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Alexander Gogl

Cultivating Urbanism A strategy for the cultivation of urbanism in Berlin

BSc. Alexander Gogl

Cultivating Urbanism

A spatial strategy for making the cultivation of land a local feature of urbanisation in Berlin Masterarbeit eingereicht an der Leopold-Franzens-Universit채t Innsbruck Fakult채t f체r Architektur

zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades Diplom-Ingenieur

Beurteiler: BSc (UCL) AADipl (Hons), ARB, RIBA o. Univ. Professor

Stefano De Martino

Institut f체r Gestaltung, Studio 1 Innsbruck, September 2016


Urbanisation and cultivation of land are two interrelated forms of land use. As cities grow and the number of people living within it, their demand for ressources increases too. This fosters the development of global hinterlands as the distances between where the food is produced and where it is consumed become larger. In this thesis, a new approach is developed that focuses on keeping the production places close to the consumers and is defined as cultivating urbanism, and a strategy is proposed for the city of Berlin. The results prove the strategy effective and suggest a future use on other human agglomerations.


1. INTRODUCTION 1. Where it all begins 2. Previous findings 3. Research method 5. Organisation of the thesis

3 5 7 6

2. FOOD AND URBANISATION 1. Urbanisation and cultivation are interrelated


3. CULTIVATING URBANISM 1. Strategy, tactics and their territories 2. Human agglomeration 3. Spatial tactics


21 24 41 121

5. APPENDIX A. Bibliography



1.  Thesis and scope Globalisation increased the distance between human agglomeration and their supplying hinterlands whereby urban food supply systems became more fragile and less responsive to social and environmental change. The outsourcing of hinterlands fostered a linearisation of the metabolism between human agglomerations and their hinterlands, which resulted in soil depletion of the latter and accumulation of nutrients in landfills close to agglomerations. Also agricultural processes were linearised as intense forms of “factory farming” were developed to gain advantage by upscaling and through spatial specialisation. Agricultural landscapes became understood as factories (see figures 1–4, a study about greenhouse farming in El Ejido, Spain by Keller Easterling, 2005, and The third day by Henrik Spohler, 2013). By using energy to create an environment suitable for production these monocultural spaces occupied vast areas of land and ignored a geographical determination of agriculture like soil composition, watersheds, and climate. Further by-products like manure or fertiliser runoff accumulated in concentrations harmful for humans and many endemic species (see fig. 4, Feedlots by Mishka Henner, 2013 and Water Economies by Lateral Office, 2009). Both environments, human agglomerations and hinterlands, are impacted by the behaviour of consumers,1 but consumers can’t grasp the impacts of their behaviour, because global hinterlands are invisible parts in globally operat1.





Fig. 1:  Greenhouse growing tomatoes in Middenmeer, The Netherlands. Image by Henrik Spohler (2013) in The third day. Fig. 2:  Greenhouse farming extends 20 km in height and 30 km in width in Almeria, Spain. Image by Edward Burtynsky (2010). Fig. 3:  Deda Chicken Processing Edward Burtynsky (2005).






Fig. 4:  Cattle feedlot and its large pit of manure in Texas, USA. Image by Mishka Henner (2013).

Cheap food creates cheap landscape, because “you get the food and the countryside you pay for.” Steel, 2013, p. 51.


ing urban metabolisms and too elusive to relate them to concrete consumers. Feeding urban areas has been important in urban planning until the mechanisation of the city, the green revolution in agriculture, and the rise of the supermarket deluded that urban food supply was de-facto solved (Barles, 2014 and Steel, 2013), but contemporary events like the strike of lorry drivers in the UK in 2000 showed how fragile the contemporary urban food supply system can be (Steel, 2013, p. 99ff). Additionally, the majority of urbanites became more and more remote from the actual practice of food production. This remoteness is opposed by an increasing number of urbanites participating in growing food within or adjacent to urban areas, where many derive their practice from an agro-romantic image that does not reflect the industrial reality of contemporary agriculture. However, this countermovement could be used as a driver to question the current form of urban food supply and to introduce a different relationship between human agglomerations and their hinterlands, where consumers’ direct contact with producers give consumers more power over food supply systems.

The main argument of the thesis is that collapsing spaces of human agglomeration and spaces of food production creates more resilient urban food supply systems, because of the following four points: (1) Transport and storage infrastructure is the most fragile part in the relatioship between human agglomerations and their hinterlands. Bringing spaces of human agglomeration and spaces of food production together minimises the dependence on this infrastructure. (2) Shorter transport distance results in fresher food and less food waste from transport and intermediate storage. (3) It also allows for more flexible and responsive relationships between growing and selling food: If food is sold where it is grown (e.g. in the store), the harvest could be done every time a shelf becomes empty (increasing the freshness) or by the customer himself. (4) A small gap yields mutually beneficial opportunities that can create socio-ecological benefits like a more intuitive understanding of the impacts of consumerist behaviour on the environment, while a direct feedback between consumers and producers could also foster the development of culture-adapted breeds and food products.

2.  Previous findings The thesis investigates how urbanisation and cultivation of land are interrelated and proposes a new relationship in the second part of the master’s thesis with a special focus on Berlin. Consequently the thesis concentrates on the spatial impacts of urban metabolism on hinterlands. The most relevant previous findings in this area are (1) Caroline Steel’s book Hungry City, which discusses how food shaped the spatial and social configuration of cities and how cities shaped their hinterlands historically and (2) Neil Brenner’s theory of Planetary Urbanisation (Brenner, 2014; Brenner, 2015). He replaces the traditional dualism between urban and non-urban with the idea of the urban being a planetary phenomenon “without an outside (Brenner, 2014, p. 15).” Brenner describes urbanisation as a process organising spaces of human agglomeration and spaces of supporting operational landscapes geographically. He and his colleagues at the Urban Theory Lab at Harvard GSD showed how 2


even remote territories like the desert Gobi and the Arctic are bound into a global network of operational landscapes to supply human agglomerations (Brenner, 2014; Katsikis, 2014a).2 (3) The sixth issue of New Geographies3 undertook to ground “urban metabolism as an inherently 2.

Martín Arboleda’s investigation about the impacts of planetary urbanism on the small agricultural village of Huasco in Chile which manages shipping of copper from its back country to international sea ports across the globe gives valuable insights on how tightly global hinterlands became integrated in globally operating urban metabolisms and on how invisible (despite their vast dimensions) the impact of urban metabolism on these hinterlands and the accompanying infrastructures needed to connect the hinterlands to the human agglomerations still are (Arboleda, 2015a).


