Caring for a common space

With the ‘Alster-Bille-Elbe Grünzug’, the city of Hamburg is planning a 4 km long green passage in eastern Hamburg. In 2019 the environmental authority commissioned an interdisciplinary group of local actors, the association HALLO: e.V. and the landscape architects of atelier le balto to design areas of the green passage and to set up local structures for community use.

PARKS is the resulting project, which has the aim to develop a vision for parks of the future and to implement different spatial designs and uses among others on the area of a former recycling yard – together with the surrounding neighborhoods.

Care is a central approach in transforming the former industrial area into a public green space for a multitude of usages. On the one hand, care is a way to design. When working with existing vegetation and what is structurally available, taking care of and maintaining what is there, is fundamental. On the other hand, by involving a diverse group of local actors and inviting new users, the social dimension of care becomes a focus: caring for each other and for the commonly used space.

The PARKS process can be exemplary for an open, neighborly development and use of common open spaces, which contributes to a liveable city and promotes biodiversity.

PARKS aims to distribute responsibilities of care taking of public space between municipal authorities and individuals on site benefitting all parties.

In designing and maintaining the public spaces of PARKS we try to keep informality alive and negotiate institutionalisation where needed.

In the process of strengthening local networks we attempt to keep the structures open to outsiders and not bound to individuals.


PARKS is a project developed and moderated by an interdisciplinary group.

For the talk will be present:

Johanna Padge is a designer and craftswoman. She works at the intersection of art and urban planning socially engaged projects. 

Nuriye Tohermes realizes in her artistic work participatory, collective, and site-specific projects as critical spatial practice.

Dorothee Halbrock studied cultural science and co-founded in 2015 the non-profit association HALLO: Verein zur Förderung raumöffnender Kultur e.V. whose main aim is to (re)activate spaces which are closed and/or publically not (yet) accessible.

Julia Marie Englert – studied Urban Design and works as an organizer and educator in grass root planing projects with a focus on noncapitalist and common spaces.

recommended readings or other media (movies, music, spectacle, etc.)

Silvia Federici – Re-enchanting the World: Feminism and the Politics of the Commons (2018)

Eva von Redecker – Revolution für das Leben (2020)

William H. Whyte – Social Life of Small Urban Spaces (1980)