The project Markthalle IX in Berlin successfully counteracts gentrification by reactivating a historical building. Today, the Markthalle IX is a location that provides space for local entrepreneurs and initiatives to offer their products and to spread their ideas. It accomplishes to serve as an urban space that combines countryside living, slow food and intimacy with the values of 21st century city life and diversity in supply and culture. The Markthalle IX is over 120 years old and was originally inaugurated on October 1st in 1891. It is one out of three remaining market halls in the city and unique in its current utilization as fusion of individual business, local market and meeting point. It was reopened in 2011 and further extends its offers since then.
Kreuzberg, Berlin back in 2009. The heart of the capital´s arts and culture scene beats here. Over the past years, galleries, entrepreneurs and a series of in vogue- and independent (coffee) shops settled in the former sink estate and turned it into Berlin´s scene quarter. But one significant building was left out of this transformation. By that time, the Markthalle IX was home to discounters such as Aldi and Kik and the city planned to further expand the supermarket center. Luckily, three visionaries and local residents managed to hold up the negotiations and developed a plan on the future of this urban space.
Nikolaus Driessen, Bernd Maier and Florian Niedermeier, who run the Markthalle today, put all their passion and time in the realization of their project. They developed a plan on how to retransform the rundown building into its former utilization as lively point of trade, exchange and experience. After two years of negotiations and efforts at persuasion, the Markthalle IX was reopened in 2011 and hosts now a weekly farmers market on Fridays and Saturdays. It aims to promote predominately regional and seasonal products, small businesses and local buying opportunities.
Besides the weekly market, the Markthalle has permament fixtures such as a bakery, a fish and meat smokehouse, a small in-house brewery and a cafeteria. On thursdays, the Markthalle IX opens its door to host the so called Street Food Day. It promotes the multicultural diversity of Berlin´s food scenery on a more sophisticated scale than Döner and Currywurst. In addition to its function as a center for the manufacture and sale of produce, the Markthalle also serves as a platform for projects revolving around the subjects of nutrition, city living, agriculture, biodiversity and the environment.
The markthalle is a paragon of modern city planning and an example that gentrification does not always come along with negative side effects. It shows how a place can turn from an uncultivated leftover of good times with unattractive businesses to a highly innovative urban space that follows the trend of sustainability and consciousness for food.