Active citizenship and suffering green areas due to public negligence

Citizens’ initiative for green areas

„Hiker, respect the Nature and Art, and treat its works with care“ sounds the inscription written on the first monument to the protection of the environment. The so-called „Warnaltar“ was built in 1800. It is located in the Wörlitzer Park, a landscaped garden which was created following the Englisch example. Prince Leopold III of Anhalt-Dessau (1740-1817) and his friend the architect Friedrich Wilhelm von Erdmannsdorff (1736-1800) originated the landscape work with the Wörlitzer Park. The two enlighten thinkers saw the land usage and landscaping as an unity, and wanted to have an educational influence.

But that people concern themselves over nature began only at the end of the 19th century in the course of the industrialisation. The citizens built groups which campaigned for the environment and very soon the first integral nature reserves came into existence in Berlin.
In the difficult times after World War One, committed citizens and politicians stood up for the expansion of Berlins green areas. Public parks, sports areas and playgrounds should exist in sufficient number and above all be available for everyone.

In 1951, the „Nationales Aufbauwerk“ (organisation in charge of the construction projects in the GDR) was created, and the so-called „Volkswirtschaftliche Masseninitiative“ (a special kind of volunteering in the GDR) was set up. These measures taken by the State boosted a collaboration of the citizens to take care of the park areas. From the 1980s on, this public initiative gradually became people’s own initiative because of the noticeable environmental problems. Even today, the number of private initiatives keeps on growing in order to respond to the occasional public negligence of the green areas. With Urban Gardening and Urban Farming new ways to make use of the urban green areas came into existence. Many citizens of Berlin have long begun to apply the slogan „Respect the Nature and the Art, and treat its works with care – and do something!“

More information at the exhibition