associated with the 4-storey construction of the “decorative and garden courtyard” type, as well as new buildings – both single-family and multifamily houses, and rental-flat buildings – built after 1945. Accordingly, the appearance of these areas is fairly heterogeneous. Their characteristic feature is interior block spaces broken down into small parts, often with commercially used workshops and storage areas and parking spaces, but also some privately used vegetable gardens and orchards.

Area type 10 “Block-edge development with large quadrangles (1920-1940s), 2-5-storey” designates the type of block-edge construction with large residential inner quadrangles, which was typical for the period from the late 1920s to the mid-1940s.

The large quadrangles were formed by the complete or near-complete enclosure by 2 or 5-storey buildings directly on the street line. They were associated with more or less representatively designed entry areas, and sometimes semi-public passageways connecting the quadrangles with the streets. The large quadrangles are almost entirely green, and are characterized by an architecturally symmetrical design. In some early estates, the quadrangle was apportioned into residents’ gardens surrounded by hedges. Otherwise, the predominant form was an open space design with lawns and scattered old trees. Particularly characteristic were such “informal” species (birch or willow), which contrasted with the symmetrically arranged, “architecturally-shaped” trees (Lombardy poplar and spruce). Access paths were generally sparingly designed; however, parking garages were in some cases added later.

Area type 72 “Parallel row buildings with architectural green strips (1920s-1930s), 2-5-storey” describes the row housing of the 1920s and 1930s. During the late 1920s and in the 1930s, the first row houses were built in Berlin. The main purpose was to achieve optimum utilization of the lots, and to provide much light, air and sun to all the residences. The long rows of 2-5 storey houses were arranged parallel to one another. The free space between the houses was narrow and elongated, and open on the short sides.

The row houses give the streets a spatial closure, since they were not detached in the middle of the lots, as would be common after the 1950s. Rather, they were uniformly arranged at right angles to the street, so that their narrow edges together formed the building line. In some cases, terminal lateral buildings were arranged parallel to the street, so that a mixture of row and block-edge construction emerged, resulting in variegated exterior spaces. Passageways, vistas and jutties were used to visually break up the appearance of these streets. Moreover, the street space was varied by placing the buildings in front of or behind the building line, and with local extensions. Front yards were almost always provided.

Area type 8 “Heterogeneous inner-city mixed development, post-war gap closure” is also located within the residential neighbourhoods built during the Wilhelminian period. Here, unlike the previous area types, high-rise buildings with rental flats and offices were often built as rows or single towers in the block sections, often with no regard for the historic building lines or building heights of those streets. Remainders of Wilhelminian-period buildings are only sporadically present. The blocks have neither block interior spaces nor closed semiprivate courtyard areas. The non-enclosed open areas serve as car parks in the form of underground or surface parking. The other open areas are largely designed as non-usable green fringe.

Area type 7 “De-cored block-edge development, post-war gap closure” is scattered throughout the Wilhelminian-period residential neighbourhoods in the inner-city and the inner-city edge. The old buildings destroyed in the Second World War were replaced by the reconstruction of those buildings, or by new buildings in the gaps. Generally, the new buildings were placed along the same building lines as the old ones, so that this area type is largely characterized by closed block-edge construction, which is however sometimes interrupted by driveways, car parks, gaps, etc.

In the context of modernization with the new construction of front buildings, it was not uncommon for all lateral and rear buildings, as well as sheds, to be torn down. The result was a block interior area that was more open than the original structure; generally, it is subdivided at the lot boundaries by fences. In addition to the old structuring of the courtyards, these areas are often dominated by car parks surrounded by green space, such as lawns and bushes. In some cases, however, relatively large interior spaces were created, which have been designed as leisure spaces for the inhabitants, with green spaces and lawns, playgrounds and benches, or with such public facilities as childcare centres.

Area type 73 “Rental-flat buildings of the 1990s and later” includes those areas built since the beginning of the 1990s, which are considerably different from the typical large estates (cf. area type 9 “Large estate with tower high-rise buildings (1960s-1990s)”), and include a wide range of urban development structures, e.g. block-edge, row houses, town villas and townhouses. For the most part, these are major residential development projects of the 1990s and the first years of the 21st century, which have been carried out in the context of major urban development measures (Wasserstadt Berlin-Oberhavel, Rummelsburger Bucht) and other large projects (Karow-Nord, Buchholz etc.). By contrast, single-family housing areas, row house and duplex estates built during the 1990s and later are assigned to the area types with unspecified building age (area types 22 “Row houses and duplex with yards” and 23 “Detached single-family homes with yards”).

Open spaces and interior courtyard areas of the estates built since the 1990s are often designed as semi-public green spaces with playgrounds and leisure areas; the ground-floor flats often have terraces or small garden areas. Car parking space is increasingly being provided in underground garages.

Moreover, the estates built since the 1990s have a relatively energy-saving, in some cases ecologically oriented type of construction, thanks to current standards (relatively good insulation, in some cases passive houses, rainwater seepage, greened roofs, etc.).

