According to the latest data collected, 167,745 people live in Potsdam, Wiesbaden has 276,218 inhabitants, Kiel has 241,533, Schwerin 96,800, Mainz 209,779, Saarbrücken 178,151, Magdeburg 235,732 and Erfurt 210,118 (source).

What is this list for? These are the German state capitals where fewer people live than in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf. Here 341,392 were counted. The list illustrates the imbalance between population size and political weight. Despite the large number of residents, Berlin districts are only allowed to make few decisions themselves and are often under the auspices of the Senate and state authorities.

An example from our district newsletter: The responsible city councilor of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf is begging to be allowed to buy something banal for the district, such as its own speed camera, in order to get the everyday problem of speeding in West City under control.

Or the desire of the district to quickly implement traffic calming with more structural protection after the rampage on Tauentzienstraße, which the traffic minister rejects.

Or the plans of several districts for more complex road conversions to enable more cycling infrastructure… That’s why there is a dispute with the Senate Department for Transport, which first wants to implement simpler, already planned measures, which in turn blocks the entire traffic turnaround in Berlin (more on this at T in the digital subscription).

So it’s time to give the districts more responsibility. That would also mean that it’s no longer enough to conveniently ask others to do something that you don’t have to do yourself anyway. Unfortunately, official ping-pong will then be cancelled.

If the districts themselves were responsible, they could not only demand. You would have to do.

The Tagesspiegel newsletter, which you can order here free of charge, is available for all twelve Berlin districts, with more than 263,000 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.