Nature within reach

Living in the Green

Already in 1852, first efforts were made to build tenement houses in the still rural surroundings of Berlin. The city’s construction company built solid country houses on the Schönhauser Allee, following the example of the English cottages. The purpose of such a free-wheeling house building was to avoid a high population density and to offer the renters the opportunity of self-sufficiency by having their own garden within reach.

At the Wilhelminian time instead, the house-building was orientated on profit. Prescriptions which would have ensured that some green spaces were preserved between the buildings did not exist. That’s how the world’s largest tenement ring without any usable green space in the courtyards came into existence in Berlin.

Alternative drafts were the housing estates built at the turn of the century. They had generously designed green spaces like the housing estate in the Amalienpark in Pankow or the Munizipalviertel in Weißensee for example.

In the 1920’s, Bruno Taut (socially engaged architect) managed to plan modern habitations in a small area and to design large, green courtyards. Until the beginning of the Second World War such housing estates were built following the example of Taut.

After the war the countries had to face an acute housing shortage. From 1950 on, housing estates with large green spaces in the courtyards and green separations to the traffic zones and the other buildings were erected. Promenades were laid out, trees were planted and sports fields as well as playgrounds were built at central places.

Since 1990 courtyard plantings have been private again. The Senate of Berlin made commitment, thus enough green spaces, sports’ areas and places for the recreation were available. The public authorities started with the creation of green spaces in urban renewal and city development areas. Also did they make use of gaps between buildings which were caused during the war for revegetation.

More information at the exhibition