In 1920, the population of Berlin doubled overnight. The incorporation of neighbouring, previously independent cities and municipalities created one of the largest cities in the world. Starting in August 2020, the Märkisches Museum will present an extensive special exhibition on this event. With a view to Berlin's past and present, it explores the question of how a chaotic upheaval can be turned into a constructive renewal: What makes a metropolis work?
On 1 October 1920, the "Greater Berlin Act" incorporated many surrounding areas into the city of Berlin – 27 estate districts, 59 rural communities and the seven previously independent cities of Charlottenburg, Köpenick, Lichtenberg, Neukölln, Schöneberg, Spandau and Wilmersdorf. As a result, the population grew to 3.8 million people, and the urban area increased thirteenfold. This made Berlin one of the largest and most densely populated cities in the world, alongside New York and London.
Now with 20 districts, the city's policies sought to balance the large financial and social imbalances among its constituents. A "politics for everyone" was developed to provide all people living in the city with a minimum standard of education, health, housing and recreation. In addition, it finally became possible to implement centralised urban and transport planning. The Greater Berlin Act formed the basis for the city that we know today - the metropolis of Berlin.
The exhibition presents historical and contemporary perspectives, inviting visitors to embark on a journey of discovery that leads from the city's problems to possible solutions and future potentials. This includes issues of housing, transport, recreation, administration and connections to the surrounding area, as well as issues of identity.
"Chaos & New Vision - Berlin 1920|2020" is the central exhibition of the cooperative project Großes B – dreizehnmal Stadt (Big B – Thirteen Times City) by Stadtmuseum Berlin and the twelve Berlin district museums. The exhibition features an extensive accompanying programme an the online photoalbum 1000x.berlin, an illustrated city history of 100 years of Greater Berlin.