The buildings of area type 9 “Large estate with tower high-rise buildings (1960s-1990s), 4-11-storey” appeared between the late 1960s and the end of the 1990s. Often, these were comprehensive large-scale residential areas at the edge of the city (satellite towns), mostly built by concrete plate construction. Smaller estates with row or block development can be found in the sub-centres and in the inner-city area. In the eastern part of the city, concrete plate construction was sporadically used even within the historic structural area.

Typically, unlike the following area type 11 “Free row development with landscaped residential greenery (1950s-1970s)”, various building heights and designs were used within the same estate. Often, these were 4-8-storey, semi-open block-edge developments, or mixtures of block-edge and row developments, which were in some cases combined with single tower high-rises or high-rise chains of ten storeys or more. Especially in the major estates, the buildings were often placed with no reference whatever to the streets, so that there is no homogeneous spatial street structure.

Large, non-enclosed open spaces often exist between the buildings, surrounded by large numbers of surface car parks. The pervious surfaces are largely covered by lawns and shrubbery.

Area type 11 “Free row development with landscaped residential greenery (1950s-1970s), 2-6-storey” emerged during the post-war period, primarily during the ’50s through the ’70s, in the context of the reconstruction programmes. The elongated mostly 4-storey blocks of houses arranged in rows were for the most part build as coherent estates in former residential areas badly destroyed in the war in the inner-city, and along the edges of the densely built-up areas at the inner-city edge.

Unlike the row housing of the ’20s and ’30s, the construction was no longer oriented directly toward the existing street grid. It is often oriented in an east-westerly direction, in order to provide more sunlight for the flats, but is no longer as strictly parallel as the rows built during the ’20s and ’30s. In the later years, the rows were often built in a staggered and shifted arrangement, or arbitrarily lined up along a curving pattern of streets. During the 1970s, designs in chain or spider-web form also emerged. By contrast with the area type “Large estate with tower high-rise buildings” each estate generally had uniform designs and heights.

Area types of the "Low-density residential areas" group

Link to: Vergrößern
Tab. 2: Area types of the “Low-density residential development” group
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin

Area type 25 “Densification in single-family home areas, mixed development with yard and semi-private greening (1870s to present)” developed from areas of the area types 23 “Detached single-family homes with yards” or area type 24 “Villas and town villas with park-like gardens”. Since, especially in former West Berlin, there was not sufficient free construction land available, there was a tendency during the second half of the 20th century to tear down old villas and single-family homes and to replace them with newly built larger rental-flat or apartment buildings, or to divide the lots and to build more houses in the former park-like gardens. The generously dimensioned interior block sections are now interspersed with buildings.

The new buildings are in many cases multifamily houses or rental-flat buildings where there are no longer any yards, but rather only a semiprivate green strip surrounding the entire building. The imperviousness and structural coverage degree of this area type is accordingly higher than it is for the two area types 23 “Detached single-family homes with yards” and 24 “Villas and town villas with park-like gardens”. This phenomenon is particularly notable in the south-western part of the city.

Area type 21 “Village-like mixed development” is located in the area of the old village cores and, due to more recent development, particularly that in the open spaces, can only be found outside of the Circle Line, and very rarely in completely preserved village structures (e.g. in Kladow, Marienfelde, Buchholz, or Heiligensee). The village buildings today consist of a mixture of new buildings and typical farmhouses, as well as the old buildings of the former village cores. The decisive factor is that the open space elements of the village, such as the old streets, the village green, the village pond, the manor park, the cemetery at the church, etc., are at least partially visible, and in the areas at the edge of the city are in some cases largely still preserved.

The typical old village buildings are 1-2-storey residential buildings along the streets with farm yards behind them, often enclosed by farmyard buildings of brick. Behind these are fruit and vegetable gardens. The low height of the buildings has been supplemented around the edges of the inner-city by single and multifamily homes. In addition to their residential function, the old village areas today function as local sub-centres, with shops, retail facilities, administrative centres, small workshops, riding stables, restaurants and garden cafés in the old farm buildings.

Area type 24 “Villas and town villas with park-like gardens (mostly 1870s-1945)” includes residential areas with villages and townhouses, largely from the Wilhelminian period through the end of the Second World War. Villas are representative single-family homes with yards. Town villas are similar to villas in design and overall appearance, but are multifamily houses with somewhat larger building volumes. Although they have the same use characteristics, these areas have larger lots and greater building volumes than those of the area type “Detached single-family homes with yards”. These buildings have front yards of uniform width, along a single building line, and are relatively close together at the block-edges. They form easily recognizable interior block spaces. The lots are separated by hedges or walls, and in some cases by old brick buildings, which were previously sheds or washhouses. In the case of town villas, the interior block space is sometimes relatively small, due to the larger building volume. The park-like impression of these gardens is created by the old trees which are very large, and in some cases exotic species. Sometimes the gardens include vegetable and flower beds; however, lawns with trees are dominant.

