Edit by: Nicole Winchell and Julian Roncal
Photos by: Nicole Winchell
If Oz is the emerald city, then Berlin is the ephemeral city. Trends, clubs, people and ideas come and go, as the city is a transient hub of change and innovation. Thus it was appropriate that Emergent Berlin find itself on the banks of the Spree, perhaps the cities most visible struggle between Berlin’s transitional past, present and future.
Organized by das Baumhaus, Emergent Berlin took place in the boathouse once belonging to the chilled beach club Kiki Blofeld, now known as Spreeacker id22. The Spreeacker is a non-profit, civil society-based organization that supports sustainable urban development and innovative housing. Wooden huts are sprinkled along the sandy riverbanks, faded bunt flags blow in the wind and leftover remnants from the club era peek through like carefully curated art installations.
After a short walk along the beach, past the multistory construction site rising up out of the trees, festivalgoers arrived at the boathouse. At the bottom of the stone steps, a happy mix of entrepreneurs, thought leaders and curious individuals were gathered together.
People sat in small circles, sharing ideas and drinking beers, while lounging on the upcycled wood pellet furniture made by Kimidori.
On the other side of the boathouse, over 20 presentations were held. The presentations varied in subject, ranging from applying guerilla theatre tactics to instigate activism, to collective problem solving and transparent business models.
Due to Berlin’s rather unpredictable spring weather, (apparently the sun’s caught on to the ephemeral trend) the workshops and film screening moved next door to Katerholzig. Festivalgoers were shuttled there via boat.
In a city like Berlin, where there are endless options, it was impressive to see so many young entrepreneurs, activists, and supporters come together in the name of building a sustainable urban culture.
If Emergent Berlin, and initiatives like das Baumhaus and id22, are indications of Berlin’s newest face, then we’re in good hands. Let’s hope this is a trend that’s here to stay.