January 15 2013

To Plant Ideas and Let Them Grow: Prinzessinengarten, Berlin

Want to grow your veggies and eat them, too? While, until recently, the idea of combining urbanity with gardening seemed like a strong contradiction, urban gardens have started popping up in central city spaces around the world. One of the pioneering urban gardening projects is Prinzessinengarten in Berlin, Germany.

Since summer 2009, this central Berlin space of 65.000 sq ft. has been turned into a small urban oasis. Already on the first day, 150 volunteers showed up to clean up the run-down piece of land, which some individuals had begun to use for growing their own vegetables and herbs. The project’s future has been uncertain from day one, which is why plants are grown in large bags and bins, ready to be moved somewhere else if necessary. But now, three years later, it seems that Prinzessinengarten has a future after all. Volunteers collected 30,000 signatures for a petition that convinced the Senate not to sell the land to a private investor, allowing the environmental non-profit Prinzesinnesgarten to stay in their urban paradise a little bit longer.

Overview of Prinzessinengaerten

What do you think – is it a good idea to grow your own vegetables in the middle of the city?

First reaction of many would be “Yes, I’d prefer to grow my own vegetables because then I can control the amount of pesticides use, I can protect the environment by not importing them from a faraway places, and, of course, self-grown vegetables taste twice as good don’t they?

On the other hand, growing your own food takes time and a lot of care. Who is ready to devote time, on a daily basis, to growing veggies? Is the city even clean enough to produce uncontaminated products?

Prinzessinengarten goes beyond the mere growing of plants – it created a drastic positive change to the neighborhood’s appearance and developed into a relevant space for educational and social projects, teaching children and adults about gardening and biodiversity.

Prinzessinengaerten fosters local Community

Do you know of other urban gardening projects?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Luise Letzner

Originally from Berlin, Luise Letzner currently pursues a Masters at HafenCity University in Hamburg, Germany, in Urban Planning. She also holds a B.A. in European Studies from Malmö University, Sweden, where she focused on inner-city redevelopment projects, place branding, and the concept of urbanity. She worked as a concept strategist and social media manager for several online agencies and in trend research, where she investigated new forms of communication via mobile and online technology, as well as trends within city marketing. Apart from Sweden, she has lived in France, Switzerland, and the U.S. and is fascinated by different approaches to the creation and use of public spaces within city centres. For The GRID, she investigated current urban and environmental design projects in Berlin and Hamburg.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 at 9:48 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Environment, Environmental Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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One Response to “To Plant Ideas and Let Them Grow: Prinzessinengarten, Berlin”

  1. Alex Lenhoff Says:

    It would be interesting to see cities create maps of ideal places for urban gardens, and which sites should be avoided.

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