On the occasion of celebrity birthdays, I like to look into the Tagesspiegel archives, look for early mentions in the founding years of our newspaper 1945ff and often find something exciting and surprisingly forward-looking. May 18, for example, is the birthday of Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius.

There is currently a lot to be read about the “15-minute city”: urban quarters with short distances that offer culture, education, trade, gastronomy and urban nature in a direct living environment that is as easy to walk as possible. Due to the pandemic, war and climate crisis, resource-saving planning that helps to avoid unnecessary journeys has become even more relevant.

Accordingly, I thought this was a newer idea. And then read in the Tagesspiegel 75 years ago, archive keyword “Gropius”: “He was particularly interested in urban planning with the tendency to divide the gigantic structures of the big cities into individual, self-contained ‘neighborhoods’.”

And further: “The required residential districts with a maximum of eight thousand people generally only require distances of up to 15 minutes.” So much for Walter Gropius in 1947 in the Titaniapalast in Steglitz (here the article at the time).

Apparently no one listened to him. Berlin became the city of long distances.

The Tagesspiegel newsletter, which you can order here free of charge, recently celebrated its fifth anniversary and is available for all twelve Berlin districts, with more than 262,000 subscriptions. In it we inform you once a week in a bundled and compact way about what’s going on in your district. We also often let readers have their say in the newsletters, after all nobody knows Berlin’s neighborhoods as well as the people who live there.