This area type rarely appears in pure form over an entire block, since the gaps caused by wartime damage have been filled by buildings of other styles. In addition, the pressure of change due to densification is great, due to the relatively large sizes of the plots in this are type (cf. also area type 25 “Densification in single-family home areas, mixed development with yards and semi-private greening (1870s to present)”).

Area type 22 “Row houses and duplex with yards” describes row house estates or closely arranged duplexes with more or less longitudinally extended yards.

Until 1945, the sizes of the garden plots were dimensioned so as to be able to provide subsistence in vegetables, potatoes and fruit, and permit holding of small animals and chickens. A certain share of vegetable and flower beds, fruit trees and bushes can still to some extent be seen in these old row yards, even to this day. Until 1945, these houses were always built around the block edges, so that the yards in the block interiors formed large continuous green spaces.

The modern row houses are usually no longer built along the block edges, but rather arranged along spur roads or access paths which lead into the interior of the block sections. As a result, there is no longer any common open interior block space, but rather only rows of individual gardens screened off from the neighbours. Since the 1990s, there has been a trend toward space-saving construction, with smaller lot sizes resulting in increased shares of built-up areas on the lots, so that the yards barely cover half the lot areas. The yards of the duplexes are somewhat larger than those of the row houses. This area type is nonetheless one of those with the highest shares of open space.

Area type 23 “Detached single-family homes with yards” includes on the one hand single family housing areas, in which the houses are mostly built along a single building line behind front yards of equal depth, and in which small, single multifamily houses with appropriate garden plots are integrated only sporadically. Behind the houses are the actual yards, which are today largely used for leisure activity or as decorative gardens, and only to a lesser degree as fruit and vegetable gardens. At the level of the entire block, this yard area constitutes a large free space which is however subdivided by fences and hedges.

On the other hand, this area type also includes residential areas characterized by often unplanned, non-homogeneous building designs with a mixture of 1 – 2-storey buildings including single-family homes, bungalows, workshops and garages of various ages.

Such open, usually unstructured residential areas are located in the outer areas of the city adjacent to the more densely built-up areas, and at the city edge. Often, the structural density of these areas has been increased by the construction of buildings on so-called “hammer lots” and later densification with multifamily houses and rental-flat buildings (cf. also area type 25 “Densification of single-family home areas, mixed development with yard and semi-private greening (1870s to present)”).

Area type 59 “Weekend cottage and allotment-garden-type area” includes all block sections which are shown on the actual use map as weekend cottage and allotment garden type use. Weekend cottages are, by definition, not permanently inhabited, and are largely for leisure use. By contrast with single-family home construction for residential use, these blocks generally have low building volumes and small-scale land parcels. Compared with allotment garden areas, these areas are, however, more densely built up, and the parcels tend to be larger.

Area types of the "Commercial, service use, small bussiness and industrial use" group

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Tab. 3: Area types of the “Commercial, service use, small business and industrial use” group
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin

Area type 29 “Core area” has all block sections assigned to it which are shown in the actual use map as core use areas. These are areas with high use intensity and density which are located exclusively in the central areas of the inner city and in the major borough centres. The core areas are of overarching significance for commerce, private and public services, as well as cultural and scientific institutions. Sometimes public facilities in the inner-city area, such as federal administrative buildings, embassies, etc., are assigned to this category.

Structurally, there are major differences between particular areas. The spectrum extends from Wilhelminian-period block construction to more recent high-rise construction. Generally, these areas are characterized by a high degree of urban density and of imperviousness.

Area type 31 “Commercial and industrial area, large-scale retail, dense development” describes areas with a corresponding use in which more than half of the area of the respective lot is built up and intensively used. Especially at the edge of the city, commercial and industrial areas have the typical structural design with large building cubatures. By contrast, the structural design in the inner-city areas, especially in small blocks, tends to include smaller structures adapted to the surroundings.

Area type 38 “Non-residential mixed use area, dense development” describes block sections with mixed use, in which more than half of the respective lot is built up, and the open spaces are almost entirely used as car parks or storage space. They are characterized by a mixture of residential and commercial use. The external appearance is largely marked by commercial use; the characteristics of residential use are little in evidence, so that the block cannot be assigned to any of the area types with residential character (see above, Group I).

This area type occurs mostly in inner-city densely built-up areas and in the centres of the outer areas of the city. It involves primarily multi-storey structures, often with storefronts and storage or manufacturing halls in the courtyards. The lot areas are more than half built-up.

Area type 30 “Commercial and industrial area, large-scale retail, sparse development” describes areas with a corresponding use in which one half or less of the respective lot is built up. The use of these large lot areas is here almost exclusively for the purposes of commercial production, the storage and shipment of goods, or as car and truck parks. There is virtually no residential use here.

Commercial areas with sparse development are increasingly located at the edge of the city, especially in areas with favourable traffic conditions, such as motorways, rail connections and waterways. There buildings are predominantly single-storey structures built during the post-war period, with generous surrounding spaces. In underused areas, these facilities are often interspersed with fallow areas. Generally, these areas have a lower level of imperviousness than the commercial and industrial areas with dense development.

