Best of Berlin: Urban Gardening on the Runway

Tempelhofer Feld is Berlin’s largest public park, but it’s not just any old park. Before its official opening in 2010, this vast, green area housed Tempelhof Airport.

So how does one go from airport to park? Well, there’s a lot of local politics surrounding its closure, but it would suffice to say that another airport was constructed for the city’s needs. Tempelhof Airport was the world’s first passenger airport, built in a grand style by the Nazis in the 1930s.

What is now the park is the long runway and grassy knolls left behind in the wake of the airport’s closure. While Berliners fought to keep the airport open, they also fought to keep the space from residential and commercial development.

Now the park is an almost anarchic space, a wide and undeveloped expanse where Berliners tend community gardens and picnic with their friends and family.

It’s such a wide territory that its best to have some kind of wheeled transport to get around, and you’ll find many cyclists, skateboarders, and even kite surfers using the park for recreation.

Frankly, it probably could use some kind of development, as it’s such a wide and treeless expanse that it seems plain and utilitarian, but there’s something unique about this space being slowly adapted to the community, rather than for commercial interests.

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