Source: Lixi Falk
Here in Berlin I live right in the center of the city, with cafés, shopping districs, art galleries, and nightclubs near by, yet only footsteps away from my appartment door lies a vast green plane of land. This area is approximately 360 hectares (or 36,000,000 square metres) wide, can be accessed from three different boroughs and is one of the largest inner-city green spaces in the world. What I am talking about is the historic Tempelhof Airport. Tempelhof played a huge role in World War II when the Nazis used this are for displays of propaganda, as well as during the Cold War when Tempelhof was used by the allies in order to bring food into East Germany, which was then occupied by the Soviet Union. Temelhof also served as a "Luftbrücke" (lit. air bridge) that made it possible for a large number of people to flee from East Berlin by plane. Tempelhof therefore is also a symbol of freedom for many Germans. After the war Tempelhof still served as a minor airport in Berlin mainly for diplomatic reasons, yet plans to close it down have started in 1996. In 2008 these plans were taken into effect and Tempelhof as an airport closed down completely.
A high number of investors immediately tried to buy this land in order to realize large construction projects, however the city government decided that Tempelhof will be given to the people of Berlin. Under this idea a kind of council was started in which the citizens of Berlin are able to submit idea for what can be done on this area online. Everything concerning the park is also posted and updated online at http://www.tempelhoferfreiheit.de/
Source: D. Laubner
This historic area now serves the purpose of a city park with plenty of space for sports such as Biking, Skating, Hiking, Jogging, Tennis, Baseball, Basketball, Soccer, Miniature Golf and even Cross-Country Skiing in Winter. People can rent Sagways and cruise through the park or try Wind-Surfing on boards with wheels. Throughout the year several events take place, for example music festivals, art exhibitions and sport competitions. Designated grill areas also make it possible to enjoy the whole day out in the sun to relax.
The area is so great that even if the number of visitors is high you still feel like you are in you own backyard.
Tempelhof is still evolving and new ideas are being put into place frequently. It is great to see this project grow and I think it is a great idea that people are able to shape their city.