Area type 33 “Non-residential mixed use area, sparse development” describes block sections with mixed use in which half or less of the respective lot is built-up. The commercial structures, which were only recently built, particularly in the outer city boroughs, consist primarily of single-storey halls and building complexes with large surrounding open spaces.

The commercially used areas involve primarily commercial operations with a high share of storage, shipment and car and truck parking (junkyards, dealers in building materials, shipping companies and retail businesses). They occupy a major part of the block section, so that the block cannot be assigned to any of the area types with residential character (see above, Group I). There are also large areas which are unused or only extensively used, on which spontaneous vegetation in varying phases of development is located (fallow area). Generally, these areas have a lower degree of imperviousness than the mixed areas with dense development.

Area type 32 “Utility area” includes all block sections shown in the actual use map as Utilities areas. This category includes areas with facilities of the technical infrastructure, including electricity, gas, water and district heat supply, as well as waste and sewage disposal.

Area types of the "Traffic areas" group

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Tab. 4: Area types of the “Traffic areas” group
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin

Area type 92 “Railway station and railway ground, without track area” includes all railway facilities except for the tracks, such as e.g. surface railway stations, railway freight stations, workshop areas, etc. Railway areas are a special case in terms of segment formation. In order to reduce the formation of block segments to the necessary minimum, the possibility for assigning dual use is used very broadly in this case. Thus, areas of the categories “Forest”, “Park/green space”, “Urban square/ promenade”, “Allotment garden facility” and “Fallow area” which are contained in railway blocks together with railway facilities are mapped as dual use traffic areas with the corresponding green space category. If the area is used by the railway, the type assignment is carried out in accordance with the respective utilization by the railway; otherwise the area will be assigned to the area type “Other traffic area”.

Area type 99 “Track area” describes the track areas of the city railway and the long-distance railway, as well as those sections of the underground/subway running outside the tunnels in open cuts. The track course is thus shown in its entirety.

Area type 91 “Parking area” is only assigned for car parks, parking garage buildings and garage facilities which either occupy an entire statistical block, or which evidently are unconnected with the utilization in that block. For instance, the car parks in the areas of major estates do not constitute block segments, even if they exceed the ascertainment limit of 1 ha, since they are part of the specific structure of this residential use. However, if such car parks are located in a separate block, they will be assigned to the use category “Traffic space” and the area type “Parking area”. This procedure also applies to the car parks in the vicinity of Public facilities/special use areas, such as the Olympic Stadium and the Messe Berlin Fairgrounds. In addition, median strips used as car parks and scattered large car parks in the city area and in recreational areas are assigned to this type.

Area type 94 “Other traffic area” includes not only the operating facilities of the BVG and the Central Bus Station Berlin (ZOB), but also traffic islands (except those which are evidently car parks), green and fallow strips along traffic routes, and promenades. It also includes areas of the categories “Forest”, “Park/ green space”, “Urban square/ promenade”, “Allotment garden facility” and “Fallow area” within railway blocks which are not used by the railway. In the use map, they are shown as dual use traffic areas with the corresponding green space category.

Area type 93 “Airport” includes both the runways, airport buildings and access areas such as roads and car parks, and the extensive open spaces surrounding the runways of the airport, mapped as dual use traffic space and fallows.

Area types of the "Public service and other special uses" group

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Tab. 5: Area types of the “Public service and other special uses” group
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin

All block sections shown on the actual use map as Public service and other special use areas are assigned to one of the following area types:

Area type 43 “Administrative” is assigned to the locations of public administrative offices. These include e.g. the borough offices, the town halls, the job centres, the courts, Senate departments, and such federal facilities as the locations of the ministries and the Bundestag. By contrast, embassies are assigned to the category “Other and miscellaneous public facility/special use area” (type 60).

Area type 45 “Culture” includes city museums, theatres, operas, the Philharmonic, etc. It also includes large-scale memorial graves and monuments.

Area type 41 “Security and order” includes areas used by the police, the fire department, the prison system, the military etc.

Area type 12 “Old school (built before 1945)” describes the schools built before 1945, on relatively small lots in the neighbourhoods characterized by imperial-era block construction. Their structural style is similar to that of the Wilhelminian-period area types. The non-built-up areas are used as leisure courtyards with playgrounds, or, rarely, as sports facilities.

Area type 13 “New school (built after 1945)” describes the schools built since 1945. Particularly the school centres built during the 1970s have very large lots, the non-built-up areas of which are used as leisure courtyards, playgrounds, or sports facilities.

Both area types, New schools and Old schools, include exclusively general educational and vocational schools. The locations of music schools, horticultural schools, “people’s colleges”, etc., are assigned to area type 60 “Other and miscellaneous public facilities/special use areas”, since they do not have the buildings and open space structures typical of schools.

Area type 44 “University and research” includes primarily the universities and colleges, as well as their associated teaching and experimental fields with agricultural or horticultural character, which are shown in the use map as public facility/special use area with corresponding open space dual use.