Edited by Daniel Ibañez and Nikos Katsikis, two Doctor of Design candidates at the Urban Theory Lab GSD.


geographic condition (Ibanez, 2014a, p. 3)”. A grounded metabolism is based on ideas from geographic urban metabolism, processual urban metabolism, and planetary urbanism. It focuses on the geographical imprint of metabolic processes. Planetary Urbanism and Grounding Metabolism are materialistic approaches to urbanisation, thus neglecting that urbanisation is driven by social and political processes.4 (4) The German landscape architect Leberecht Migge’s proposal of a Fruchtlandschaft Berlin from the early 20th century is a concrete example of how a deep understanding of an urban metabolism and its imprints on geography and society can lead to a genuine design proposal that manipulates the material and social features of an urban metabolism to improve environmental and social conditions on a regional scale (see fig. 6). It became the guiding figure for the strategy proposed in the second part of the master’s thesis. (5) The strategy is also based on the idea of a Territorial Architecture which intentionally shapes an environment instead of adapting to an existing one. Concepts of a na4. Scott and Storper (2014) argue that Brenner’s approach to urbanism tends to assimilate all forms of social and political action into an urban totality. Scott and Storper agree with Brenner’s argument that cities are systems of dense local interactions with are embedded in long-distance movements of people, goods, and information, but cities are also con-


Fig. 5:  Intensity of use and connectivity in the Arctic. Image from Ali Fard and Ghazal Jafari, Arctic resource urbanization, 2013. Farad and Jafari are doctor candidates at Harvard GSD. Fig. 6:  Fruchtlandschaft Berlin. Image from Leberecht Migge, Eine Weltstadt kolonisiert, 1932.

crete, localised, and specific places which emerged from different approaches of shaping economic process, socialisation dynamics, and cultures (see also Harvey, 1996, Gandy, 2004, and Gandy, 2014a).

Previous findings



ture outside of the impacts of human society and a nature society dualism are avoided to engage in a more constructive approach to the role of humans in shaping the environment than the prevailing dogma of a good nature and an evil urbanity of environmentalism (Gissen, 2015; Corner, 2006; Harvard-GSD, 2014; Harvey, 1996; Ellis, 2014; Lister, 2014; Küster, 2012). Territorial Architecture uses geographical means of representation instead of architectural ones (see fig. 7): Maps are preferred to plans to describe territories,5 flows of matter, flows of forces, and concepts of environment. Architectural objects are embedded into cartographic narratives, where buildings bring their own territorial concerns into focus and impact the environment (Gissen, 2010; Gissen, 2011; Gissen, 2011a). Lola Sheppard from Lateral Office (in Harvard-GSD, 2014) argued that in order to create a new nomadic metabolism for the Inuits in Nunavut, Canada architecture needed to operate at the scale of the territory instead of site to change the metabolism of a society. To operate at a territorial scale, architecture had to be understood as infrastructure that needed to be “serial and 5.

A territory is land with a specified characteristic like a woodland territory. Territories can be created by human intervention and do overlap.



Fig. 7:  Plan of inputs and outputs, showing the Salton Sea’s potential connection to other sites, flows and ecologies. Image from Lateral Office (2009-10), Water economies. Fig. 8:  Flow diagram of research approach: Theories from Urban Metabolism (UM) and Planetary Urbanism (PU) are combined with geospatial data in a GIS application to conduct geospatial analysis (SA) of food spaces. The results of the analysis are fed into a spatial model (SM) for Berlin (B). Fig. 9:  Detail of projective approach of the spatial model: Insights from the spatial analysis (SA) inform the evaluation of found intra-agricultural spaces (S). The found spaces are abstracted into an infrastructural (I) and a metabolic (M) part. Both parts are improved to become more productive and to fit into the urban metabolism of Berlin (I+ and M+). The new space needs certain conditions (C) to be implemented in Berlin. These conditions inform the mapping of the territory (T). The territory represents the spatial distribution of the spatial model and is the basis for an urban strategy combining all spatial models. Fig. 10:  Image from Guallart (2014), Barcolona 5.0.

networked” in order to be able to respond to external and internal changes (see also Lateral Office’s project Water Economies and Nicholas de Monchaux’s Local Code). The spatial tactics of the second part are based on the approach of preferring the generic over the specific form in order to formulate an adaptable strategy.

3.  Research method The research combines theories from Urban Metabolism and Planetary Urbanisation in a geospatial analysis of urban food supply systems to gain knowledge about the relationship between urbanisation and cultivation of land. The different theories are described in the following: (1) Urban metabolism views urban areas as networks of interlocked physical and social infrastructures that transform resources and energy to support urban processes (Hodson, 2012). In Urban Metabolism the focus is on flows of energy, material, and people, thus it is used as an analytical tool to understand how food is produced, brought to, consumed by, and discharged as waste from urban areas. Geddies’ Valley section was a first attempt in urban planning to show the dependency of urban areas on the territorial configuration of society within its hinterland. Contemporary approaches are Barcelona 5.0 from Vincente Guallart which transforms Barcelona’s urban metabolism in order to become a “productive city” (see fig. 3). (2) Planetary Urbanisation is used as an analytical tool to understand the spatial impacts of urbanisation on land, what goes beyond the regional scale. Planetary Urbanism conceptualises urbanisation as a process where various forms of human concentration (agglomeration landscapes) and their supporting spaces (operational landscapes) are organised geographically. Planetary Urbanism focuses on the materialist manifestations of those spaces rather than the forces or processes they are occupied with. Method 1 and 2 are combined to understand what processes are involved in urbanisation and what spaces these processes create. (3) Geospatial analysis is used as a an analytical tool, but also as a projective tool (see figures 1 and 2): (a) Spatial relationships between metabolic processes, spaces of human agglomeration, and operational landscapes are illustrated to get a better understanding of the current urban food supply system. (b) Specific geographic and urban features are mapped in Berlin to find potential links and territories where the proposed thesis could manifest as a spatial strategy and associated spatial tactics.




Research method


4.  Outline Chapter 2. Food and urbanisation (p. 9) points out that the access to food is not only a condition for urbanisation but urbanisation is a major driver for the cultivation of land. Both, urbanisation and cultivation are interrelated: To cultivate land, it has to become urbanised. To urbanise it, there has to be an existing stock of food available to the people participating in urbanisation. Even though urbanisation is the initial process in cultivating land, it also displaces cultivated land. Chapter 3. Cultivating urbanism (p. 21) proposes an approach to urbanisation, where urbanisation does not displace local hinterland and creates a linear metabolic relationship between the two. The cultivation of local land becomes a part of urbanisation and a more cyclic metabolism is created, where urban waste is viewed as a valuable resource for local food production. A spatial strategy based on the ideas of Cultivating Urbanism is formulated for Berlin and spatial tactics are derived from investigated intra-urban agricultural spaces and their metabolisms (see section 3.3 Spatial tactics, p. 41). These tactics have specific territories where they operate in. The performance of the investigated spaces is improved and changed in order to fit into the Cultivating Urbanism strategy for Berlin. Finally all tactics and their territories are merged into one landscape system, where the different territories and their metabolisms are interconnected by a public waste mining infrastructure.





1.  Urbanisation and cultivation are interrelated Urbanisation and cultivation of land are evolving, interrelated processes. Together they form land use systems which materialise the organisation and beliefs of a society on land.

1.1.  Landscapes result from land use systems The German geographer Hansjörg Küster (2012) described land use systems (Landnutzungssysteme) as a concept to explain how natural processes and human land use interlocked to change landscapes1 over time. Küster (2012) wrote that it was common that different land use systems coexisted in societies until a system more effective in terms of economy and fitting the beliefs of a society replaced less effective systems over time. Features of abandoned land use systems often became relicts that were left aside or build upon by emerging systems. Consequently, the physical appearance of a landscape consists of features and relicts of former and 1.

The term landscape originated from Dutch lantscap, which described the state or condition of land. Landscape was understood as a state of land in an ongoing process and not as a fixed object.

