"The television coverage showed Berlin unified. In fact, Berlin was still divided in many ways – almost to this day."
Volker Hassemer was appointed West Berlin’s first Senator for Urban Development and Environmental Protection in 1981. On returning to office after unified Berlin’s first elections in 1990, he worked towards a cross-Berlin policy on urban planning. The plans for developing the Spreeufer area and listing the East Side Gallery as a protected monument were made during his tenure. He did not see a conflict of interests in preserving the Gallery and simultaneously allowing building on the surrounding land. To Volker Hassemer, it was principally important that there was dialogue between all the interested parties. From 2013 onwards, he organised the Stadtspree forum, for the various interest groups to talk and make joint decisions on development along the river and around the East Side Gallery. Volker Hassemer set up the Stiftung Zukunft Berlin foundation and was its chairperson until late 2021.
"The East Side Gallery was undeniably a historic element and to this day is an element that lends the site its uniqueness, the reason why it is interesting. For office developments, which are very important, and residential developments and even large halls, it‘s always good to have a certain special factor."