Area type 47 “Children’s day care centre” covers larger childcare centres occupying entire blocks. Smaller institutions are generally mapped in combination with other public facilities, such as schools or as part of residential areas. The buildings built since the Second World War are usually 1-2 storeys high; in rare cases they have three or more storeys. The old buildings have been adapted to the building style of the surroundings. Childcare facilities have very high open space shares, which are often intensively designed and used as recreational and play areas.

Area type 51 “Other youth facility” includes larger youth facilities sites which cannot be assigned to any other category, e.g. youth clubs, youth recreational centres, youth training centres, children’s and young people’s homes, children’s and young people circuses, school country centres, traffic schools and youth hostels and youth guesthouses.

Area type 58 “Camping ground” includes tent grounds, camping grounds and permanent campgrounds with mobile shelters, but not purely caravan camping places with an impervious parking-area-like character. Built-up areas include infrastructural facilities, such as sanitary buildings, and shopping facilities or restaurants, but the share of built-up areas overall is relatively slight.

Area type 60 “Other and miscellaneous public facilities and special use area” includes all public facilities areas which, as a result of lack of information or due to the nature of the system described herein, cannot be assigned to any other common use or public facilities area type.

Area type 49 “Church” is assigned if a considerable portion of the area of a block is occupied by church buildings. They often occur in connection with city squares or cemeteries, and may be mapped accordingly, as dual use areas.

Area type 46 “Hospital” includes both the structural facilities and the sometimes very extensive external grounds of each such institution. The time of construction of the hospitals is spread throughout the various construction eras. The hospital facilities built in the early 20th century were in some cases built in pavilion style. The relatively large external areas were designed as parks, and include a large share of access facilities. In later years, the style of construction was abandoned in favour of the central main building. However, large park-like external areas are usually typical here, too.

Area type 98 “Construction site” includes all areas designated as construction sites on the actual use map. These are areas with typical construction site characteristics, generally with bare soil. Once the foundations and/or the first storeys of a new building can be recognized, the site will be reclassified in accordance with its planned utilization.

Area types of the "Green and open spaces" group

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Tab. 6: Area types of the “Green and open spaces” group
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin

Area type 54 “City square / promenade” includes all areas mapped for this use in the actual use map, provided they have not been assigned any dual use as Public facilities / special use or traffic areas. These are public spaces in the life of the city which serve as places of leisure and recreation, assembly, or markets, or else as transit areas for pedestrians and bicyclists closed to street traffic.

City squares and promenades generally have a higher degree of impermeability than do those of the area type “Park / green space”.

Area type 17 “Sports facility, covered” includes sports facilities in which the share of covered sports facilities (halls) is dominant. These may include combinations of sports fields and sports halls, stadiums and multipurpose halls with a predominantly structural character, indoor swimming pools, riding halls and ice-skating rinks, as well as covered over water sports facilities.

Area type 16 “Sports facility, uncovered” includes major sports locations in which the share of uncovered – i.e. non-built-up – sports facilities dominates the appearance. The buildings belonging to the sports facilities, such as dressing rooms and equipment storage facilities, are also included. Uncovered sports facilities may include stadiums, single sports fields, with or without tracks, in some cases located on the grounds of schools, tennis courts, outdoor swimming pools, golf courses and facilities used for riding, shooting or water sports.

Area type 36 “Tree nursery / horticulture” is assigned only to those block sections which are shown with that use in the actual use map. These are areas with predominantly open land plantation. It includes not only the planning areas of private tree nurseries and horticultural businesses, but also the borough horticultural operations and the city horticultural vocational schools. Areas entirely inside halls, on the other hand, are counted as commercial and industrial use.

Area type 37 “Allotment garden” includes all areas mapped for this use in the actual use map, provided they have not been assigned any dual use as traffic areas. The assignment and area delineation of the allotment gardens is based on the catalogue of data of Berlin allotment garden facilities maintained by the respective Senate department, which lists the allotment gardens as per the Federal Allotment Garden Law.

Other areas with similar use characteristics are assigned in the actual use map to the use categories “Weekend cottage and allotment-garden-type use”, and are therefore assigned to area type 59 “Weekend cottage and allotment-garden-type use” in the urban structure mapping system.

Area type 53 “Park / green space” includes only block sections which are also assigned to the category Parks/green spaces on the actual use map, provided they have not been assigned any dual use as public service and other special uses or as traffic areas. In addition to the public green spaces listed in the Register of Green Spaces, this category also includes other green areas, provided their appearance is similar to that of publicly accessible green spaces, and that they evidently enjoy regular horticultural care.

The extensive park and leisure facilities mapped in the actual use map as parks or green spaces, which are almost exclusively characterized by extensively cared-for or non-cared-for forests or meadow-like areas, may be assigned to the area types Fallows or Forests (e.g. Klein-Glienicke People’s Park).