Fig. 1:  In the beginning 19th century vast “Germanic forests” were planted along the border to France to stop the advancement of Napoleon’s army by “disorienting” them. Caspar David Friedrich’s painting Chasseur im Walde from 1813/14 shows a French soldier lost in one of the many reforested areas.

current land use systems (materialisation of natural and human processes). These transitions often took centuries to evolve and were bound to human societies. Land use systems could differ greatly between societies, whereby landscapes cultivated by a society with a less intensive land use system could appear as barbaric, wild or outdated: In the first century AD the Roman historian Tacitus (transl. 2007) described Germania as a land with vast, dense, and eerie forests. Caesar (transl. 2010) observed that Germanic tribes mostly dwelled in small, palisade walled settlements in forests, where they lived from hunting, foraging, and to a minor degree from farming. Romans were repelled by Germanic land use, because they could not understand how people could live without a state, and in a landscape not structured by the infrastructure of a state. Both descriptions were written in the perspective of a society that saw itself as superior to a “less advanced” and “less cultivated” society and its landscape as wild. Küster (2012) argued that such views of advancement and wilderness were based on the lack of understanding a foreign land use system and the inability of recognising a landscape as the result of this system. Such views of landscapes became often the basis for distinguishing between nature, wilderness, and human culture. A similar misunderstanding was at the heart of John Muir’s argument of protecting the Yosemite Valley in Sierra Nevada, USA from all human interventions in 1889: He recognised that the wild character of the valley was shaped by Native Americans who lived in the 9

area, but described their way of shaping their environment as living alongside nature, which contrasted the culture Muir lived in: “Indians walk softly and hurt the landscape hardly more than the birds and squirrels (Muir in Steel-2013, p. 37).” The superficial and romantic manner how Muir described an unfamiliar relationship of a society to its environment downplays the role of humans shaping and maintaining the landscape he admired so much, what has three problematic points: (1) Muir tried to preserve a landscape he experienced as pristine, while in fact the physical form and the species inhabiting the valley were just a temporary state in a slow process of natural and human forces shaping the Yosemite Valley. (2) Existing human societies can be driven off land if human interventions are banned or societal progress is hindered if means of cultivation are restricting to a given set. (3) Viewing some landscapes as more valuable than others assumes that landscapes can be separated from the planetary ecosystem they are embedded in. Rather a more beneficial relationship between human societies and their environments should be taken, where the ecosystem is understood in its totality. The thesis picks up the theory of land use systems in order to avoid the discussed pitfalls of a nature society dualism. The idea of evolving and overlapping land use systems is used to (1) describe the relationship between human agglomerations and their use of land, (2) to reveal the causes that were at the basis of this relationship, and (3) to show how this relationship changed over time.

1.2.  Urban theory outside the urban non-urban dualism Neil Brenner (2014b) pointed out that most urban theories are based on a dualism between the non-urban (e.g. hinterland, countryside or nature) and the urban (numerous variations of towns and cities). This dualism is hinged on the concept of the urban, which is loosely defined by qualitative and quantitative characteristics like a way of life conceived as “urban,” social diversity, the size of the built-up area, and the number of inhabitants. In their critique about the popular claim of an evolving Urban Age Neil Brenner and Christian Schmid (Brenner, 2014g) argued that the Urban Age is “a flawed basis on which to conceptualize world urbanization pat10

Food and urbanisation

terns (p. 4),” because it is based on empirically untenable statistics and theoretically incoherent conceptions of something called “urban:” The population threshold between a non-urban village and an urban town varies from country to country while the census statistics are fixed on administrative boundaries, neglecting the actual extend of agglomerations. Further, the city-centric approach of urban theory viewed the non-urban as a space outside urban processes and ignored that urban growth involved spatial concentration and extension (hinterlands of resource extraction and production grew). However, the extending territory of urbanisation had evolved the non-urban space between urban areas “through a complex, constantly thickening web of economic, social and ecological connections to the heartlands of urban concentration,” whereby urbanisation had become a planetary phenomenon that “affects the whole territory of the world and not only isolated parts of it (p. 20f ).”2 In Urban theory without an outside Brenner (2014b) presented a theory he coined Planetary Urbanisation that was based on the above mentioned critique of a city-centric approach in urban theory and his idea of urbanisation as a process of spatial concentration and unlimited extension. Brenner claimed that the theory of Planetary Urbanisation “supersede[s] the urban/non-urban divide, [...] to develop a new vision of urban theory without an outside (p. 15).” He viewed villages, towns, and cities not as fixed typologies, but as some of many “morphological expressions” of a process that became planetary (p. 16).3 Furthermore Planetary Urbanisation highlights the “interdependency of the increasingly continuous web of dense agglomerations with their ‘operational landscapes’ of production, extraction and circulation that sustain them,” as Katsikis (2014, p.8) a colleague of Brenner had put it. Brenner and Katsikis described operational landscapes as spaces which were transformed to support human agglomerations with energy, water, material, and food (see Arboleda, 2015a) or were transformed as a side effect caused by urban growth (see Fard, 2013). Plan2.

This argument is based on the claim that every place on earth is to some degree urban, which was expressed by Henry Lefebvre (1970/2014) and Edward Soja (2007/2014).


To view urban morphologies like a city as a state in a nonlinear process of urbanisation is shared by the urban geographers David Harvey (1996) and Matthew Gandy (2013a).

etary Urbanisation tried to reveal these transformations of hidden hinterlands which were far beyond the limits of human agglomerations and outside the perception of their inhabitants, who were causing these transformation collectively through their behaviour like consumption, travel, and policies. Brenner moved from an urban non-urban dualism to a concept of intermingling landscapes of human agglomerations and their operational landscapes. The thesis picks up the idea postulated by Brenner and his colleagues of urbanisation as an unlimited process which creates manifold forms of urbanity (be it hamlets, villages, towns, or metropoleis) and associated operational landscapes. In addition to Brenner’s idea, the term urban is understood as a general condition where human agglomerations and their hinterlands (greenlands, forests, mines or waters) are bound together in land use systems, whereupon infrastructure (irrigation canals, waterways, granaries or distribution centres) can be introduced to tighten this relationship. Similar to Brenner, the urban is not used synonymous with the legal consequences and the political power of cities. Rather the approach of the thesis views the power difference between human agglomerations as one of many outcomes of the varying roles of agglomerations in land use systems.


1.3.  Urban forms result from their role in land use systems Küster (2012) argued that the morphological expression and location of human agglomerations were based on their role in land use system. This role was impacted by geographical features. Hamlets started to colonise land at the border between two ecotopes suitable for practicing the main branches of agriculture: the arable land and the grassland (see fig. 2). Arable land had to be plane to prevent soil erosion of worked land during rain. It needed a thick, rather dry, stone free layer of soil (deeper than 70 cm) to be worked. Grassland consisted of less fertile, fallow and wetter soils. Grasslands with a good drainage became pastures for livestock or meadows to produce hay when the soil was too wet to drive herds on it. Terracing, clearing forests, and building drainage and irrigation canals were common in preparing land for cultivation. Soil minerals were consumed quickly by cutting hay and

3 Fig. 2:  Geographical features impacted the role of agglomerations in land use systems: (1) Hamlets colonised land at the border between two ecotopes. Roads were located at the border to connect hamlets and to provide access to dry arable land and wet grassland. Irrigation canals ran along the road and watergates were also situated there. (3) Towns were found after enough colonies emerged in the region to process the colonies’ produce and to integrate the region in long-distance trade routes like waterways. Fig. 3:  Map of Berlin by Johann Gregor Memhardt from 1652 shows the Mühlendamm between Cöllen and Berlin. The Mühlendamm had six mills to mill grain, cut wood, and walk wool. Shipping traffic moved through the canal to the north of Berlin and to the south of Cöllen.

