Development of Urban Green Space in United Berlin since 1990

1990 to 1999

With German reunification on October 3, 1990 the two city sectors of Berlin were brought together again, and as of January 1, 1991, a common administration for the entire city was created. Until 1999, Erhard Mahler headed the Division of Landscape Development and Open-Space Planning. Only shortly after reunification, the decision was made to set up a landscape programme including nature conservation for the entire city area. After being decided upon by the Berlin state government and approved by the House of Representatives, it came into effect on June 13, 1994. After over fifty years, there was now once again a spatial-policy guideline planning procedure for the entire city. The landscape programme includes the sub-plans “The Ecosystem and Environmental Protection,” “The Protection of Biotopes and Species”, “The Landscape Scenery” and “Recreation and the Use of Open Space.” (all German only)

The landscape programme shows an “inner park ring” around the densely developed city center, which essentially consists of existing public parks, allotment gardens and cemeteries. These facilities are to be supplemented by new parks, such as the Mauerpark (see map: no. 1), the Stadtpark Eldenaer Straße (Eldenaer Straße City Park), (no. 2), the Schöneberger Südgelände (Schöneberger Südgelände Nature Park), (no. 5), the Gleisdreieck (no. 6), (both former railway yards), and the park at Nordbahnhof Station (no. 7). At the edge of the developed urban area, the landscape programme provides for a second park ring. Here too, existing parks are to be supplemented by new facilities, like the Landschaftspark Rudow-Altglienicke (Rudow-Altglienicke Landscape Park), (no. 13), the Volkspark Johannisthal (Johannisthal Public Park), (no. 14) and the new near-urban recreational area, the 3,200 ha Naturpark Barnim (Barnim Nature Park) on the Barnim plateau (no. 17) in the north and northeast of Berlin. The city center is connected with the surrounding areas, and the parks and green spaces are interconnected, by green connections along the rivers, canals and rail lines.

After 1990, the terrain of the Berliner Gartenschau in Marzahn (Berlin Garden Show in Marzahn) was rebuilt into a recreation park. Starting in 1997, the largest Chinese Garden in Europe was built here on 2.7 ha, and opened to the public in October 2000.

Since then, several other special gardens were built and integrated in the park, which today is better known by its new name: “Gärten der Welt” im Erholungspark Marzahn (Gardens of the World in Marzahn Recreational Park). The gardens are typical examples of garden art from all over the world, most of which had a lasting influence on todays garden design. The up to now last garden, the Christian Garden, was opened on 29 April 2011.

The further development of the Berlin city center is to be determined according to the traditions of the “European city.” The concept known as the Inner-City Master Plan is an endeavor to further develop the identities of the historic center in eastern Berlin and the western downtown area structurally, creatively and spatially. The city center is to be densified, with forty percent of the built-up area assigned to residential space and sixty percent for office utilization. The spatial concept makes a clear distinction between public and private space. Public spaces (city squares, city gardens, pocket parks, city parks, tree-lined street areas and front yards) are to have high use value. The basic unit of private open space is the “Berlin courtyard,” in its wide variety of forms. The types of open space, such as open residential-area green space, extensive transportation-proximate green space, or spontaneously greened areas, which have arisen in the postwar era, are to be assigned to the categories of public and private open space.

Important open-space projects were created in the context of the reconstruction of the government district, including the Platz der Republik, the Spreebogenpark (Spree-Bend Park), the Nord- und Südallee (northern and southern tree-lined avenues), the Ebertplatz and the Spreeuferpark (Spree-Shore Park) on the Moabiter Werder. The cut through the Großer Tiergarten that was made in 1961 for the Entlastungsstraße (“traffic-relief street”), can now be restored again after forty years. Adjoining that area south of the Kemperplatz are the park on the former Potsdam Station area, the Prachtgleis (literally, Track of Splendor), and the new Leipziger Platz.

On February 1, 1999 the Landscape Development and Open-Space Planning Division and the State Planning and Urban Development Division were combined to form the Division of Urban and Open-Space Planning under the Senate Department for Urban Development. Their tasks have been assumed by two commissions, the Landscape-Planning, Nature Conservation and Forestry Commission and the Open-Space Planning and Urban Green Space Commission.

2000 to 2010

With the compilation of the Urban Development Concept 2020 in the year 2000 new priorities in urban green space development were set. The rising importance of climate change, the drop of building activity compared to the 1990´s and the reduction of funds for the development of public urban green spaces are distinguishing for that period. Future strategies focus more on the conservation, maintenance and interconnection of existing parks and green spaces than on the development of new ones.

