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Berlin Environmental Atlas

09.01 Environmental Justice (Edition 2015)

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Complementary Indicator 2: Socio-spatial Distribution of Residential Characters in Berlin
(Planergemeinschaft Kohlbrenner eG 2015)

The different building structures have an aggravating or attenuating impact on health conditions, well-being and the satisfaction with housing. However, the concrete surrounding conditions are also relevant, since in some circumstances building structures of the same kind can differ significantly with respect to housing quality. Therefore, the Berlin rent index not only includes statements related to housing and buildings but also assesses the surroundings of the location of a dwelling along with the residential character. The following characteristics are featured in the differentiation:

  • surrounding use,
  • density,
  • infrastructure,
  • access to public transport,
  • access to recreation areas,
  • demand and image,
  • inner city/suburb.

A high traffic noise load (street, rail, air traffic) is identified as an additional attribute.

Through the residential character, a complex area description is mapped onto a three-level scale, which is supplemented by other descriptive characteristics and can thus contribute to a more differentiated small-scale assessment. The Berlin rent index distinguishes between simple, medium and good residential character.
The information on residential character in the rent index further complements and substantiates the five core indicators and the building structure (cf. Figs. 3 and Abb. 4).
Based on the available findings of the Berlin pilot project on environmental justice, the approaches for taking health-relevant factors into account can be further extended and systematised.


Fig. 3: Distribution of the residential characters at the level of the planning areas in Berlin (Planergemeinschaft Kohlbrenner eG 2015)


Fig. 4: Distribution of the simple residential characters at the level of the planning areas in Berlin (Planergemeinschaft Kohlbrenner eG 2015)

As described above, the "simple residential character" exhibits many characteristics problematic for health, such as very dense development, few green and open spaces, predominantly untended cityscape, often bad building condition, and in parts a strong impairment through industry and commerce. Its significance as a complementary indicator becomes evident in evaluating the data.

In December 2010, 42 % of the 3.37 million Berlin inhabitants had postal addresses with simple, 41 % with medium and 17% with good residential character. At the end of 2010, around 960,000 people (28 %) were living at an address with noise load, of whom 46 % with simple, 37 % with medium and 17 % with good residential character.

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