Berlin questions 2021 featured disruptive and agenda-setting keynotes, panel talks and discussions, online and in person at several locations in Berlin. Discover the 2021 program here.

Wednesday, 11 August 2021 | Main Conference Day

10:00 – 11:30

Conference Part I

Live at ewerk Berlin & Online in „The Virtual Now“

Opening Keynote

THE NEW NOW – Why are we here?

Michael Müller

Governing Mayor of Berlin

live on-site

Video Statement

Where are we now in the pandemic?

Prof. Dr. Christian Drosten


digital statement

Introduction to Berlin questions & edition #4

Burkhard Kieker & Lutz Henke


live on-site


Harry Moseley

CIO Zoom Communications

digital statement


Pandemic and Protest: Africa as the Laboratory of the Future

Lesley Lokko

African Futures Institute, Accra

live on-site


To Tune or Not to Tune

Caroline Nevejan

Chief Science Officer, Amsterdam

live on-site


Lesley Lokko x Caroline Nevejan

live on-site

Fortnightism @ Virtual Conference

Carson Chan

Director Emilio Ambasz Institute at MOMA, New York City

Gustav Düsing

Architect & Educater

digital statement

Coffee Break

12:00 – 13:30

Conference Part II

Live at ewerk Berlin & Online in „The Virtual Now“


Private Money & Public Good

Patricia Atkinson

Philanthropy Advisor

live on-site

Report from Zurich

Corine Mauch

Mayor of Zurich

digital statement

Report from Nairobi

Silvester Kasuku

Economics and planning advisor Nairobi

live remote


L’Union des Refusés: Unionizing for (art) workers commons, citizenship and decentralized grassroots governance

María Inés Plaza Lazo

Arts of the Working Class, Berlin

live on-site

Report from Warsaw

Michał Andrzej Olszewski

Deputy Mayor of Warsaw

live on-site

Report from Freetown

Yvonne Aki-Sawyyer

Mayor of Freetown

digital statement


A photojournalist’s perspective of Lagos in a pandemic

Yagazie Emezi

Artist & Photojournalist

live on-site

Lunch Break

14:30 – 17:00

Conference Part III

Live at ewerk Berlin & Online in „The Virtual Now“


A world on the move: cities showing how humanity must adapt to change

Parag Khanna

Founder & Managing Partner FutureMap, Singapore

live remote

Report from Jakarta

Vera Revina Sari

Acting Deputy Governor of DKI Jakarta for Spatial Planning and Environment

digital statement


The story of the Exile Museum – a dialogue between past and present

Dorte Mandrup

Dorte Mandrup A/S, Copenhagen

live on-site

Report from London

Sadiq Khan

Mayor of London

digital statement


On Constructing Belonging

Sumayya Vally

Counterspace, Johannesburg

live remote


Dorte Mandrup x Sumayya Vally

live on-site / live-remote


THINK CIRCULAR – What can be done to rethink how we build and live together

Sabine Oberhuber

Turntoo, Amsterdam

live on-site

Report from Los Angeles

Eric Garcetti

Mayor of Los Angeles

digital statement


Michael Müller x

Horacio Rodríguez Larrera

Mayor of Buenos Aires

live on-site / live remote


A Global Moratorium on New Construction

Charlotte Malterre-Barthes

Harvard University, Cambridge

live on-site


Charlotte Malterre-Barthes x Sabine Oberhuber x Martin Henn

live on-site


17:30 – 19:30

Conference Part IV

Live at ewerk Berlin & Online in „The Virtual Now“


Chris Lehane

Head of Policy and Communications Airbnb

live remote


Chris Lehane

Head of Policy and Communications Airbnb

Sumi Somaskanda


live on-site / live remote

Report from Seoul

Oh Se-Hoon

Mayor of Seoul

digital statement


Tragedy of the Commons, a Misunderstanding.

Hito Steyerl

Artist & Professor for Experimental Film and Video at the Berlin University of the Arts

live on-site


Revenge for the real – How our
cities have changed through the pandemic?