Urbanisation and cultivation are interrelated


grazing, thus it was important to fertilise it by flood irrigation. Therefore, greenland was often located below colonies to fertilise greenland with sewage. Orchards were also located below colonies, but close to the buildings in order to shelter the trees from cold winds and storms. Colonies utilised technologies adequate to the size of their human agglomeration and social organisation. Such simple technologies had low initial costs and needed low maintenance like hand mills to grind grain. While colonies working the land were found between the described ecotopes, other settlements — which would become towns once they received their town charter — emerged on flood protected land adjacent to rivers (e.g. Zurich, Warsaw, and Berlin; see fig. 2). Those settlements constructed weirs to regulate the watertable of rivers in order to improve fishing, to build watermills, and to create navigable waterways and landing stages for long-distance trade (e.g. the Mühlendamm constructed between 1220 and 1230 in Berlin; see fig. 3). Most of those settlements were found after enough colonies emerged in the region, because the settlements relied on products from the colonies for their trade and manufacturing business. Watermills and windmills became the manufacturing heart of many settlements and provided unique services to the colonies, because the mills had a much higher performance, could produce finer grades of flour, and relied on less workforce to operate than hand mills.4 Water- and windmills were expensive to construct, to maintain, and were prone to catch fire, because fine dust of flour was explosive. Consequently such mills could only be maintained as a central infrastructure in regions where there were enough human agglomerations extracting natural resources like food, wood, and minerals. A tight relationship between the colonies and the manufacturing settlements was emerging (see fig. 4). Human agglomerations had different roles in land use systems. These roles emerged from geographical features and reflected how human societies were organised.


Windmills were even more expensive to construct than watermills and could only be operated when there was enough not too strong wind. Windmills were erected on hills or small hills were banked up to improve its performance.


Food and urbanisation

1.4.  Land use systems reflect the organisation of societies Küster (2012) described this process as a shift in land use systems, where small human agglomerations moved from cultivating land individually to communal infrastructures and larger social units. Towns and cities were such larger social units and were the basis to found a state. This societal upscaling was important, because only super-regional forms of societal organisation like states could construct and maintain large infrastructure like navigable waterways, stream weirs, and irrigation canals. The proto-states which emerged in Mesopotamia in 6000 BC were such social organisations: Human agglomerations practiced agriculture along the rivers Euphrates and Tigris. Irrigation canals were built individually to water the arid land. The more canals were built the more conflicts emerged, because farming was impacted by the behaviour of people living further upstream. Proto-states emerged out of this conflict when the individual parties merged to regulate the allocation of water on a superregional level. Proto-states transformed the rivers into an infrastructure and introduced civic administration to supervise a fair allocation of the water. Both, the societal and the physical infrastructure, allowed more advanced land-use systems where, as Steel (2013) pointed out, the city of Uruk developed a civic administration, which was “devoted almost entirely to managing the agricultural hinterland (p. 13f ).” Civic engineering transformed the arid land around Uruk into a fertile landscape of market gardens, where harvests became more reliable. The city and its hinterland entered a mutually beneficial relationship. The condition of the hinterland (its landscape) became as dependent on the city as the city was dependent on its hinterland. By managing large-scale infrastructure and providing hinterlands with products manufactured from their resources cities began to govern their local hinterland. Governance is based on a society forming a common political will. This will was formed in cities. In ancient city states like Athens citizens from local hinterlands met with urbanites in the city to take part in politics. Politics were practiced in open councils. Open councils worked best when the number of citizens was small. The hinterland of Greek city states was limited by mountains and the sea, thus rather small. Furthermore, Mediterranean

lands were impacted by unpredictable localised cold air flows which came from the North. These air flows damaged many Mediterranean plants, because they were susceptible to frost what resulted in food shortage in city states. The air flows were localised, thus not all city states suffered from it at once. Therefore trade was an important way to bypass local food shortages. The political system of open councils and small and frost-prone hinterlands were characteristic for many Greek city states. The limited size of hinterlands and the beliefs about citizenship and democracy within the society of Greek city states caused to keep the number of citizens small. According to Benevolo (2000) populations ranged from 2,000 to seldom 50,000, but cities with 10,000 inhabitants were already viewed as being large. Whenever the number of citizens exceeded a threshold, an expedition corps was formed and sent to a distant land in order to found a new colony (see fig. 5). Küster (2012) described this social mechanism as an important approach to increase the food security of the city state, because it extended its limited local hinterland, which was prone to crop failure due to sudden frost. Consequently, colonies were found at larger distance to each other in order to improve the reliability of the food supply network of the city state, whereby harbours became a valuable infrastructure (see fig. 6).5 Similar to Uruk, such a network of distant colonies and maritime trade bringing products from places with surplus to places of shortage could only be maintained by a society organised as a state. The example of Greek city states illustrates how the organisation of a society can adapt to the conditions of a limited hinterland and natural processes like unpredictable frost by introducing social mechanisms to form a land use system of colonialisation that makes a city state’s food supply system more reliable. It is important to highlight that the colonising land use system of Greek city states was not increasing the amount of its hinterlands in order to totally urbanise the city’s local hinterland, but to increase the overall food security of the city state and its colonies.


Most colonies were found in the Black Sea, but also on Sicily, Southern Italy, and Southern France.



6 Fig. 4:  The Valley section by the scottish town planner Patrick Geddes from 1909 illustrated this relationship for Edinburgh. According to Welter (2014) Geddes showed how a city transformed a region into specific human geographies, where different forms of human agglomeration and occupation were related to geographic features like miners living in huts in the mountains and fishers living in small tows at the sea. Fig. 5:  Colonialisation as an urbanisation strategy to improve food security and to increase the power of ancient Greek city states with a limited local hinterland: (1) Most resources are drawn from the local hinterland. (2) An expedition corps is formed when the urban population exceeds a threshold. (3) This corps is sent to colonise distant lands and maritime trade connects the city state with the colony to exchange produce between the two. Fig. 6:  The Poleis of Greek city states were built in a safe distance to the sea to protect their people from raids by pirates. However, martime trade was so important for Greek city states, that city states walled their harbour districts. In Athens the Polis was connected with its harbour Piraeus by a walled road (the Lange Mauer) in order to create a compound defense system where troops could be sent from Athens to Piraeus and people could withdrew from Piraeus without becoming flanked by the invaders. Image from Benevolo (2000), p. 130

Urbanisation and cultivation are interrelated


1.5.  Land, agglomerations and infrastructure are intertwined Whenever geographical features like land and rivers were used as infrastructure they needed to be adapted to a certain degree. This adaptation was labour intensive and relied on experience, knowledge, and negotiation between different parties. Consequently the degree and means of adapting geographical features depended on the size and social structure of involved human agglomerations. Human agglomerations intertwined with land by introducing infrastructure and adapting land to become infrastructure itself. Adaptation could be as complex as the vast network of irrigation canals and civic administration of Uruk to manage the water of Euphratis and Tigris, but also very simple if humans utilised natural processes and geographical features as a temporary transport infrastructure: Kßster (2012) explained that it was common to store hay where it was cut and dried, because heavy carts would get stuck in wet and soft meadows. As the soil of meadows froze and meadows became covered with snow in winter, the hay was carried on sleighs to livestock. A similar process was used to send loggs (tied together in rafts) downstream to sawmills of towns. Comparing the features of a historic map of medieval Brugge, Belgium reveals how tightly related cultivated land, human agglomerations, and infrastructure were (see fig. 7): Patches of arable land, greenland, and forests surrounded Brugge and its towns, while windmills at the outskirts of Brugge provided power for milling corn,



