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Klaus Esterluß | Ideas

Urban paradise under threat

Germany’s most famous urban garden is attracting hundreds of visitors each week. The farmers from the “Prinzessinnengarten” fear that the city of Berlin might be selling their plot soon. This would be the end of an exceptional ecological urban project.

In our GLOBAL IDEAS audio-slideshow founder Marco Clausen shows us around the Prinzessinnengarten:

Gardening goes guerilla in Berlin from DW_Global Ideas on Vimeo.

Money versus Vegetables
At the moment it is highly unsure, if the success story of the Prinzessinnengarten is going to be still around in 2014. The garden’s rental contract ends at the end of 2013. A spokesperson of the Berlin city council (“Senatsverwaltung für Finanzen”) told GLOBAL IDEAS that negotiations for a new contract are currently “ongoing”.

But the urban farmers are fearing that the city of Berlin will be selling off their plot to the most bidding party rather than setting up a new contract with them. Since new stores, an office space for freelancers and artists and a hotel chain have settled close to the Prinzessinnengarten, the area around Kreuzberg’s Moritzplatz got more and more popular with property prices rising. According to a spokesperson of the city’s own Property Fund, negotiations with investors looking at buying the formerly vacant plot have already been made.

Whilst the council of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, the communal political body, promised to be supportive of the project trying to help conserve it, the final decision lies in the hands of the city of Berlin. At the end of the day it will be mayor Klaus Wowereit and his government who will have to decide about the  Prinzessinnengarten’s future.

Let it grow!
To stop the sell-out of the Prinzessinnengarten, Marco and his co-founders started the campaign “Let it grow”. In an open letter to the city of Berlin they are demanding to prolong the rental contract for another five years. If the city does not agree, Marco and his team will have to leave the plot at the end of next year.

You can sign the open letter to the Berlin senate on the homepage of the Prinzessinnengarten.

Date

October 12, 2012

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