A few days ago, NPR’s “Morning Edition” ran a story called “Tourists Seek Real Berlin on Bridge, Find Controversy.” As reporter Eric Westervelt summed it up, the residents who live near the bridge want a good night’s sleep and a better plan to manage the city’s “growing tourist industry and the local conflicts that success can sometimes provoke.” A romantic 19th century bridge, the Admiralsbruecke, was recently listed on a tourist website as a place where the locals go, prompting young tourists in search of an authentic experience to flock there. The problem is that as the night wears on, the noise and mess of the crowd on the bridge wears down those who live nearby.
What’s refreshing is the local authorities’ approach to this conflict — a genuine attempt at conflict resolution. As Westervelt reports, they “have brought in a team of professional mediators to create a dialogue…. [T]he mediation team spends three nights a week on the bridge mediating between residents and tourists…as well as the police, and local businesses.” Most of the tourists are open to discussing the problem, but a resolution to the conflict is not yet achieved. Nevertheless, a commitment to mediation with a team of professional mediators is an encouraging start.