Area type 27 “Cemetery” includes all areas mapped for this use in the actual use map, provided they have not been assigned any dual use as Public facilities/special use areas. In addition to those areas currently used for burials, these include former cemeteries, provided that their character as cemeteries is still recognizable.

Structurally, cemeteries vary primarily in terms of their stock of trees. While forests cemeteries and older park cemeteries are essentially characterized by their old tree stands, newer cemetery facilities may have almost no large trees.

Area type 57 “Fallow area” describes the usually no longer used areas on which a variegated array of vegetation, such as nutrient poor or dry meadows or ruderal fields may develop. All areas mapped under one of the fallow use categories are aggregated in this area type, unless they also have a structural use; in that case there type assignment is in accordance with that structural use. Moreover, certain facilities mapped under the use category “Park / green space” may be assigned to this area type is the area evidently is not being cared for, and is dominated by ruderal vegetation (e.g. Tegel Creek).

Area type 56 “Agriculture” is assigned to all block sections which are shown on the actual use map either as pastures/meadows or farmland, provided they have no dual use as public service and other special use areas. In that case, they would be assigned to one of the above area types (see above, area types of public service and other special uses).

Blocks with operational courtyards used by horticultural offices as well as certain research institutions such as the Institute for Crops Research and associated teaching and experimental fields of the universities are mapped as dual use public service and other special use areas, and are then not assigned to the area type “Tree nursery/ horticulture”, but rather to the area type group “Public service and other special uses” (see above).

Area type 55 “Forest” includes all areas mapped as the use category “Forest”, unless they at the same time have some structural use. In that case, the type assignment is in accordance with that structural use. In addition, some areas mapped in the use category “Park / green space” may be assigned to this area type, if they are predominantly extensively cared for areas planted with trees (e.g. Klein-Glienicke People’s Park).

Area type 100 “Body of water” is assigned to all block sections which are also shown as body of water in the actual use map. Body of water include not only natural waters, such as rivers and lakes, but also canals and the retention and seepage basins of the Berlin Waterworks, provided they are recognizable as water surfaces.

Key characteristics of area types

A differentiated definition and description of area types can be found in the report on Flächennutzung und Stadtstruktur – Dokumentation der Kartiereinheiten und der Aktualisierung des Datenbestandes 2015 (Land use and urban structure – Documentation of mapping units and updating of the data base 2015). There, particular mapping units of the area types are described in detail with reference to particular representations. Each particular representation contains:

  • a text description
  • the mapping rules
  • information as to how many sections are included in the respective category
  • information on building age, provided categorizing statements can be made in that regard
  • information on key characteristics
  • exemplary representations showing the distribution of the block sections in the urban area, a section from the K5 (Map of Berlin, scale 1 : 5,000 (K5)), a section from the digital orthophotography (Orthophotos, aerial survey April 2009), and ground-level photos of typical blocks, as well as
  • where appropriate, notes on changes in content undertaken since the last revision.

The key characteristics in each case include the area-weighted mean, the area-weighted 5th and 95th percentile and the cumulative frequency diagram for the following characteristics:

  • degree of impermeability (cf. Environmental Atlas Map Imperviousness (01.02) (2012 Edition)
  • the Floor Space Index1 (cf. Environmental Atlas Map Urban Development Density (06.09) (2016 Edition))
  • the Site Occupancy Index3:cf. Environmental Atlas Map Urban Development Density (06.09) (2016 Edition)
  • the number of building storeys2
  • the number of inhabitants per ha (cf. Environmental Atlas Map Population Density (06.06) (2016 Edition)) and
  • the green volume.

These characteristics are the factual data available in the data bases which are regularly generated in the Urban and Environment Information System (ISU), with the block map as the spatial reference. The statements contained in the brief descriptions were calculated according to the current use maps by statistical evaluation. In order to ascertain the ranges, the lower limit was given as the 5th percentile, and the upper limit as the 95th percentile, in order to avoid including atypical outliers. In exceptional cases, there are indeed therefore sections which fall outside these characteristic ranges (10 % of sections).

In the context of the revision, automated plausibility checks were carried out on the basis of key characteristics, and exceptional sections were visually examined. For some statistical evaluations, only those sections could be used the geometry of which had not been changed with respect to ISU5 2010. For some of the new areas, the necessary data were not yet available.

Table 7 shows the key values ascertained by statistical evaluation for all area types. For example, it is evident that the dense block construction with closed courtyards is the most densely inhabited area type, with an average density of 507 inh./ha. The exceptionally high use intensity of core areas can be seen from the high average floor space indices.


1 The Floor Space Index (FSI) is calculated as the ratio of the sum of the storeys of all main buildings in the block (not counting such ancillary buildings like garages, etc.) to the area of the block.

2 For the calculation of the number of storeys, the quotient of the SOI and the FSI was used (FSI / SOI = no. of storeys).

3 The Site Occupancy Index (SOI) is calculated as the ratio between the sum of the built-up and/or build-under areas (main and ancillary buildings, underground car parks etc.) to the block section.