Benjamin Bratton

Professor of Visual Arts the University of Cali-fornia, San Diego, and Program Director of The Terraforming programme at Strelka Institute

live remote


Hito Steyerl x Benjamin Bratton

live on-site / live remote

Report from Istanbul + Interview

Ibrahim Orhan Demir

City of Istanbul

live remote


How to extend and preserve public space

Elizabeth Diller

Architect & Partner Diller Scofidio + Renfro

live remote



Live at ewerk Berlin & Online in „The Virtual Now“

Timings and programming may be subject to change due to Covid-19 travel restrictions and respective time zones.

Thursday, 12 August 2021 | Deep Dive Program

14:00 – 16:30 Spreepark Berlin, Kiehnwerderallee 1, 12437 Berlin

Public Luxuries


14:00 – 16:30 Offline

Streamed online in „The Virtual Now“ at 17:30

Deep Dive „Public Luxuries“

Cities are the centres of creativity, diversity, and science; they fulfil citizens’ need for connectivity by offering density and spontaneity. In times of lockdown and isolation, we have come to value community and social interaction. Never has the abundance of possibilities for change been so evident as in this pandemic era. Urban living in this sense is a luxury. It offers opportunities in all spatial dimensions and scales, and it presents public space as a common good. Cities are home to people who can maximize these possibilities in new and unique ways, and who seek to engage with each other. How can we conceptualize and restructure public space to create the cities of the future, cities that we want to live in? What concepts should we consider in order to make our cities sustainable and resilient – and at the same time develop new ways for communities to strengthen public life in society? Which designs foster cohesion and dynamic interaction, and how can cities spark this organically? And most crucially: If all these elements have been entrusted to cities, how do we ensure they are maintained, protected, and adapted for the needs of future generations?

Impulses and Discussion with:

Guerilla Architects, artistcollective

Dr. Matthias Kollatz, Senator for Finance, Berlin

Matylda Krzykowski, Designer & Curator

María Inés Plaza Lazo, Founder, editor & publisher of Arts of the Working Class

Christian Windfuhr, Chairman Board & former CEO Grand City Properties

Florian Wupperfeld, Founder Leading Culture Destinations

moderated by Sumi Somaskanda

Spreepark is a public luxury in hibernation, waiting to be re-activated and become a generous and attractive place for city dwellers. There’s no better place to discuss what future urban luxuries must entail to serve the people best.

17:30 – 20:30 San Gimignano Lichtenberg, Am Wasserwerk 22f, 10365 Berlin

Quarantine Economies

San Gimignano Lichtenberg

17:30 -19:00 Offline

Explore San Gimignano Lichtenberg

19:00-20:30 Offline & Online (live stream in „The Virtual Now“)

Deep Dive „Quarantine Economies“

The pandemic has shown us how swiftly local and global economies could shift potentially. Complete industries thrived, have been disrupted or completely re-structured. The time of quarantine marked a moment of standstill: The urgency of the pandemic made fundamental and structural change inevitable. The pandemic thereby proved the idea of Alternativlosigkeit wrong. Human paradigm and cultural values are not a given, but inscribed in the social, economic and legal frameworks that structure our everyday lives. How can we find and implement new policies for a common and better future of global metropolises?

How can we mobilize the law—too often producing processes of injustice and economic subordination at the service of companies and neoliberal forces—to act spatially and counter speculative construction, gentrification, social and spatial segregation, resource depletion, and technological escalation? Is a moratorium the right legal tool to bring spatial matters and resources to public debate? More generally, how to harness policy as a space regulator, bearing in mind its powers and limitations?

