The urban gardens of Berlin exist under the recurring threat of closure. Despite the recent and pervasive “Urban Gardening” hype and the establishment of over 100 intercultural and community gardens, darlings not only of the media, but referenced by Berlin’s policy makers as prime examples of participatory, social and ecological urban development from the bottom up, these gardens remain precarious interim uses, not only in Berlin. They survive thanks to the volunteer work and commitment of the people who tend to them.
As part of the Gemeingut Grün Fact-Finding Committee at the Center for Art and Urbanism (ZK/U), Kerstin Meyer and Marco Clausen formulated a draft for a tenure treaty for Berlin gardens. Oriented on the permanent forest contract concluded in 1915, which still protects Berlin’s forests from speculation and deforestation, the tenure treaty for Berlin gardens aims to end the current precarious temporary uses. It further intends to save the existing 113 urban and intercultural gardens and create 200 new ones. Against the backdrop of the worsening climate crisis, the massive loss of biodiversity, but also the lack of shared spaces for negotiation in an increasingly segregated urban society, the goal is to finally understand the common good-oriented and self-organized green as part of the social and ecological infrastructure and to take it into account for planning processes. More than 150 initiatives had already called for this in 2014 in the Urban Gardening Manifesto.