Did You Know? Berlin Turned Its Old Airport into a Public Park
One of the first things this writer noticed upon landing in Berlin was the incredible amount of green space found within the city limits. From pockets of trees on street corners to sprawling parks, the Germans sure know how to keep their cities fresh, as visits to Munich, Dusseldorf, and Frankfurt would also confirm.
Berlin benefits from the fact that it was built over marshland, reaping the rewards of an extremely high water table. The joke is that Berliners have a conservation conflict - that is, the less water they use as a city, the more money they have to spend to pump out the excess. When walking or driving through the city, keep your eye out for the purple and blue pipes that run above the streets, and don't feel too bad about taking your time in the shower.
The Tempelhofer Park is the most notable of the few dozen found in Berlin, and certainly the most unique. It is the protected remains of the Berlin Tempelhof Airport that closed its doors in 2008 after nearly ninety years of operation.
The former grounds of Tempelhof Airport are now graced by community gardens, old airport buildings,
runners, bikers, inline skaters and, believe it or not, urban kite surfers. Run, walk, or ride down the old runways, and feel the effects that the tail and head winds once had on arriving and departing aircraft.
The master plan is to continue to construct residential and commercial areas on the outskirts of the park. There's one spot where you can get a panoramic view of the airport grounds, and if you'd like a tour to learn about its history, they offer one of the airport building and one of the park itself.
We love the city's decision to keep the airport infrastructure in tact, as it has created the aviational equivalent of running the bases at a big league ballpark. Set aside time for a walk and experience the novelty of strolling down a runway right in the middle of a big city.
[Photos: SFU Urban/Flickr/Flickr]