Discussion with
Manuel Ehlers, Head of Sustainable Properties Triodos Bank

Sabine Oberhuber, Co-Founder Turntoo

Deane Simpson, professor of architecture, urbanism and urban planning at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen

Saskia Hebert, Co-Founder subsolar* architektur & stadtforschung

Tobias Hönig und Andrijana Ivanda, Co-Founders c/o now

and opening impulse by

Ramona Pop, Deputy Mayor and Senator for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises

The program will be moderated by Charlotte Malterre Barthes (Harvard GSD) and Angelika Hinterbrandner (Brandlhuber+ Team/

San Gimignano Lichtenberg is an ongoing architectural project initiated and developed by a group of architects, TV producers, gardeners, carpenters, artists, journalists and many more. It is developed from an industrial wasteland and located between hypermarkets and logistics centers. It is a visual manifestation of the consequences of current developments in urban economies.

20:30 Sundowner & Networking

San Gimignano Lichtenberg

Friday, 13 August | Deep Dive Program

14:00 – 16:30

Disrupted Mobilities

Berlin Tegel TXL

14:00 -16:30 Streamed online in „The Virtual Now“

Deep Dives and discussion with:
Nik Hafermaas, Managing Partner Graft Brandlab

Ross Douglas, Founder & CEO AUTONOMY Paris

Katja Diehl, Activist & Founder She Drives Mobility

Ghazaleh Koohestanian, Founder & CEO Re2you

Prof. Dr. Meike Jipp, Head of the Institute, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Transport

Nico Gramenz, CEO Factory Berlin

moderated by Ali Aslan

Many companies and political institutions tend to view mobility as a means to an end, when in reality it is the driving force of human existence: it determines where we
can or cannot go, with whom we travel and what our journey looks like. It is the nexus of all social needs and is at the heart of the most important innovations of our time.
Disrupted Mobilities interrogates agents of change about potential developments, in which they themselves play an important role. It investigates the great dilemmas of mobility: human vs. machine, fossil vs. post-fossil, ownership vs. utilisation, horizontal vs. vertical. Is this just the beginning of a truly mobile society?

With its distinctive octagonal shape and rich history, enabling the Berlin Airlift for example, the airport BERLIN TEGEL is a landmark of the city. After serving as Berlin’s main connection to the world since the 1970s, the airport closed in 2020 and is currently at the centre of a public debate to redefine its role.

17:30 – 21:00 Haus der Statistik, Berolina Straße 21,
10178 Berlin

Civil Responsibility

Haus der Statistik

17:00 – 17:30 Offline

Arrival at Haus der Statistik

Since the start of the project in 2015 by the Haus der Statistik initiative, the Haus der Statistik model project has stood for civil society engagement and novel forms of cooperative collaboration. Since 2018, the five cooperation partners – SenSW, Bezirk Mitte, WBM Wohnungsbaugesellschaft Berlin-Mitte, BIM Berliner Immobilienmanagement and ZUsammenKUNFT Berlin eG – have been developing the Haus der Statistik site in joint responsibility and at eye level. In 2018, the integrated workshop process laid the foundation for the procedural and cooperative neighbourhood development that will accompany the project in the coming years across all neighbourhood components – from the pioneering uses, to the renovation of existing buildings and new construction, to the shared open spaces, as well as fundamental questions about awarding and organisational models for the future users.