Food and urbanisation

cutting wood, felting wool, and draining land. The land was parcelled and worked by peasants from smallholdings, hamlets, villages and smaller towns next to the parcels. Produce was mostly shipped on waterways, because waterways were superior to roads in terms of speed, cost of movement, and cargo volume. Thus, most agglomerations extended along navigable rivers. This is significant for how the process of urbanisation turns a river into an infrastructure to link a large city and its towns to smaller patches of agglomerations which provide workforce for working land. The size of the workable land is limited by geographic features like wetlands. However, in medieval times the amount of available workforce had often a greater impact on the size of hinterlands than geography, because medieval agriculture was workforce intensive. The amount of needed workforce impacted the size and amount of human agglomerations within the hinterland. The amount of needed workforce depended on the demand of the politically stronger (e.g. through force or economy) urban centres. The demand was linked to population growth and consumption. If the supplying areas failed or refused to cover the demand of concentrated agglomerations, then the large, undersupplied population could turn against its leaders.6 Therefore, the more concentrated a human agglomeration became, the more it depended on its hinterlands and the more power its hinterlands could have on human agglomerations — provided that 6.

Steel (2013) wrote that Parisians revolted when watermills stopped processing grain as the Seine froze during a cold winter in Paris.

the hinterlands were aware of their power. This hidden detail in the power relationship between urban areas and their hinterland corresponds with Steel’s (2013) claim that kings and emperors cared less about their towns and more about keeping their hinterlands fertile, productive, and calm. Human agglomerations transformed geographical features into infrastructure. This infrastructure was the basis for larger transformations of land like irrigated acres or impoldered arable land. The infrastructure was administrated and maintained by larger human agglomerations. People working land that depended on this infrastructure became dependent on the maintenance and administration of larger agglomerations. Land, infrastructure, and human agglomerations became intertwined.

more diverse, thus provided ground for a higher diversity through faster cycles of secondary succession. The secondary succession began to obscure the human origin of the landscape, whereby it became to appear “natural.” Such human processes contributed to the diversity of many landscapes in Europe. Non-permanent settlements became unintentional parts in a long-term land shaping process that increases biodiversity by regenerating forests. Land use systems can break up homogeneous environments and provide ground for diverse landscapes. However, the human origin of such landscapes is often obscured by the secondary succession of plants and animals covering and adapting the artifacts of the land use system that enabled their succession.

1.6.  Land use systems break up homogeneous environments Küster (2012) pointed out that maritime trade of Greek city states helped spreading species like cypress, pine, olive, and fig trees in the Mediterranean, thus the land use system of city states increased the biodiversity of the region. A similar impact had non-permanent settlements on inlands, which used methods of cultivation which would be viewed as unsustainable today. Küster describes the process as following: A group of settlers cleared a part of a forest and drained it to claim fertile land. Then the settlers started to cultivate the land and to dwell on it. The cultivation introduced species foreign to the cleared forest and altered its environment. The settlement was abandoned as the soil became less fertile. The abandonment triggerd a secondary succession7 of species covering the altered environment. Human cultivation made the homogenous soil and environment of the forest 7.

A secondary succession happened on grounds where the vegetation cover was removed by human or natural processes like forest fires. Usually natural processes have longer intervals than human interventions.

Fig. 7:  Map of medieval Brugge, Belgium shows how urbanisation interlocks cultivated land, human agglomerations, and infrastructure. Arable land are patches with lined pattern, greenlands have a dotted pattern, and forests have a pattern with tree symbols. Image from Benevolo (2000), p. 416f.

Urbanisation and cultivation are interrelated


1.7.  Urban growth displaces local and creates distant hinterland


9 Fig. 8:  Saxonian Kolonistenhäuser were built between 1752 and 1754 at the Rosenthaler Tor in Berlin. Kolonistenhäuser evolved from single storey houses with large kitchen gardens to Mietskasernen (tenements) when the population increased in Berlin. As the number of inhabitants increased and the size of kitchen gardens decreased, the intra-urban land use system of kitchen gardens lost its relevance for food supply. Image from Rudolf Skoda in Oswalt (2014a), p. 93. Fig. 9:  Kitchen gardens were common within and outside of the city wall of Berlin in 1773 (like here at the Rosenthaler Tor), but were displaced by the steady growth of the city and its population. Houses are highlighted black. Map was composed with Neuer geometrischer Plan der gesamten KöniglichPressischen und Churfürstlich-Brandenburgischen Haupt- und Residentzstadt Berlin from 1773.


Food and urbanisation

Towns focused on manufacturing, trade, and administration, but, as Steel (2013) and Mougeot (2005) pointed out, special forms of agriculture like gardening, orchards, and raising of small livestocks were also practiced within or adjacent to large human agglomerations.8 Urban agriculture was a land use system that had to use land more intensively than agriculture practiced on open land. Furthermore urban agriculture was often practiced as a form of self-supply and not as a means of supplying whole agglomerations. However, urban agriculture was an important source of food for cities throughout history. The growth of human agglomerations displaced urban agriculture and advancements in transport infrastructure (e.g. railway and steamships) made rural produce more available to large human agglomerations, thus lessened the need for intra-urban food production. However, intra-urban agriculture was a reoccurring phenomenon to large human agglomerations (see chapter 3, section 3.2 Urban gardens as a form of self-supply, p. 54 and section 3.3 Reform colonialism, p. 57). Intra-urban agriculture was common in Berlin: Oswalt (2014a) wrote that Saxonian craftsman laid out large plots of kitchen gardens in the backyard of their Kolonistenhäuser (houses of colonists) to grow food to supply themselves within Berlin. Kitchen gardens were widespread throughout Berlin in 1773 (see fig. 8). However, a constant increase of Berlin’s population in the 19th century caused a redensification of the plots. Kitchen gardens were displaced by houses and the remaining gardens were too few to cover the demand of the people living adjacent to them. A different form of displacement took place in the metropolitan region of Paris, where urbanisation displaced peri-urban agricultural land in the 50 km2 large Saclay Plateau (see fig. 10), one of the most fertile areas


George Dodd described an area of Kensington, London where people were raising pigs as “inhabited by a population of 1000 or 1200 persons, all engaged in the rearing of pigs; the pigs usually outnumbered the people three to one, and had their sites mixed up with the dwelling-houses; some of the pigs lived in the houses and even under the beds (George Dodd, 1856 in Steel, 2013, p. 23).”

in France.9 Bouraoui (2005) identified two main reasons for peri-urban growth in the Saclay Plateau, which changed during history: Economic considerations like low land prices and easy access to the labour market were the main reason (55%) for people migrating to the Saclay Plateau in the 1950s. From 1995 onwards, the main reason (70%) for migration became to pursue an “urban lifestyle” (shopping centres, sports facilities, recreational centres) in a “rural setting” (farming, woods, waters). As a consequence of this the social structure of the Saclay Plateau began shifting from middle-class workers to “primarily upper management and well-off families accustomed to appreciating the countryside.” Bouraoui reported that the attributes associated with the rural setting were “clean, healthy, pure, calm, free (unoccupied) and peaceful (p. 216f ).” In the mindset of the more recent migrants the Saclay Plateau became a hybrid zone between the image of a “peaceful and quiet countryside” and a vibrant metropolis, where residents would be surrounded by golden fields of grain, green forests, and glimmering lakes and inhale fresh air, but also close to a metropolis to profit from its services and facilities without getting involved with any of the deficits of either space (see fig. 11). If the main driver of peri-urban urbanisation are attributes associated with a “rural” setting, then these attributes — if they have ever really existed — are displaced gradually

Fig. 10:  Peri-urban agricultural land is displaced by people who are attracted by the agricultural features of the Saclay Plateau between Paris and Versailles. This migration decreases the amount of locally produced food and the same features the migrants are attracted by. Image composed with data from Google Earth. Fig. 11:  The Saclay Plateau imagined as a hybrid zone between a peaceful and quiet countryside and a vibrant metropolis.

