A plan to build 4,700 homes on the site of Berlin's Tempelhof Airport was blocked by voters this weekend. The airport, which was built in the 1920s and has a long history as a key site during World War Two and the Cold War, was closed in 2008 and there has since been a debate over what to with the vast site, including a 2011 competition to transform it into a park and other facilities, and an outlandish unofficial plan in 2009 to create a 1km high mountain on the site.
However perhaps the the most popular idea has also been the simplest: in 2010, the airport was opened to the public without any changes, and become an impromptu urban park popular with kite-flyers and roller-bladers who circle the site's runways.
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The plans were proposed by city officials to house Berlin's growing population, and would have covered around 20% of the airport site, which is roughly the size of New York's Central Park. However, a local citizens' initiative called "100 percent Tempelhofer Feld" fought back, collecting 185,000 signatures asking for a referendum on the issue. In that vote, cast at the weekend, 65% of Berliners voted against the plans for development, meaning that for now at least, Tempelhof Airport will remain unchanged.
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