Link to: Vergrößern
Fig. 2: Representation of a single area type (example) from the report on the documentation of mapping units and the updating of the data base 2015
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin
Link to: Vergrößern
Tab. 7: Key characteristics for selected area types, as of: December 31, 2015
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin
Link to: Vergrößern
Fig. 3: Evaluation of key characteristics for selected area types, inhabitants/ha as of: December 31, 2015
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin
Link to: Vergrößern
Fig. 4: Evaluation of key characteristics for selected area types, Floor Space Index, as of: December 31 2015, FSI data as of: January 2015
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin

Grouping by structure types

In Map Urban Structure (06.07), similar area types are grouped into 16 overarching structure types, as well as body of water (which cannot be assigned a “classic” structure type):

Link to: Vergrößern
Tab. 8: Grouping of area types to structure types
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin

The representation of the structure types is concentrated, even more than that for the area types, on areas with primarily residential use. The 17 differentiated area types with primarily residential use are grouped into 11 structure types with such use, while the other 34 area types (not including body of water) with other uses are grouped into the five remaining structure types.

The 11 structure types with primarily residential use our differentiated on the basis of the structure of their buildings and open spaces, and of their building age.

Link to: Vergrößern
Tab. 9: Description of structure types with predominately residential use
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin

This differentiated perspective has repeatedly proven to be effective. For example, the urban structure mapping system was taken as a secondary data source for the overall city biotope mapping process, and the description of the structure types on the basis of the structures of the buildings and free spaces has largely been adopted for the descriptions of the biotopes in built-up areas (see also: Berlin’s biotope type list (only in German)).

Distribution of structure types in Berlin

The 11 structure types of primarily residential use occupy approx. half of the built-up areas of Berlin. The category “Low buildings with yards” occupies 47 %, by far the largest portion of residential areas, followed by “Postwar high-rise development”, with 10 %. “Village-like development” has the lowest shares of the area, with 1 % each (cf. Fig. 5).

Link to: Vergrößern
Fig. 5: Shares of structure types with primarily residential use of the total area of Berlin with primarily residential use, or mixed use with residential character, Area sizes based on block map ISU5
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin

The distribution of the urban structure types within the Berlin boroughs shows the different urban development character of these boroughs (cf. Fig. 6).

Link to: Vergrößern
Fig. 6: Shares of structure types with primarily residential use of the total area of the Berlin boroughs, and of the entire city, in per cent
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin

In Mitte and Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, a relatively high proportion of Wilhelminian-period block development has been preserved, amounting to between two thirds and three quarters of the residential area; in some cases however it has been considerably changed. In the other boroughs, that share is considerably less; citywide, the average of buildings from that period is only 14 %. In Marzahn-Hellersdorf, both the share of Wilhelminian-period block development and that of row development is vanishingly small. The largest share of row development occurs in Tempelhof-Schöneberg, followed by Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf and Neukölln. The high share of development of the post-war era accounts for an above-average share in the boroughs of Lichtenberg (41 %) and Marzahn-Hellersdorf (26 %). Low buildings with garden structures are almost completely absent in the inner-city borough of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, but account for approx. three quarters of the residential area in the boroughs on the edge of the city, Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Treptow-Köpenick, Marzahn-Hellersdorf and Reinickendorf.

The Wilhelminian-period block development with wings and rear buildings (structure type 1), which have hardly changed since they were built can be found in parts of Charlottenburg and Wilmersdorf, between Lietzensee (Lake), Kurfürstendamm, Richard-Wagner-Straße and Spandauer Damm. In Moabit, Wedding and in Friedrichshain between the Circle Line and Petersburger Straße, along Warschauer Straße, and also in Kreuzberg, Neukölln and Schöneberg between the axes Neukölln Shipping Canal/Skalitzer Straße/Gitschiner Straße, Karl-Marx-Straße/Gneisenaustraße/Yorckstraße, and Potsdamer Straße/Hauptstraße, the dense development with typical rear courtyard structures have largely been preserved.

The Wilhelminian-period block-edge development with few wings and rear buildings (structure type 2), which includes the area types “Decorative and garden courtyards” and “Shed courtyards”, can be found in the former suburbs of Berlin outside the Circle Line. These building structures, too, have hardly been changed since they were built. Large such areas exist in Friedenau, in Steglitz, in Tempelhof and Friedrichshagen, in Oberschöneweide, Karlshorst, Pankow, Niederschönhausen, and Spandau, and in Reinickendorf west of Provinzstraße.

Large areas of Wilhelminian-period block-edge development with major changes (structure type 3), which emerged as the result of war-time destruction and reconstruction, or of reconstruction with massive demolition of Wilhelminian-period block development, are found within the Circle Line, particularly in Charlottenburg between Otto-Suhr-Allee and Bismarckstraße and along Spandauer Damm, in Tiergarten around the Spree Bend and Invalidenstraße, and south of the Landwehr Canal around Potsdamer Straße, in Wedding between the City Rail Line between Nordbahnhof, Gesundbrunnen and Bernauer Straße, and in Friedrichshain west of the Warschauer/ Petersburger Straße corridor and, east of these streets, in the area of Frankfurter Allee. Also in Schöneberg and Wilmersdorf, there are many areas in which the typical Wilhelminian-period courtyard structure was changed significantly by reconstruction and renovation.

