Schöneberg itself was a genuine delight. Dieter noted how the area was, to some extent, demarcated by "male prostitutes in that direction, female prostitutes in that direction, and transvestites over there", a form of municipal boundary that is exactly how citizens think of cities and exactly not how administrators and politicans do.
The entire long article, written by one of my favourite thinkers, Dan Hill – a designers (interface designer, perhaps?), but for a long time working in the role of a defacto urbanist, in the UK, Australia, and now Finland, is egregiously worth a read. It deals with the neighbourhood of Schöneberg, and by metonymy all of Berlin, and its many particularities: DIY urbanism, guerrilla occupation of industrial ruins, decaying suburban housing estates, the German energy policy, the Mietskasernen, even David Bowie.
But what I am quoting is what remained, weeks after reading, the most memorable paragraph and the one I found myself quoting most often: the way in which people define their territory. This is precisely what we mean when we say genius loci; the sense of place.
So many people write so much nonsense about Berlin that finding something meaningful and true is always a delight. It seems to be a positional good, the way having an opinion about New York, psychoanalysis, the French banning of hijab, Lars von Trier or Lady Gaga is a must way of separating the social wheat from the social chaff.