BERLIN

Germany's creative capital emerged from its troubled past as a city of undercurrents, a creative melting pot, and a hot spot for innovation. Within the past century, the city outlived Prussian imperialism, industrialization during the Weimar Republic, systematic air raids, and bureaucratic genocide under the Third Reich. Berlin then became a spatial manifestation of the Cold War, one of the most crucial sites of the Iron Curtain. Layered with palpable history, Berlin is also a dynamic place in constant transformation, shaped by experimentation and tolerance.

Berlin is a low- density metropolis that was designed for more people that actually live in it. The city has never returned to its population height, which peaked right before the Second World War. Nevertheless, with approximately 3.5 million citizens today it is one of the largest cities in western Europe. Berlin is the largest and fastest growing city in the country and 68% of all new Berliners are in their 20s. The young demographic profile makes Berlin an attractive destination for many. With multiple renowned universities and a famous nightlife, Berlin attracts thousands of foreign students and a multi-cultural workforce.

After 25 years of German reunification, the city is making progress. Approximately 80% of all businesses are in the service sector, making Berlin a predominately service- driven economy. It is a place for entrepreneurs and start-ups, with the highest number of new businesses in the country. Though unemployment in Berlin is still over double the German average, in 2014 it reached a 20-year low at 11.0%. As Berlin transforms into a center of investment, business relocation, adaptive reuse and urban development, it also faces an alarming increase in rent prices and gentrification.

The climate in Berlin is continental and features all four seasons, even though the winter seems disproportionately longer to many. Winters are infamously dark and chilly with average temperatures barely above freezing and only a few hours of sunlight per day. Spring and autumn months have relatively similar intermediate sunlight and mild temperatures, but may include unexpected sunshine and showers. During the Summer temperatures stay in the twenties, which is why it is the preferred time for visitors. Over the last decade, tourism has more than doubled, making Berlin one of the most popular tourist attractions in Europe.

Despite some gritty corners, Berlin is an overwhelmingly green city defined by forest-like parks, guerrilla gardens, diverse bodies of water and urban beaches. People swim in the lakes during the summer and bike through darkness in the winter. Berlin is a highly environmental city and a leader in CO2 reductions, having slashed carbon emissions by over 30% since 1990.

Among the characteristic features of the Berlin is its remarkable resourcefulness and spatial multiplicity. Rehabilitated historical structures, with high-tech elements resulting in unique architectural hybrids that express the creative nature of Berlin's growing creative class. People rent offices in makeshift offices and studios, building creative networks in unusual locations. The changing environment in Berlin is a constant agent for cultural transformation.

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