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Urban Planning Dialogue Process for the Checkpoint Charlie Educational and Memorial Site

Dialogue for considerations related to urban planning, heritage preservation, open space, transportation, and tourism.


Europe and Northern America




Urban Design and Public Space

Project Details


  • Berlin (Germany)


  • Consultancy


  • Senatsverwaltung fur Stadtentwicklung und Wohnen
  • Senatsverwaltung für Mobilität, Verkehr, Klimaschutz und Umwelt
  • Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Gesellschaftlichen Zusammenhalt – Abteilung Kultur


  • Zebralog GmbH



One of the most significant historical sites in Berlin

Checkpoint Charlie attracts over 4 million visitors every year. During the division of Berlin, this site was home to the East German border crossing Friedrich-/Zimmerstraße and the Western Allied checkpoint "Checkpoint Charlie".

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, development projects along Friedrichstrasse were partially incomplete. The planned block perimeter closure along Friedrichstraße after the fall of the Berlin Wall could not be fully realized. As a result, there are currently undeveloped plots on both sides of Friedrichstraße within the historic city structure of Friedrichstadt.

Site view

The Berlin Wall and its former border crossings are not only a site of remembrance for Berlin and Germany, but also a place symbolising the confrontation of world powers during the Cold War.

What Berlin lacks is a central city location that commemorates, illustrates, and contextualises this confrontation. Therefore the vision is to create an educational and memorial site at Checkpoint Charlie that represents the border crossing at Friedrichstraße and the Berlin Wall in its global political context and makes the historical traces visible.

The development of this site encompasses a range of urban considerations including heritage preservation, spatial planning, transportation, and tourism.

Interest from investors in 2015 spurred the creation of development plan 1-98 in 2016, which the Berlin Senate approved in 2020. This plan specifically envisions a space for education and remembrance.

Furthermore, the building usage regulations in the development plan are intentionally designed to allow for creative freedom in the realisation of this educational and memorial site. However, this flexibility has resulted in several unresolved urban planning challenges. These challenges must now be addressed through the dialogue process, ensuring that the site not only serves its educational purpose but also integrates seamlessly into the city's urban landscape.

Preceding process that led to the dialogue process at Checkpoint Charlie

This process aims to refine the guidelines for the design competitions scheduled for next year. The preparation and implementation of this dialogue wascoordinated by the SenSBW II D, alongside the Department of Culture, the Berlin Wall Foundation (SBM), and external coordination by Zebralog, who provided engagement and organisational support, meanwhile, TSPA's role was guidance and support on content development.

The urban planning dialogue aimed to create a unique space for tourism, culture, work, and living, functioning as a transport hub and city square, easily understood through its design and architecture.

The planning prioritises the design of public spaces, encompassing areas specified in the development plan for the public square, community use, streets, facades, and transitions of nearby plots.

Site area

Therefore, urban planning and cultural guidelines would form the basis for the subsequently planned private lots.

A interdisciplinary planning team was selected to develop various scenarios, which were presented through diagrams and illustrative designs. These scenarios informed the development of guidelines.

This content was presented at several public events and discussed together on the basis of plans and models.

Workshop with stakeholders
Workshop with stakeholders preparation
Evening workshop at Forum Factory

Together with the internal working group and the information gathered from the consultations, guidelines were derived from the urban design drafts which serve as recommendations for action for the further process.

Checkpoint Charlie site view