17:30 – 18:15 Offline

Streamed online in „The Virtual Now“ at 19:00

Deep Dive Civil Responsibility

Panel 1: „Public Civil Partnership – New Forms of Cooperative City-Making (en)“

As a rule, civil society initiatives and neighborhoods have little opportunity to influence business operations and strategic decisions within state-owned companies responsible for the creation of affordable housing, commerce and socio-culture. At most, they can „participate“ through associated advisory boards such as (e.g., tenant advisory boards). Public participation in urban development processes should include all urban actors. New forms of participation must be supported and improved. These include co-production
as well as collaborative design processes. In civic-public partnerships, civil society, politics and administration set out together to achieve a common goal. In contrast to classic commissioned work, however, what is jointly decided and controlled is also jointly implemented here. Responsibility for
the whole is thus formally shared in the long term. By combining different talents and approaches, better solutions to existing challenges are developed together. The conflict between formal and informal urban development is resolved.
This new type of cooperation within a shared organizational structure can lead to an openness of the administration away from purely compulsory tasks and thus to more active support for projects oriented toward the common good. A civic-public partnership as an
independent legal entity also offers an agile framework for action that municipalities do not have due to their often rigid administrative structure.
The discussion will shed light on the following questions:
Which factors are relevant for the success of a joint ownership?
What conditions (legal, financial, cultural, political) must be met in order to establish a civic-public partnership?
How can shared values be secured in the long term while retaining decision-making power?
How can new roles be taken on in politics, administration and civil society so that the competencies of all can be bundled in a targeted manner? What support is needed for the actors on this path?
How can collaborative action and long-term shared responsibility be continued into operation?
What can be learned from the experience of public-private partnerships that can be transferred to public-civic partnerships?


Ephraim Gothe, Deputy District Mayor and District Councillor Berlin Mitte

Wenke Christoph, State Secretary for Housing Berlin

Caroline Paulick-Thiel, Executive Director Politics for Tomorrow

Patricia Atkinson, Philanthropy Advisor

Moderated by Leona Lynen, Haus der Statistik

CIVIL RESPONSIBILITY at the Haus der Statistik concerns the cooperation between politics, administration and civil society that is to be tested continuously, as well as the question of the watchdog function that civil society can (and must) assume for a city that is affordable and oriented towards the common good in the long term. What is being prototypically tested at the House of Statistics on a small and large scale concerns not only the Berlin context but also an overarching national, European and international context. The international public-civil partnership debate gives rise to several sub-topics that need to be considered in context, but also in focus: these include the question of a fair market economy in relation to land and property, as well as the legal framework conditions that make it possible to use tools such as heritable building rights or land funds/CLT models, and cooperative urban and neighbourhood development that promotes cooperation between the administration and civil society actors in the sense of a city that is oriented towards the common good and sustainable.

18:30 – 19:15 Offline

Panel 2: „Urbane Governance“ (de)

Städtische Politik und Verwaltung agieren im Spannungsfeld finanzieller und gesetzlicher Vorgaben, der Erwartungen ihrer Bürgerinnen und Bürger sowie lokaler Unternehmen, aber auch im Kontext der demographischen Trends der Region. Während sich die Handlungen von zivilgesellschaftlichen Initiativen in der Regel im Prozess des alltäglichen Machens entwickeln, folgt kommunales Handeln prinzipiell rechtlich überprüfbaren, kontrollierbaren, transparenten, mehrheitsfähigen, rationalen Normen. Gleichzeitig entstehen neue Formen kollektiven Regierens und demokratischer Kontrolle über lebenswichtige materielle Ressourcen wie Wasser und Wohnraum; für genossenschaftliche und lokale Ökonomien; für ein Recht auf Stadt für alle. Es geht weniger um ein “Fördern lassen”, als vielmehr um ein “selbst machen”, oder ein “neues miteinander”. Weniger Government mehr Governance.

Stadtmacher*innen werden von Beteiligten zu Ko-Produzent:innen von Stadt, indem sie Verantwortung für Orte und Prozesse übernehmen. Dabei erschließen sie sich neue Aufgaben und erproben neue Rollen abseits des Denkens in Zuständigkeiten. Mit dem Begriff Urbane Governance legt das Haus der Statistik den Blick auf eine veränderte Handlungspraxis und eine neue Art der Prozess- und Organisationsgestaltung frei – nicht zuletzt um die Notwendigkeit interdisziplinärer Kooperationen, Komplizenschaften und
Kollaborationen zu betonen.

