Affairs

Urbanism

On the edge— Berlin

Preface

The word “suburban” isn’t usually a compliment, but not all suburbs are created equal. Wannsee, at the edge of Berlin, enjoys high quality of life and surprising diversity, due to both idyllic geography and centuries of accidentally advantageous geopolitics.

Housing, Society, Suburbs, Transport

Suburbs evolve in different ways. Some, like Levittown on New York’s Long Island, are mass-produced experiments in affordable housing. Others are random urban overspill, like outside any Chinese city. There are exclusive but boring gated communities; low-income, densely populated housing projects on the periphery or simply the nondescript interstitial zones that the Pet Shop Boys once sang about in the 1980s song “Suburbia”. Most get a bad rap.

But while a good suburb is hard to find, some do offer personality: a quality of life that may not be…

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