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WELCOME TO THE 8th WORLD CONGRESS OF METROPOLIS

11th - 15th May 2005, Hotel InterContinental, Berlin

Greeting from the Governing Mayor of Berlin,
Klaus Wowereit

Cities are seismographs for societal trends. While the problems of the future appear earlier in metropolises than elsewhere, large cities also often serve as laboratories for new solutions, as well as being places in which the willingness and the courage to make changes develop momentum.

I am delighted that the 8th Metropolis World Congress will be taking place in Berlin in May 2005. Berlin is the ideal venue for a discussion with representatives of the world's metropolises on the topic of "Tradition and Transformation - The Future of the City."

History is alive in Berlin. At the same time, the city is on the move. The face of the city has undergone great changes in the years since German reunification. As Germany's capital, it has once again become the seat of parliament and the government. Entire districts have been created. New companies have invested in Berlin and are shaping its transformation from a traditional industrial city to a metropolis characterized more and more by service providers.

Berlin is an exciting cultural metropolis whose openness has great appeal especially for young people from all over the world. Europe's unification is moving Berlin to the heart of the continent, and its advantageous geographic location opens up a wide range of possibilities - especially in a city in which thousands of people speak the languages of our Central and Eastern European neighbours.

The Metropolis 2005 congress offers all of us the opportunity to explore solutions to some of the fundamental problems of today's large cities. These range from economic challenges to approaches to stabilizing disadvantaged neighbourhoods, the active protection of the environment, and ways of dealing with the increase in the volume of traffic. Metropolis 2005 will be an excellent platform for an exchange of experiences regarding the sustainable development of metropolitan areas. At the same time, the congress will offer a wide variety of opportunities to establish business contacts.

As the saying goes, "Berlin is always worth a trip!" With this in mind, I look forward to welcoming you to Berlin in 2005!

Klaus Wowereit



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