Nature + Green  


The History of Berlin's Urban Green Space

Development of Urban Green Space in West Berlin, 1948 to 1990

1948 to 1966

In West Berlin, a new Main Department of Green Space and Horticulture/ Landscape Gardening was established in 1948, headed by Fritz Witte (1900-1972) until 1965. A major focus of his work was an emergency green program, including the restoration of the Großer Tiergarten (in German) and the Humboldthain (in German). Along the inner-city Spree and the canals within the city, former loading streets and their harbors were changed into green spaces. By 1970, 150 km of the total of 290 km of waterways had been greened.
On August 22, 1949, the Urban Planning Law of the State of Berlin was adopted. As part of the land-use plan, this law also provided for an overall green-space plan, which was established in 1959 and confirmed in 1960 by the House of Representatives. The development of the city center was to be structured not with separate green spaces, but rather with an interconnected network of major green strips, which were, wherever possible, to incorporate existing green and sports facilities, take into account existing scenic contexts, and restore those that had been lost. They were planned to be three to four kilometers apart from one another, and were to connect the city center with the surrounding areas. Secondary green strips were to connect the major green strips with pedestrian pathways. Until 1970, the overall green-space plan constituted the basis for open-space development.

Von 1966 bis 1980

In 1966, Norbert Schindler (born 1918) succeeded to the office of head of the Division of Green Space and Horticulture/Landscape Gardening, subordinate to the Senate Department of Construction and Housing..
Starting in 1970, the land-use plan of July 30, 1965 became the basis for open-space development. The draft of the overall green-space plan was taken over, although the coherent network of inner-city green strips were abandoned. The density of residential areas in the city center was abandoned in favor of new certification of major residential estates in the outskirts (Falkenhagener Feld, Märkisches Viertel, Gropiusstadt). In the city center, redevelopment areas were defined covering 56,000 apartments. A large-scale transportation system was to connect the major residential areas with the industrial and commercial areas. This led to a major upsurge of construction of housing, commercial centers, and transportation and other infrastructure, at the expense of open space, especially of farmland and allotment gardens.
This destruction of open space soon sparked a barrage of criticism, given the insular situation of West Berlin. Via cooperation in the drafting of expert reports together with the Berlin University of Technology, Norbert Schindler tried to strengthen the position of spatial planning.
Numerous relevant laws were enacted during the '70s, including the Monument Protection Law (in German) of April 24 1995, the Children's Playground Law (in German) of January 15, 1979, the State Forest Law of January 30, 1979, and the Berlin Nature-Conservation Law (in German) of February 11, 1979. The conservation of historic gardens, the landscape planning, the Environmental Atlas, the intervention regulation, the expanded habitat and species protection, the playground development plan and the courtyard-greening program of West Berlin received nationwide acknowledgment.
Overall Green-Space Plan of the West Berlin Boroughs
Overall Green-Space
Plan of the West Berlin Boroughs

Green in courtyards