20.07.2022, Berlin: Zwei Joggerinnen laufen am Morgen hinter dem Wasserstrahl eines Rasensprengers im Berliner Tiergarten. Foto: Christoph Soeder/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

Too loud, too hot, not enough green and the air too dirty: all the bad environmental factors that nobody wants in their immediate living environment occur, especially in the center of the capital when you look at Berlin. And they are accumulating in places where the poorer sections of the population have been living.

This is the result of the new Environmental Justice Atlas for Berlin, which the Senate Environmental Administration published on Tuesday.

Wedding, Gesundbrunnen, Moabit, North-Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain and North-Neukölln are particularly affected by heat, noise, bad air and a lack of green spaces. It is there that people suffer most from the external conditions. This hits the Mitte and Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg districts particularly hard.

In no other district is the supply of green spaces worse than in Mitte – and that despite the huge zoo.

Especially in Wedding, Moabit, but also Alt-Mitte, parks hardly characterize the cityscape. More than half of the district’s planning spaces struggle with bad air and heat.

The situation is worst in the Schwedenstraße planning area in Gesundbrunnen. It is one of the only two planning areas out of 542 in the city that show problems in all four environmental indicators as well as the social situation.

[Where can Berliners cool off in the heat? Find the coolest and windiest spots in the city on our interactive map.]

The Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district is similarly affected by heat build-up. At the same time, there is also far too little green space there. In addition, there are the second most neighborhoods that have a high level of air pollution. Only in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf are more planning areas affected by exhaust gases.

Nowhere are so many areas affected by excessive noise as in Treptow-Köpenick. The reason for this is probably BER Airport. And although the district as a whole is very green, there are nowhere as big problems with heat as in Marzahn-Hellersdorf.

Overall, the environmental pollution is lower, especially in the less densely populated suburbs. In most cases, these are also the better residential areas, single-family house settlements or residential areas.

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“The atlas shows us which neighborhoods we need to focus our attention on for appropriate programs and it confirms that environmental protection is still a burning issue of justice,” said Environment Senator Bettina Jarasch (Greens).

People with a low social status are still particularly often exposed to high levels of environmental pollution. “They live in neighborhoods with a lot of traffic and little green space. We have to manage to improve the quality of life, especially in these areas that are heavily polluted,” explained the senator.

However, the data does not reflect the fact that rents have recently exploded almost everywhere in the city center – despite the high level of environmental pollution. Whereby the same often applies there: the rents are higher in the quiet side streets, where the middle class lives. The rather poorer population still lives on the noisy and dirty main streets.

[In our newsletters we report weekly from the twelve districts of Berlin. Free and compact: leute.tagesspiegel.de]

A circumstance that the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district now takes into account in its transport and urban development policy. Nowhere else are there so many initiatives to calm traffic in neighborhoods. But mostly they come from the academic middle class that lives there. The areas with poorer, more immigrant populations push the district far less to improve the living environment.

The district has therefore recently announced that it will calm traffic in the entire district as much as possible – and start where the need is most urgent, regardless of local residents’ initiatives.

However, there is a danger that SPD parliamentary group leader Raed Saleh recently pointed out: If the neighborhoods are upgraded, gentrification threatens to hit them even harder.