In the beginning of August, I was in Berlin for an awesome class.
When I was walking around the city, I saw all these strange above-ground pipes on the road. I was very curious about these. Were they for utilities?
Later in the week my questions were answered during an architectural tour: the pipes are used to pump groundwater away from construction or repair sites. Berlin has a high water table so this is a necessity.
Since my visit in 2011, more construction has sprung up. In fact, almost all of the lovely Unter den Linden, the famous boulevard of linden trees, was torn up.