The history of open space development in Berlin
General open space plan of 1929
From Berlin's beginnings to the 19th centuryBerlin grew out of a large number of settlements which slowly developed in the glacial valley along the River Spree and on the edges of the Teltow and Barnim plateaus. Initially, forests were planted in the less fertile areas, while meadows or fields were created on better or wetter soil. The location of the settlements was generally defined by the natural environment and the shipping lanes on the Spree. Originally, the town developed in the valley, radiating equally in all directions from the villages Berlin and Cölln, which formed the core of the settlement on the Spree islands. Development in Spandau and Köpenick, the nearest urban settlements in the Spree Valley, was mostly independent. The Berlin urban area was still limited to parts of the valley plain right into the last third of the 19th century. Weißensee, Pankow, Lichtenberg and Schöneberg were all still independent villages.
1910 – The Jansen-Plan, the first comprehensive planThe first comprehensive plan for Greater Berlin, in which the development of open space played a crucial role, was developed as part of the Greater Berlin competition of 1910. The award-winning Jansen-Plan not only made building suggestions, but also included a sophisticated open space concept. Berlin was to be structured by a smaller inner ring and a large outer ring of forests, parks, gardens and meadows. Radial green corridors were planned between the two rings, extending into the heavily built-up inner city. This plan influenced urban development considerably and was used as a basis for the aggressive safeguarding of open spaces. A great many town manors and permanent forests were bought both within and without Berlin, and a large number of public parks and allotments were created.
1929 – The general open space planThe Jansen-Plan was also the model for the general open space plan of 1929 submitted by the government building officer Martin Wagner, who was also the first Stadtbaurat (municipal building adviser) to formulate minimum requirements for the provision of open space. It is thanks to these far-sighted plans that the city has its ring of parks, allotments and cemeteries and the extensive forests and agricultural areas on its periphery.
The post-war years and the Scharoun-PlanThe Scharoun-Plan was put forward in the post-war years. It involved a comprehensive urban renewal concept which would have emphasised and brought back to life the natural characteristics of the Berlin landscape, but at the same time would have completely destroyed the structures which had evolved over the centuries. However, the reconstruction which took place in the 1950s focussed mainly on the existing structure of the city. Additional green spaces grew up only on the mounds built of rubble from the destroyed buildings of Berlin, examples being Insulaner and Teufelsberg, or the Kippe in Friedrichshain and Oderbruchkippe in the Volkspark Prenzlauer Berg.
The 1960s and 70sDevelopment in the 1960s and 70s in both East and West Berlin was concentrated on the needs of motorisation and a marked reduction of open space. Green space planning in this period was transferred to a higher planning authority – the 1953 Regional Development Plan in East Berlin and the 1965 Land Use Plan in West Berlin – and was limited to improving the interconnection of existing green areas.
This was agreed in 1988 for West Berlin and was divided into four sub-programmes:
A rapidly expanding metropolis with up to 300,000 new inhabitants in the city and 1.5 million inhabitants in the region were expected, with an additional 550 hectares of new building land required for commercial businesses, offices and retail.
In the process, it was possible to ensure that essential environmental aspects were taken into account, including the safeguarding of the open space system, climatically important ecological mitigation areas and local recreation areas.
1994The Landscape Programme including Nature Conservation was passed by the Senate of Berlin on 15th March 1994 and approved by the House of Representatives (Abgeordnetenhaus) on 23rd June in the same year.
The intention is to implement the development goals and provisions of the Landscape Programme including Nature Conservation at all planning levels, including town planning, urban and district development planning and regional planning, in coordination with the neighbouring state's planning schemes, and including individual projects, competitions and the development of general principles. The responsibility lies with all of Berlin's public departments and authorities and ranges from the initiation and planning of a project to its implementation. The corresponding legal instruments for the conservation of nature are the landscape plans, the fulfilment of the Impact Regulation, landscape planning concepts, protected area regulations, programmes for the support of individual species, nature conservation approvals, etc.
In 1999 the Impact Regulation was made more flexible for town planning, resulting in an alteration to the Federal Building Code. This in turn led to the introduction of the General Urban Mitigation Plan, the first major amendment to the Landscape Programme including Nature Conservation.
The Programme is updated on a regular basis, as and when required by alterations to the Land Use Plan.