The idea was to offer a better way of life far away from Berlin's crowded streets. In 1962, German architect Walter Gropius opened a big residential complex with buildings up to five floors high. When the Berlin Wall went up, the Gropiusstadt buildings were raised. More than 35,000 people - a third more than initially planned - now live in the towers, some of which are up to 90 meters high.
"We're not in the center. That's great because there's more room for us to make a difference." 20-year-old Arthur is a theater producer. Like many others, he's proud to live in the Gropiusstadt. An exhibition in the Gropius shopping mall shows portraits of ten inhabitants: old and young, foreign and German - they're all united by the fact that they like living in 'their' Gropiusstadt.
In the 1970s, the Gropiusstadt had a poor reputation. Germans became aware of the perceived problems when a book about a teenage drug-addict called 'Christiane F.' was released. Youth organizations tried hard to fight that image. But the stereotype of an anonymous ghetto persisted.
With its 30 floors, the so-called 'ideal house' is one of the tallest residential buildings in Berlin. It used to be known as the 'house of death' - the corridors to the flats are open, it became a well-known suicide spot. But according to residents, that's over now. Neighbors come together to celebrate 50 years of the Gropiusstadt in a bar on the 29th floor.
It takes 35 minutes to get from Lipschitzallee - one of three subway stations in Gropiusstadt - to Berlin city center. Good public transport links are among the reasons why people choose a life outside the city. But many elderly people from Gropiusstadt don't dare take the subway any more. There are plans to have more security personnel on board the trains.
The indoor and outdoor swimming pool complex is an integral part of the Gropiusstadt infrastructure. Families can relax there with their children, and friends can get together there. To mark the 50th anniversary, the pool underwent massive renovation work.
Since 1973, the community center has been the cultural center of the Gropiusstadt. On average, some 250,000 visitors come here every year to attend concerts, theater plays, events, or to use the library facilities. It's also a popular meeting point for the people in Gropiusstadt, who come from many different cultures: From all over Europe, but also from Africa and Asia.
When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, many of the first generation of Gropiusstadt residents moved away. Those who stayed were often elderly. Together with young families with migrant backgrounds, they form the new heart of the Gropiusstadt. An open-air concert on Bat-Yam square, one of many events this year, was well attended.
Whilst prefab buildings elsewhere are being torn down, Gropiusstadt is being extended: There are plans to build a whole new urban neighborhood, offering a healthy social mix of people, offices, shops, hotels and cafés. The plans are on display at an exhibition, and residents have their say on how they would like the area to develop.
In the 1950s, German architect Walter Gropius planned a major urban development in east Berlin. But the area became notorious for its problems. Now the Gropiusstadt is celebrating its 50th birthday.