Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The Ambiguities of ‘Sustainable’ Berlin

Version 1 : Received: 22 December 2020 / Approved: 23 December 2020 / Online: 23 December 2020 (13:00:25 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Kalandides, A.; Grésillon, B. The Ambiguities of “Sustainable” Berlin. Sustainability 2021, 13, 1666. Kalandides, A.; Grésillon, B. The Ambiguities of “Sustainable” Berlin. Sustainability 2021, 13, 1666.


City Marketing has a strong tradition in Berlin, with two organisations, Berlin Partner and Visit Berlin, responsible for designing and implementing relevant strategies. Sustainability has been on and off the city marketing agenda, almost exclusively in its environmental dimension. In this article we examine the current representations of Berlin as a “sustainable city” in the official City Marketing strategies. We look at how sustainability is used and instrumentalized to create a specific city profile, and also to attract particular target groups in tourism. We propose an analysis of sustainable planning in Berlin since reunification, to show how it has moved into different directions over time and how this has (or has not) been followed by City Marketing. In this endeavour we move between the existing, and as we argue deeper and more sophisticated, environmental planning of the city on the one hand, and the reductions and simplifications of City Marketing representations on the other. Finally, we argue that there are inherent contradictions in marketing a sustainable city, where both in terms of tourism and economic development, the concept of growth seems to be reaching environmental limits.


Berlin; city marketing; sustainability; green city; smart city; urban development; destination marketing


Business, Economics and Management, Accounting and Taxation

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