9. Bouraoui (2005) reported that 26 km2 were used for grain-farming and harvested between 9,620 t and 19,500 t of canola, peas, corn, and wheat.



Urbanisation and cultivation are interrelated


ent impacts of the extension and population growth on the cultivation of land (see fig. 12): (1) If uncultivated land is built-up or built-up spaces are redensified, then urbanisation does not impact the size of cultivated land: ANew cultivation = 0


Fig. 12:  A simple urbanisation model illustrates how the size of cultivated land relates to the expansion of human agglomerations: (1) If an agglomeration expands into cultivated land then additional land of the same size as occupied needs to be cultivated. (2 and 3) If a population grows, then cultivated land has to expand by the amount needed to cover the additional demand. The size of the additional area further depends on the expected yield per m2 and available fertile land. Fig. 13:  Amount and type of hinerland needed to cover the demand of a Berliner. Image composed with data from Baulain (2007), Beyer (2003), EFSA (2011), Parker (2002), Rakocy (2006), Resh (2004), ASBB (2015), Wikipedia (2015), and Ziegler (2005).

by those migrants who are attracted by them. The discussed examples, the displacement of intraurban kitchen gardens in Berlin and the displacement of peri-urban agricultural land in the Saclay Plateau, are characteristic for the one-directional relationship between the growth of human agglomerations and their supplying hinterlands: human agglomerations are extended into hinterlands, but hinterlands are not extended into agglomerations. A human agglomeration can grow in two different ways: (1) It can grow horizontally if it is extending into not built-up land and (2) an agglomeration can grow vertically if the number of its population increases in size. The first way can displace cultivated land and both ways stimulate the cultivation of uncultivated land further away from the human agglomeration or a shift to more productive cultivation techniques on cultivated land. A simple urbanisation model illustrates the differ18

Food and urbanisation


(2) If the human agglomeration extends into cultivated land (e.g. Saclay Plateau), then the agglomeration needs to cultivate at least as much available fertile land as it has lost during its extension (assumed that land is equally fertile): ANew cultivation = AUrbanisation


(3) If the population grows in size, then the increased demand has to be covered by either (a) expanding the cultivation of land at a size based on the agricultural area needed per person or (b) in increasing the output per area by switching to more intensive production techniques: ANew cultivation = PNew × M Demand per person ×Yield Yield New =


M Food per person × PExisting + PUrbanisation ACultivated




If the population increases and the agglomeration expands into cultivated land (e.g. kitchen gardens in Berlin), then clause 2 and 3 are combined. The equation illustrates that population growth is likely to have a greater impact on the size of cultivated land:

ANew cultivation = AUrbanisation + PNew ×Yield


The role of agriculture depends on its adjacency to human agglomerations. Intra-urban agriculture was practiced as a form of self-supply, while peri-urban and


extra-urban agriculture were means of collective food supply. Peri-urban agriculture often cultivates more valuable crops which spoil quickly and have higher yields per area like market gardens that do intercropping. The relationship between the growth of human agglomerations and their local hinterlands is a one-way situation where the cultivated land is urbanised but the urban land is not cultivated.

1.8.  The current state of land The above discussion highlighted that urbanisation and cultivation of land were evolving, interrelated processes that created various urban morphologies like hamlets, towns, and metropoleis. These morphologies emerged from their role within overlapping land use systems which were embedded in given geographical features like forests, rivers, and built-up land of human agglomerations. Diverse landscapes resulted from these land use systems, however their human origin was often obscured. Land use systems reflected the organisation and beliefs of a society. Societies often adapted their land use systems and societal organisation to natural processes and utilised or changed natural features to improve the cultivation of the society’s hinterland. The various landscapes that emerged from this improvement and the cultivation in general depended on the infrastructure that improved it. This infrastructure was maintained by human agglomerations, whereby human agglomerations, infrastructure, and landscapes became intertwined. The size of the needed hinterland was directly impacted by the growth of agglomerations in size of built-up

area and number of inhabitants. This relationship was described as one-directional, because cultivated land was urbanised, but the urban was not cultivated. Brenner pointed out that hinterlands became distant and hidden from the perception of people living in large human agglomerations. If the landscapes of hinterlands were the result of human land use systems and land use systems reflected the organisation and beliefs of societies, then what does this tell us about the beliefs and the organisation of a society that caused the emergence of vast monocultural landscapes, distant and hidden from the perception of those who caused it?

Urbanisation and cultivation are interrelated



1.  Strategy, tactics and their territories Current forms of urbanisation increase the cultivation of land globally and decrease the cultivation locally. A cultivating urbanism tries to overcome this by making cultivation a local feature of urbanisation. Cultivating urbanism focuses on the development of a food supply network, where the spatial manifestations of its productive parts depend on the kind and amount of available space next to the people and the consumption of those people. Food production spaces are located in reach of food demanding spaces to foster the interaction between producers and consumers and to decrease the dependency on transport infrastructure. This entanglement of human agglomerations and agricultural landscapes is termed as Cultivating urbanism: a process where urbanisation is not opposed to the cultivation of land, but where cultivation is part of urbanisation. Cultivating Urbanism is a strategic process, where different spatial tactics are applied to existing territories. The aim of Cultivating Urbanism is to make urban food supply systems more resilient and responsive to social and environmental change. A spatial strategy is introduced to achieve this aim. This strategy proposes to collapse food supplying and food demanding spaces in order to (1) make the linear urban metabolism more cyclic (long term sustainability) and (2) to establish a spatial relationship between the two spaces. This spatial relationship links the growth of spaces of supply proporFig. 1:  Cultivating urbanism intermingles different intensities of urbanisation and cultivation of land in one space.

