Threats and hopes for abandoned buildings in Berlin: an urban exploration approach


  • Pablo Arboleda Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg (Germany)

Palabras clave:

Abandoned buildings, Berlin, urban exploration, touristification, commodification, gentrification, informal re-appropriation.


Abandoned buildings have become a distinguishing mark for the recent history and alternative spirit of Berlin. The growth in popularity of urban exploration, which focuses in illegally trespassing these neglected places, has made Berlin a hotspot for such a subculture, whose practitioners express an extreme sensibility about the current and future state of the buildings they explore. Through this perspective, the present article identifies three main threats towards the buildings: a touristification phenomenon created by urban exploration; commodification as a result of this touristification; and the increasing gentrification in the city that ignores the tangible and intangible qualities of the buildings. By critically reviewing these aspects, the article concludes proposing ‘informal re-appropriation’ as an integrated solution that prioritizes public participation and slow urban development over neoliberal immediate revenues, where minimal interventions contribute to preserve Berlin’s unique aesthetics embedded in its abandoned buildings.

Biografía del autor/a

Pablo Arboleda, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg (Germany)

Estudiante de doctorado en la Bauhaus University Weimar (Alemania)