During the last years of the 19th century, Siemens concentrated most of its facilities in Siemensstadt, an area northwest of Berlin. By 1914, the community had become a small city which hosted the firm's facilities and residences.
After World War II, when Berlin was split in 2, Siemens gradually abandoned Siemensstadt and its facilities were re-established in Munich.
Today, Siemensstadt is a decadent industrial region consisting of old factories and nonoperational offices. “The old people start talking about the good old days when Siemens was in charge: kindergartens, schools, jobs, clubs and apartments—everything was Siemens,” Lutz Oberländer, a local resident and a historian who wrote a book about Siemensstadt, stated.
However, Siemens plans to invest a $600 million into the “Siemensstadt 2.0" project. The new city will consist of new infrastructure projects including residential buildings, schools, restaurants, renewable energy and transportation facilities as long as research centers. Moreover, an old rail line will be revitalized and will link the city with Berlin's new (unfinished) airport, when completed.
The project has provoked conflicted emotions among local residences. Some of them are in favor of the endeavor as it will provide occupation to many citizens and will upgrade the area. Others state that the hectic construction works will cause a series of problems for people living in the area. Moreover, infrastructure upgrades will lead to an increase in rental prices.
According to Yashar Azad, a Siemens spokesperson, the plan will be cautiously implemented to benefit residences. Moreover, Siemens will take into consideration local's concerns about the city's design. “We are placing a lot of emphasis on regular dialogue and we are reaching out to church groups, sports clubs and schools. We are also planning to include locals in the architectural competition, where they can express their wishes and concerns to the jury,” Mr. Azad, stated.
Construction works could begin in 2021. According to an agreement, signed in 2018, Berlin city will invest 0.5$ million to upgrade the neighboring infrastructure.