In Prenzlauer Berg, Kreuzberg, Charlottenburg and Neukölln, very much of the Wilhelminian-period development of the area types with “closed courtyard” and “courtyard” is still preserved in its original form. The share of very dense development of the type “closed courtyard” is relatively high in Neukölln, Wedding and Kreuzberg. Preservation-oriented reconstruction, under which the original Wilhelminian-period block structures were largely preserved, occurred most prominently in Kreuzberg. In Tiergarten, Friedrichshain and Wilmersdorf, war-damage to Wilhelminian-period block development was largely eliminated and replaced, particularly by new buildings of the post-war block-edge type. Major changes in Wilhelminian-period buildings through reconstruction by de-coring were most common in Wedding.

The 1920s and 1930s block-edge and row development (structure type 4) is found mainly outside the Circle Line. Frequently, the rows and quadrangles were built in neighbourhoods where the “Wilhelminian-period development with few wings and rear buildings” type dominated, at the edge of the former suburbs of Berlin. They are as a rule served by the City Rail and subway/ underground network.

The 1950s and later row development (structure type 5) were built mostly in the Berlin outskirts, outside the Circle Line. They were created on former open spaces (agriculture areas, etc.) without regard for existing transport corridors or development structures. Within the Circle Line, formerly built-up areas were replaced by row development. This includes large areas in Mitte, Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, but sporadic areas with row development in the former Wilhelminian-period block structure also exist in other inner-city areas.

The Postwar high-rise development (structure type 6) can be found as heterogeneous inner-city mixed development in the western parts of the city. Large areas of this type exist in Wilmersdorf around Bundesallee, in Schöneberg in the area of Nollendorfplatz and Kleiststraße, and in Kreuzberg between Wilhelmstraße and Stresemannstraße. The major share of postwar high-rise buildings are assigned to the area type “Post-war high-rise development with single tower high-rises”. Within the Circle Line, these are found only in Kreuzberg, Mitte and Friedrichshain, where smaller developments of this area type emerged. As a rule, the high-rise developments were built outside the City Rail Circle Line. Major such complexes in West Berlin include Gropiusstadt in Neukölln, developments in Lichtenrade, Marienfelde, Lichterfelde and Spandau, and the Märkisches Viertel in Reinickendorf. In East Berlin, the largest developments are found in Hohenschönhausen, Marzahn, Hellersdorf and Lichtenberg. Estates with block-edge and row development with concrete plate construction and single tower high-rises are mostly found in Hellersdorf, Marzahn and Spandau. Smaller such estates were also built e.g. in Köpenick and Hohenschönhausen.

Large areas of structure type 8 “Residential development of the 1990s and later” were mostly built in the context of urban development projects, mostly on the outskirts of the eastern part of the city, as in Karow-Nord and Buchholz. Some of the larger residential projects, such as Rummelsburger Bucht, are also at the inner-city edge. The largest project in the western part of the city is Wasserstadt Oberhavel in Spandau.

The Low buildings with yards (structure type 10) with usually single-family homes or duplexes and yards can be found throughout the outskirts of the city.

The Villa development with park-like gardens (structure type 11) emerged mainly during the Wilhelminian period in scenically attractive areas; this has hardly changed since then. Major such areas are located near the Grunewald Forest in Nikolassee, in Zehlendorf, Dahlem and Grunewald, in Lichterfelde, near the Tegel Forest in Hermsdorf and Frohnau, along the Dahme at Grünau, and in the area the Müggelspree river at Rahnsdorf.

Development with yards and semi-private greening (structure type 12), in which villa development and/or low single family houses are interspersed with larger rental-flat and studio-apartment buildings, occurs mainly in the southern urban area, particularly in the transitional areas between villas and single family housing in Lichterfelde and Zehlendorf.

Village-like development (structure type 13) is still preserved on the outskirts of town only in the old village cores; in the eastern boroughs, more and larger village structures can generally be found.

Structure types with Predominantly retail, service, commercial and industrial use are concentrated along waterways and railroad lines.

Development with predominantly retail and service use (structure type 14) is largely found in the old core areas of the various parts of the city. This applies particularly to both the city centre areas of West and East Berlin concentrated around Kurfürstendamm/ Tauentzienstraße and Alexanderplatz/ Friedrichstraße, respectively.

Densely built-up commercial and industrial areas (structure type 16) occur less frequently than commercial areas with sparse development (structure type 15).

Structure types of Development with predominantly public facilities and special use are to be found relatively evenly distributed throughout the urban area.

Obviously, Green and open spaces (part of structure type 18) are more common in the outskirts area than in the inner city. As Traffic areas (part of structure type 17), for example, Tegel Airport and the railway grounds stand out, as do the large car-parking areas at the Olympic Stadium and in the area of the ICC/ZOB.