Summer School Berlin: Urban Development and Green Space Planning - The example of Tempelhofer Feld

Date: 
2016-07-26 to 2016-08-07
Event type: 
Field school

In August 2016, the intercultural and interdisciplinary GSSC Summer School enabled a group of 17 students from UoC (Cologne), JNU (Delhi) and UWC (Cape Town) to improve thematical and methodological skills on urban development and environmental infrastructure management. Organized by Peter Dannenberg and Alexander Follmann (both UoC), the Summer School included a seminar in Cologne (preparation of fieldwork) and fieldwork in Berlin. The Summer School focused on the case study of the Tempelhofer Feld, a former airport in the central Berlin.

The transformation and redevelopment of the former airport Tempelhofer Feld is marked by a highly politicized and contested planning process. A Masterplan to use the outer parts for residential and commercial purposes and develop a park in the center of the former airfield was overturned by a public referendum in favor of preserving the entire field as green space. Surprised by the resistance of the public, Berlin’s senate had to withdraw its plans and restart the public participation process to develop a usage and maintenance concept with the citizens. Today, Tempelhofer Feld serves as an exceptional case of an urban green space that is preserving the heritage of the eventful history of the airport, while offering the public a space to experiment with the development and maintenance of a common good. However, the current use for leisure, sports, events and urban gardening is contested as Berlin’s housing market is tight. This results in ongoing discussions on potential alternative uses and questions the eligibility of the current use. Understanding these underlying dynamics is thus crucial to evaluate the site’s current appearance and use.

  • During the Summer School, the students developed three interrelated research topics focusing on

1) the impacts of urban gardening on the biodiversity on the Tempelhofer Feld,

2) the participatory planning process, its impacts and reasons of contestation, and

  • 3) the effects of the transformation of the airport into a highly frequented urban green space on the business landscape in the adjoining neighborhood of Schillerkiez.

Contact and information:

Peter Dannenberg
E-Mail: p.dannenberg [at] uni-koeln.de

Alexander Follmann
E-Mail: a.follmann [at] uni-koeln.de