During the past years on the basis of the landscape program and the General Urban Mitigation plan (in German) new parks and green spaces were developed as compensation for interference in nature due to construction. Parks like Nordbahnhof and Landschaftspark Rudow- Altglienecke (Rudow- Altglienecke Landscape Park) were developed within this program. The park at Nordbahnhof was inaccessible after the division of Berlin into eastern and a western parts but was recreated as a compensation measure and includes landmarked remains of the Berlin Wall and former railway tracks. The Landschaftspark Rudow- Altglienecke (about 64 hectare) was developed as a compensation for the construction of the motorway to Schönefeld and connects the districts Rudow and Treptow which were separated by the Berlin Wall. Since the motorway descends underground, the park is separated from traffic.

The park at Gleisdreieck has been under development since 2008 as a compensation for Potsdamer Platz. Although parts of the area were used as logistic zones for the construction of Potsdamer Platz, some remains of former railway lines and ruderal vegetation were maintained and integrated in the design of the park. The park at Gleisdreieck will connect green spaces to the north and south and with the participation of citizens, will be fully realized in 2013. The Tilla- Derieux- Park near Potsdamer Platz forms a connection between Gleisdreieck and Tiergarten and includes a lawn sculpture, which is 450 meters long and up to 4 meters wide. The park was opened in 2003.

On the basis of the General Urban Mitigation plan further projects such as green spaces on rivers and canals were completed. An example of this is the Pankegrünzug (green corridor at Panke) as a compensation for the Federal Information Service Building at the neighbouring plot. The river Panke is an important part of the north- south- green on an axis and plays a significant role in the interconnection of Berlin’s urban green spaces and development of bank side green spaces. Parts of the northern Pankegrünzug were completed in 2005 and afford the access to the water and is an important potential for urban green spaces. The completion was carried out after a competition for landscape design in 2007 and will prospectively be finished in 2015. Also the renaturation of the rivulet Wuhle is a significant step towards the accessibility of the bank side areas and contributes to the biodiversity of Berlin’s flora and fauna.

The Mauerpark is going to be extended about 10 hectare after its completion. The concept for this enhancement is being developed along with citizens and will presumably be realized in 2012.

The interconnection of Berlin’s green spaces and nearby recreational areas is furthermore one of the most important key aspects at the Open Space and Urban Green Space Commission. The project “20 grüne Hauptwege” describes strategies for the interconnection of green routes through Berlin’s parks and living environments. One of the 20 green main routes with a total of 600 km length is the Mauerweg, 160 km of which follows the former path of the Berlin Wall.

Due to shrinking construction activity and resulting areas of fallow land, intermediate green use areas became more popular during the past few years. Citizens develop sustainable concepts for the design and utilization of fallow land in their neighbourhoods and take care of urban green projects voluntary. One of those projects for example is an intercultural garden in Köpenick which was opened in 2003.

The abandonment of railway tracks at Heidestraße and the closure of the Tempelhof and Tegel airports generate unique open spaces in the city centre available to the population. The Tempelhofer Feld (in German) is the largest open space in the city. The air traffic was discontinued in 2008 and was opened in May 2010. The Tempelhof Park is being developed in cooperation with citizens and other stakeholders. The competition of landscape design for the development of the Tempelhof Park has been decided and an International Horticulture Exhibition (in German) will be carried out in 2017. Therefore first building measures taking place in 2013.

In the early 90’s the building of the Regierungsviertel (Government District) began and was completed in 2007. Within this project, important green spaces at the river Spree such as Spreebogenpark and the park at Moabiter Werder were created.

During the last few decades, the bank side areas of the Spree, Landwehrkanal and Teltowkanal gained importance as recreation areas near the city centre. In Friedrichshain- Kreuzberg several parks, green spaces and so called “green windows” at the river bank sides have been developed. The bank side of the Spree is accessible for pedestrians and bicycles nearly continuously from Spandau to Köpenick and there are plenty of beach bars and worthwhile locations along the riverside.

Currently the Strategy Berlin Cityscape is being developed and includes the topics Urban Nature, City Beautification and Urban Agriculture. The strategy describes the development of urban green spaces relative to changes and trends in society and how they can contribute to the quality of urban life and the preservation of diverse urban landscapes.

Literature (in German):