The Schöneberger Südgelände Nature Park is an excellent example of post-industrial transformation of urban space. About 60 years ago it was part of a huge switchyard. Now you can find here a beautiful forest area with a lot of attractive public spaces, street art, open air activities.
The former railway facilities were preserverd and harmoniously integrated into the modern landscape. There are railroad tracks a water tower and a big locomotive hall where art exhibitions are taking place now.
The open air Shakspire theatre and a cozy cafe attract a lot of visitors. The territory of Nature Park also includes a natural reserve with plenty of rare plants and animals.
Upon entering the area visitors find a small box and a sign asking for a 1 euro „donation“. But what looks like a request for a donation is in fact an entry fee. If you forget to pay, you might be cornered by a park employee who will ask you to present your ticket.
The area was privatised a few years ago among protests by the local community who uses the park as a recreation area. However for the theatre and art exhibition hall privatisation brought more visitors – and more money. „We started with 20 visitors per night, now we have 200, 250 for every show“, says Dirk, who works in the theatre as cleaning personnel. Visitors are of all ages and backgrounds, families, senior citizens and students. The space is inclusive to visitors with special needs: there are several pathways accessible for wheelchair users.
The space is really adorable and shows us how a former industrial space has been successfully transformed in a pretty short period of time. Unfortunately, it was transformed only at the cost of privatisation.