Berlin May / Sept 2012

Berlin is bit of a hothouse metropole, industrious in the production of practices that cater sociologically to both the new hipster and the old community. A treasure trove of urban gardens and bio-supermarkets. Ecology, market and economy conflate in distinctive Berliner ways to create multiple nodes for citizen participation. The city of pop-ups and pioneering use of space is now the no.1 for social media start-ups. Productive paradigms extend through the city. The Farming the City exhibition is at the Kunstraum Kreuzberg. At Templehof airport, the trailing snakes of raised beds have grown beautifully into plug-in plug-out time-based growing communities.
There is industry and invention in these practices as with the learning modules and prototypes at Prinzessinnengarten such as the Lernbaukasten (the modular learning-tool-kit). Tools to help us visualise the invisible processes of nature within the city.
But Prinzessinnengarten as a space of modular nomadic growing finds itself vulnerable against the backdrop of escalating property values and commercial imperatives. The vibrant Opentalk public event in Sept 2012 launched its Let it grow campaign represented by a tuber (potato). The public appeal was for A Model For Forward-Looking and Neighborhood-Oriented City Policies to suggest that 'community initiatives like these provide an opportunity for civic bodies to take on far-reaching and urgent urban issues'. The social networks that such spaces self-produce to become concrete realities in the neighbourhood are not so easily disposable.


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