The Preußenpark in Wilmersdorf is a typical example of Berlin city culture in its diversity and individuality. It was laid out in 1905 as a tribute to the Prussian past and public space and is a mirror of Berlin’s urban development. Since 2007 it has been home to one of the first German senior citizens’ activity centres, a symbol of demographic change. As in all Berlin’s public green spaces, the park is used by all age and social groups: families with children, the elderly, dog owners. But illegal drug trafficking and prostitution also play a role.

Since the mid-1990s, the large sunbathing lawn has become a meeting place for Berliners of East Asian origin, mainly from Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and Laos. This “Thaiwiese” has become a Berlin-wide known attraction and tourist hotspot, because here visitors also get an authentic offer of East Asian food. While the market brings joy to thousands of people every weekend in summer, residents have for some time now been confronted with an ever-increasing destruction of their neighbourhood park. The steady growth of the market damaged the lawn over the years so much that it must now be called an arable rather than a meadow. Also, the city administration can no longer ignore such a large, well-known and weekly event. The problems here are the lack of hygiene and the fact that the market is still unannounced and unofficial.

The redesign of the park is already planned since 2018. The aim of this undertaking is to preserve the market and its special atmosphere, while at the same time ensuring that residents and other users* of the park can enjoy it as a place for recreation and leisure. nexus organizes citizen participation. These include a citizens’ meeting on 28.02.2020, another Town Hall Meeting in spring 2020, outreach activities in the park in summer 2020 and expert discussions with the Thai community and the Integration Office, among others.

Client: Bezirksamt Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf von Berlin
Duration: 02/2020 – 03/2021
Team: Prof. Dr. Christiane Dienel (Projektleitung), Vanessa Kügler, Sabine Schröder, Max Westbrock

Picture: capattistaubach