Panel „Urbane Governance“ (DEU) with:

Claudia Sello, Vorständin Gängeviertel eG

Eric Honegger, Denkstatt Basel

Melanie Kryst

Moderiert von Konrad Braun, Haus der Statistik

19:15 – 21:00 Offline

Civil Responsibility in Action: Gemeinsamer Spaziergang zum 1.
Berliner Kiezgipfel

Saturday, 14 August | Deep Dive Program & Grand Finale

14:00 Floating University, Lilienthalstraße 32, 10965 Berlin

Ecology after Nature

Floating University

14:00 – 16:00 Offline

“The nature of urban ecological practice” – workshops and talks curated by raumlaborberlin & Floating University


Marco Schmitt + Zoë Claire Miller / the Exorcier-Raku, Kathrine Ball / Water artist / Contaminations / Water filtration, Martina Kolarek / die Bodenschaft / life/live Composting, Hans Unstern + Simon Bauer + Kids Uni / Building situational Harps, Free Radicals – suprise, Club Real / open letter to the city, Kolonie Flughafen / Nachbarschaftstouren and Lukas Turtur as Bruno Latour

Spectacularly staged as a temporary platform for exchange and teaching in a former rainwater retention basin, the Floating University has been addressing the pressing issues of our urbanized present for several years.

16:00 – 18:00 Offline & Online (live stream in „The Virtual Now“)

Deep Dive Ecology after Nature

For too little time cities have been challenging themselves to implement measures that mitigate climate change. So far most are failing miserably in doing so. The process of involving various stakeholders who represent competing and contrasting interests is crucial to make important progress on creating sustainable cities – but not many city administrations know how to change their top down policies. Change has been therefore intermittent and piecemeal, despite the acceleration of extreme weather patterns that have challenged urban centers to find solutions quickly and holistically. Our cities are facing everything from scorching heat waves to severe flooding and a scarcity of crucial resources like water. How can we introduce a climate caring urban practice?

Ecology after Nature goes beyond the ecological perspective and asks how the driving forces of technology, economics, society and more than human actors can help us create a truly sustainable future. Ecology will survive nature – but what will replace the role of nature on a damaged, urbanised planet? Shall we adopt a holistic approach to innovation and growth, incorporating for instance alternative models of economic thinking and the integrative nature, richness, and intelligence of urban space? Is smartness with data and numbers really the solution to fighting climate change? Or isn´t it radical empathy, resilient transparency, transdisciplinary communication and a solid funding of artistic work and cultural life in the urban space? Only a new culture of empowerment, responsibility and trust can support a resilient urban practice.

10 relational questions with

Aljoscha Hoffmann/Tempelhof Projekt GmbH vs. Gudrun Sack /Tegel Projekt GmbH, Niklas Maak / FAZ vs. Patricia Atkinson / Philanthropy Advisor and Marianne Ramsey Sonneck / Organismendemokratie.

Quizmaster : Benjamin Foerster-Baldenius / raumlaborberlin / Floating e.V.

18:00 – 20:00

Encounters at the Mudpit – concert, food and drinks with Hans Unstern – playing on situanional harps, Tischleindeckdich – offering terrestrial Food at Floating Bar supported by Kollektiv Benush – Experimental Limo

20:00 – open end

Marathon for the New Now

Floating University

Offline & Online (live stream in „The Virtual Now“)

Marathon for the New Now

On the closing day of the conference, anyone can join the discussion and make a contribution to the theme of this year’s edition, Metropolis: The New Now, which explores the future of the city after the Covid-19 pandemic.
The “Marathon for the New Now” opens the stage to anyone who would like to contribute to the debate: questions, ideas and statements are all welcome. The Marathon’s central question is “If you only had five minutes, how would you describe your metropolis of the future?”

Moderated by Sumi Somaskanda & Friedrich Liechtenstein

Berlin and Online • 15 — 16 September 2022 • Berlin and Online • 15 — 16 September 2022 • Berlin and Online • 15 — 16 September 2022 • Berlin and Online • 15 — 16 September 2022 • Berlin and Online • 15 — 16 September 2022 • Berlin and Online • 15 — 16 September 2022 • Berlin and Online • 15 — 16 September 2022 • Berlin and Online • 15 — 16 September 2022 •