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Germany: Berlin’s city gardens fight for survival

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In Berlin, there are more than 70,000 individual community gardens. But thousands of these are earmarked for demolition to make way for construction — despite the huge demand for more plots and their proven benefits.

By Elliot Douglas
June 5, 2021


After years of negotiations,?the Berlin Senate adopted a new allotment development plan in 2019, under which 82% of the city’s 71,000 plots will be preserved permanently as “green areas” and a further 9.4% will have guaranteed protection in their current form until 2030. This leaves about 6,000 plots that now have no protection.?

And some of these sites are in line to be taken over by the city to face the “growing demand for schools, day care centers, sports fields or other social facilities,” according to the Senate — including Eschenallee. In fact, Dirsiss and Koch say it was first red-lined as a potential school site back in 1959, but according to information requests they made there is not yet a concrete plan for which school building will be put on the site.

Koch, who helped organize a citizens’ initiative to protest the demolition, suggested alternate sites for the school.?

“Our proposed alternative sites for the school were virtually swept under the carpet by the politicians,” Koch says. “We believe that both options are possible — climate-friendly city gardens and new schools — but the political will to look for alternatives is missing among those responsible.”?

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