More than a thousand refugees will soon move into homes on the site of the old Templehof airport in Berlin, a site which residents had voted to preserve as a park.
For the moment, the old runways are used for bike stunts, land yachting and skating, following a referendum in May 2014 which called for the building to be banned on the land. But soon 976 prefabricated homes will be installed on an area of the site the size of 12 football pitches, in what residents worry could be just the tip of the iceberg.
Each cabin will house up to four people in two bedrooms with a separate bathroom and kitchen. They are due to be removed by 2019, when their inhabitants should have been resettled.
The use of the land is not the only concern, some worry for refugees forced to live in an effectively closed community.
“They are planning to grow up a ghetto,” Berlin integration’s senator Elke Breitenbach pointed out.
Another debate is around the cost – 16 million euro for a site with a lifespan of two years.
“The government could find many better long-term places for refugees,” claims Mereike Witt, part of the 100 % Tempelhofer Feld association. “For example, they have no washing machine and the houses are in an open ground for 6 kilometer, which is very windy.”