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Berlin’s Nettelbeckplatz affordable housing estate has been awarded a prestigious Bronze World Habitat Award in recognition of the development’s remarkable transformation, from an ageing residential complex into a vibrant and sustainable community.

Revitalizing an Architectural Landmark

Constructed in the 1970s, Nettelbeckplatz once stood as a symbol of Berlin’s architectural prowess. However, over time, the estate fell into disrepair and failed to meet the evolving needs of its primarily elderly residents. Acknowledging the need for modernization, Housing Cooperative 1892, the estate’s developer and manager, embarked on a comprehensive revitalisation project.

Sustainability, Affordability, Accessibility and Diversity

Central to the renovation was a commitment to sustainability. The project incorporated energy-efficient measures such as new windows, insulation, and solar panels, significantly reducing the estate’s environmental footprint. Additionally, the new construction remained within the estate’s original footprint, minimizing land use and preserving its unique architectural character.

Despite the extensive improvements to 163 apartments, Housing Cooperative 1892 kept rents low, ensuring that the estate continued to provide accessible housing for its long-term residents. The project improved the accessibility of existing entrances, floors and elevators and included the construction of a new assisted-living cluster with 10 bedrooms and shared spaces for older residents. Additionally, 44 brand-new apartments attracted a diverse mix of residents, including families, young professionals, and students, creating a more inclusive and harmonious living environment.

World Habitat Award Recognition

The World Habitat Award, organized by World Habitat in partnership with UN-Habitat, recognizes and celebrates innovative housing projects that make a significant impact on communities around the world. The Nettelbeckplatz project’s Bronze Award highlights it as a model for cities seeking to revitalize their ageing housing stock while promoting environmental responsibility and social equity.


  • Renate Reichert, resident of Nettelbeckplatz: “There has been an amazing improvement. Not only the modernization inside the buildings but especially the outdoor design which has created a benefit for all. We feel blessed to live in an environment like this.”
  • David Ireland, Chief Executive of World Habitat: “The Nettelbeckplatz project is an excellent example of how retrofitting ageing affordable housing is also an opportunity for participation, reinventing uses and diversifying communities.”

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