tionally to the growth of spaces of demand. Cultivation increases as the population becomes denser (rise in agglomeration). Cultivation urbanism is a strategic process that increases urbanisation and cultivation of land over time. It consists of two actions: (1) Colonise land in a way that incorporates spaces needed to increase the intensity of urbanisation and cultivation of land when the population increases later. (2) Transform colonised land to increase the intensities of urbanisation and cultivation of land. While the first serves to reclaim unbuilt land, the second can be adapted to transform existing build-up land that was constructed outside the cultivating urbanism framework (urbanisation did not incorporate spaces for cultivation) to cultivate existing human agglomerations. As Berlin has already build-up land and its urban growth is mostly directed inwards (due to the large amount of fallow land within the city), the thesis applies the second action on potential spaces within Berlin. To adapt the second action to Berlin, it is necessary to identify where consumption takes place (see section 2 Human agglomeration, p. 24) and where, how much, and which kind of potential spaces exist. To evaluate this, maps are created which show (1) the location of food demanding spaces (residents and restaurants) and (2) potential spaces for food production (territories of spatial tactics). A territory is a land with a specified characteristic like a woodland territory. Those territories have spatial 21

characteristics which can be utilised by spatial tactics to create an environment contributing to the aim of Cultivating urbanism. Spatial tactics are context based operations which support the long term aim of Cultivating Urbanism. The spatial tactics (1) transform under-utilised urban spaces like cellars, rooftops, and fallow land into food producing spaces. (2) New metabolisms are introduced that improve the existing urban metabolism of Berlin. (3) Tactics capitalise on the urban waste stream of Berlin, by transforming waste into urban resources useful for food production. (4) Micro-climates are created to increase range and amount of products. Four tactics were developed. The last one is an overarching public infrastructure that integrates the metabolisms tactics into the urban metabolism of Berlin: (1) Territory of urban garden colonies: Existing allotment gardens that exceed a certain size when they and nearby fallow land are grouped as spatial units are develop into urban garden colonies over time. (2) Territory of mushroom farms: Under-utilised cellars that are within reach of coffee waste mines and potential customers are transformed into urban mushroom farms. (3) Territory of rooftop farms: Under-utilised terraced roofs, which exceed a certain size, are within a certain range of building height, and are close to food waste mines to benefit from them are transformed into rooftop acres and rooftop greenhouses. (4) Territory of urban waste mining: Three urban garden colonies that exceed a certain size to incorporate waste processing facilities are selected at strategic locations in Berlin. The colonies become the cardinal points in a public service infrastructure that links the metabolism of the territories with the urban metabolism of Berlin. A new urban metabolism emerges.


Cultivating urbanism



2.  Human agglomeration Cultivating urbanism collapses spaces of food consumption and food production. In an existing city there are already places of food consumption like restaurants and private households. Hence, the first step of cultivating urbanism is to localise where consumption takes place. In order to do this, a different approach of representing human agglomeration is taken. The project takes place in the federal states of Berlin and Brandenburg. The project borders do not correspond with administrative borders of the city (Berlin and Potsdam) or the federal states (Berlin and Brandenburg), nor are its borders fixed, as cultivating urbanism’s conception is seen as an ongoing process of colonialisation. The project border does expand when migration or population growth triggers an outward colonialisation. However, the initial state of the project area can be roughly outlined as seen in figure 2. Fig. 2:  The selected settlement area represents the continuously urbanised area of Berlin, thus it neglects administrative distinctions between Berlin and the surrounding Brandenburg. Map composed with data from EEA (2006b) and SVSU (2015b). Fig. 3:  Census blocks colour graded according to population density. Mind that the census areas of Brandenburg are white, because the census block areas from Brandenburg are much larger than Berlin’s (some are even larger than the administrative area of Berlin), resulting in an extremely low population density which renders a strong urban to rural divide, while this is not the case. Map composed with data from ASBB (2014) and SVSU (2014b).


Cultivating urbanism


2.1.  Existing approaches of represetnation Census block maps are often used to represent the different densities of people living in areas. However, the link between census block area and residents registered in them is in general a poor concept to show population density, because it’s density is strongly impacted by the size of the polygon, what neglects local concentrations (see equation 3.38). Consequently, in a census block map of Berlin and Brandenburg, the latter appears to be devoid of people, what is not the case (see fig. 3).

d Block pop =

N Block pop ABlock


Using the building footprints to find areas with high consumer concentration would also be misleading, because buildings like warehouses and gas tanks where there are no residents would be falsely considered as permanently inhabited and to need food supply (see fig. 4). As a consequence of this a different approach on representing urbanisation is taken, where urbanisation is characterised as densities of food demanding spaces by linking the amount of residents with the concrete spaces they dwell in.

Fig. 4:  Building footprints in Berlin and Brandenburg. Map composed with data from OSM (2015a).


Cultivating urbanism


2.2.  A new approach A more comprehensive approach to show the spatial distribution of people is a dot density map which combines abstract census block data from Berlin and Brandenburg (data from ASBB-2014 and SVSU-2014b) with concrete residential building footprints (data from OSM-2015a). The population data of each census area is randomly distributed on existing building footprints of that census area and weighted by the size of the footprints. This approximation is based on the assumption that the bigger a building footprint is, the more people can inhabit it. This process consists of six steps as described below (see fig. 5): (1) A census block map is created from the Blockteilflächen of Berlin and census regions of Brandenburg. Blocks with zero residents are removed from the map. The blocks are then colour-coded according to the amount of people per km2 registered in them (see fig. 6). (2) To get a better understanding of the abstract density figures, the resident count is randomly distributed as points per person within the census blocks (see fig. 7, and 8). (3) The census data records only residents. Therefore nonresidential buildings like hotels, public buildings, offices, and workshops are excluded from the data analysis (see fig. 9 and 10). Building footprints smaller than 100 m2 (allotment gardens and garages) are also excluded, because they are unlikely to be constantly inhabited. Existing buildings are superimposed on the census blocks, then nonresidential and buildings outside census blocks are removed from the set of buildings. 28

Cultivating urbanism

(4) An areal share of each building footprint compared to the total amount of residential building footprints within the census area is calculated. Then the number of residents (NRes) is estimated for each building by multiplying the footprint share of the building with the population of the corresponding census block (see equation 3.39).1 N Bldg pop = N Block pop ×

ABldg ABlock bldg


(5) Every resident is represented as a point randomly distributed within the corresponding building footprint according to the size of the building compared to its share of the total amount of building footprints in the census area. Now the census data is localised and reflects the amount of people and the spaces where they reside in (see figures 11–14). 1.

Comparing the building by total floor area would make the estimation more precise, but this data was not available.

Fig. 5:  Detail showing the steps of the process at Mehringplatz in Kreuzberg, Berlin: (a) Census block map, (b) residents as randomly distributed points in census block, (c) selection of residential buildings opposed to nonresidential ones, (d) residents aggregated on building footprints. Map composed with data from ASBB-2014, SVSU-2014b, and OSM-2015a. Fig. 6:  Detail representing the amount of reported residencies in census blocks in Berlin Mitte, Kreuzberg, and Prenzlauer Berg. Map composed with data from ASBB-2014 and SVSU-2014b.




Fig. 7:  Residents distributed on census blocks as points (one point is one resident). Map composed with data from ASBB-2014 and SVSU-2014b. Fig. 8:  Detail of the distribution in Berlin Mitte, Pankov and Kreuzberg. Map composed with data from SVSU-2014b.



Fig. 9:  After evaluating the open street map building types, only buildings larger than 100 m2 and the following Open Street Map types were selected for processing: NULL, Haus, Wohnungen, apartment, dormitory, high-rise, house, manor, mixed use, resident, villa, building, detached. Map composed with data from OSM-2015. Fig. 10:  Detail of Berlin Mitte, Kreuzberg, and Prenzlauer Berg. Map composed with data from OSM-2015.



Fig. 11:  Residents in Berlin and Brandenburg. Every resident is represented as a point randomly positioned within the corresponding building polygon (step 5). Map composed with data from OSM-2015, ASBB-2014, and SVSU-2014b. Fig. 12:  Residents in Berlin. Composed with data from OSM-2015 and SVSU-2014b. Residents in Kreuzberg and Mitte. Map composed with data from OSM-2015 and SVSU-2014b.




