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L.I.S.A. Redaktion | 08/28/2019 | 4415 Views | 4 | Movies by the Gerda Henkel Foundation |

Invisible Berlin

Invisible Berlin | Episode 1

Every city possesses a unique underworld – an infrastructure system comprising countless pipes, cables and conduits for water and sewage, electricity, telecommunications, gas and, sometimes, district heating. Berlin’s sewers alone are 9,725 kilometres long – that’s the distance between Berlin and Beijing. These underground networks have conventionally been studied and described by engineers. Here, the historian Dr. Timothy Moss explores this underground urbanism in past and present. In a project funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation he studies the transformation of infrastructure across Berlin’s turbulent history in order to reveal how diverse political contexts have shaped – but also been shaped by – these often invisible sinews of the modern city. The first step into this underworld of Berlin takes us into a bunker.



Audio stream of the video

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The Project
This project interprets Berlin’s twentieth-century history through the lens of its infrastructure systems. It will analyse archival and published material to reveal how the policies, plans and practices surrounding the design, provision and use of the city’s energy and water/wastewater services changed (or did not change) in response to the regime diversity experienced between 1920 and the present. Exploring how infrastructure systems – generally renowned for their path dependence – were affected by five political regimes (encompassing the Weimar Republic, Nazi dictatorship, socialist East Berlin, capitalist West Berlin and the reunified city) will reveal attributes of socio-technical change hidden in other cities by the patina of familiarity. Using Berlin as an exemplar, knowledge will be generated on what infrastructures can tell us about a city’s history, in terms of how it was envisioned, structured, governed and used, and what these legacies mean for urban transitions today.



Project management
Dr Timothy Moss

Stephan Zengerle

Martin Pogac

Martin Pogac

Series created by 
Gisela Graichen and Peter Prestel

All episodes
Invisible Berlin
Episode 1
Greater Berlin and Hitler's Water Plans
Episode 2
The Island of West Berlin
Episode 3
Socialist Symbolism
Episode 4
Berlin's Got Gas
Episode 5
Old and New Worlds of Infrastructure
Episode 6
The General Interview with Dr Timothy Moss
Episode 7


by Werner Praus-Zacharias | 28.08.2019 | 19:18
Ich bekomme nach dem Download zwei verschiedene Tonspuren zum Hören. Wie kann das sein. Ich weiß nicht, was ich ändern könnte.


by Georgios Chatzoudis | 28.08.2019 | 19:30
Sehr geehrter Herr Praus-Zacharias,
ich habe gerade auch das Video zum Test heruntergeladen - mobil über ein Smartphone. Das heruntergeladene Video ist bei mir intakt - nur ein Ton. Insofern bin ich gerade ratlos, wo bzw. was bei Ihnen genau die Ursache des Problems ist. Vielleicht versuchen Sie den Download noch einmal über ein alternatives Gerät.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen
Georgios Chatzoudis


by John Shepherd | 19.11.2019 | 20:34
I have come very late in tears to an interest in all aspects of Berlin history and life but have virtually no German language. This may seem an impertinence but the more your material is translated into English the more it builds interest and understanding.


by Judith Wonke | 20.11.2019 | 09:48
Dear Mr. Shepherd,
thanks for your comment - we are happy to hear that you are interested in our videos! Just like Invisible Berlin (engl. version:, all other Movies by the Gerda Henkel Foundation are available in English and German. ( Feel free to have a look!
Best, Judith Wonke

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