Fig. 13:  Residents in Kreuzberg and Mitte. Note the different densities of the points distributed inside the building footprints. Buildings with few reported residencies and a large footprint are hardly recognisable, while highly populated buildings like the six housing towers on the Fischerinsel are clearly represented. The small sizes of the census blocks improve the errors inherent in the approximative approach. Map composed with data from OSM-2015 and SVSU-2014b. Fig. 14:  Residents map combined with 3D building geometry from Google Earth. The result of the process corresponds with the location of high density housing like the towers on the Fischerinsel. Notice the large difference in the number of registered residents in the buildings and the excluded nonresidential buildings in the area around the Fischerinsel. Map composed with data from OSM-2015, SVSU-2014b, and Google Earth.

Human agglomeration


(6) Finally a heatmap is created to overcome representational limitations of the method, since large concentrations of people on small building footprints (e.g. highrise buildings) result in overlapping points what makes concentrations that exceed a certain amount of density to look equally dense. Also large-scale representations of the data are distorted by disappearing and overlapping points. A heatmap is a statistic method to show the geographic clustering of a spatial phenomenon like residencies within a given radius. The generated heatmap used a radius of 100 m. The darker an area, the more people live close together (see fig. 15).

2.3.  Limitations The chosen mapping method has six limitations: (1) Not everyone living in the project area is recorded in the public census data. (2) Temporary migrants like tourists and visitors are not recorded in the census data. (3) People who mostly eat at restaurants outside their census area, the demand shifts from the residents to the restaurants census area. (4) Commuters are recorded in the census data, but they are likely to eat next to the place of occupation and not at home during a work week. This will result in the same statistical distortions as mentioned in point 3. (5) The openly available census data shows never less than three people to protect the right for privacy (see SVSU-2014b). (6) The residents are distributed randomly and their distribution is weighted only by building footprint. The building footprint size has not to be proportional to the amount of dwelling spaces a building has. Large building footprints can be one storey high buildings, while small ones can belong to a high-rise buildings (see fig. 13 and 14). However, the map is precise enough for the following process.2 2.

If the administration of Berlin and Brandenburg becomes interested in implementing cultivating urbanism in their urban strategy, then full access to the census database and additional information about employment and accommodation will abolish limitations 2 and 4 to 6.

Fig. 15:  Heatmap showing where people cluster (r = 100 m). The darker an area is, the more people live close together. Map composed with data from OSM-2015 and SVSU-2014b.


Cultivating urbanism



3.  Spatial tactics In this section, five spatial tactics are formulated by abstracting and improving seven identified intra-urban food producing typologies (see figures 18–29): (1) urban garden colony is derived from allotment gardens and reform colonies in Berlin and Vienna, (2) urban mushroom farming is derived from existing farms in Vienna and Rotterdam, (3) urban rooftop acre and (4) urban rooftop greenhouse are derived from existing farms in New York City, and (5) an urban waste mining public infrastructure which links the first three tactics is introduced based on insights from Berlin and Vienna. The procedure of abstraction and improvement is the same for all spatial tactics and consists of the following seven steps (see fig. 16): (1) The found space (S) is abstracted into a metabolic (M) and an infrastructural (I) part. (2) The on-site metabolism is related to urban spaces from where it demands resources and where it provides its produce to (link to urban metabolism). (3) The infrastructure needed to operate such a metabolism is abstracted from the identified sites. (4) Bottlenecks within the on-site metabolism and possible links to the urban metabolism of Berlin (B) are drawn from the analysis of the existing metabolism and infrastructure. (5) The metabolism (M+) is improved in order to increase the productivity of the site, and the infrastructure (I+) is improved to support the new metabolism and to remove bottlenecks. (6) The new metabolism and infrastructure need certain conditions (C) to be implemented in urban space. These conditions are defined and inform the mapping of the territory. (7) In the last step a territory (T) of the new metabolism is mapped in Berlin. Finally, the spatial tactics are combined in a metropolitan strategy for cultivating urbanism in Berlin and the public service infrastructure (PSI) becomes the cardinal point in linking the metabolisms of the spatial tactics (M+) with the urban metabolism of Berlin (B; see fig. 17–19 and 27–39).



Fig. 16:  Flow diagram of approach used to abstract spatial tactics from identified intra-urban agricultural spaces. (S) Found space, (SA) spatial analysis, (I) abstracted infrastructure, (M) abstracted metabolism, (I+) improved infrastructure, (M+) improved metabolism, (B) Berlin, (C) urban context, (T) mapped territory. Fig. 17:  A public service infrastructure (PSI) becomes the cardinal point in linking the improved metabolisms (M+) of the spatial tactics with the urban metabolism of Berlin.

Spatial tactics



Fig. 18:  Urban metabolism introduced by cultivating urbanism in Berlin. Fig. 19:  Different territories of cultivating urbanism in Berlin are connected by a public resource mining service.


Cultivating urbanism



Fig. 20:  Infrastructure needed to set up an urban garden colony. Fig. 21:  Territory of urban garden colonies in Berlin.


Cultivating urbanism


Fig. 22:  Infrastructure needed to set up an urban mushroom farm. Fig. 23:  Territory of urban mushroom farms in Berlin.


Cultivating urbanism






Cultivating urbanism

Fig. 24:  Infrastructure needed to set up an urban rooftop acre. Fig. 25:  Infrastructure needed to set up an urban rooftop greenhouse. Fig. 26:  Territory of urban rooftop farms in Berlin.



Fig. 27:  Infrastructure needed to set up an urban biogas plant. Fig. 28:  Infrastructure needed to set up an urban composing facility. Fig. 29:  Territory of public waste mining infrastructure.


Cultivating urbanism



3.1.  The industrialisation of the emerging metropolis A rapid industrialisation and a strong population growth in Germany had four major effects on the relationship between Berlin and cultivated land in the 19th and early 20th century: (1) A strong migration from agricultural rural areas to industrialised urban areas introduced rural customs in Berlin. (2) A tremendous increase of the cost of food and housing lead to higher urban poverty. Urbanites eased their hardships by cultivating and building shelters on intra-urban and peri-urban land. Different forms of allotment gardens emerged in Berlin. (3) Cultural countermovements were launched by middle-class intellectuals to protest against the “physical and social degeneration” of industrialising Berlin. (4) The ideals of middle-class Lebensreform and the fascination of selfhelp processes by the urban poor caused different forms of reform colonialisation. The aim of reform colonialisa-


Fig. 30:  A rapid migration from rural to urban areas led to high prices for food and dwelling in Berlin, but also triggered a labour shortage in agricultural dominated rural areas. This shortage was filled by Polish people immigrating to eastern Germany. The shift from an workforce concentration from agriculture to industry, paired with a fast population growth and a slow industrialisation of agriculture resulted in country-wide food shortages and a high dependency on global hinterlands in the late 19th and the beginning 20th century.


Cultivating urbanism

tion was the dissolution of the metropolis into smaller communities. Prominent figures were Bruno Taut (Die Auflösung der Städte, 1920), Ludwig Hilberseimer (The New City, 1944), Rudolf Schwarz (Stadtlandschaft, see Mantziaras, 2003), Leberecht Migge (Fruchtlandschaft Berlin; see Burckhardt, 1981), Sigfried Giedion (“break up the metropolis”), and Adolf Loos and Otto Neurath within the Settler Movement of Vienna. Germany’s transition from an agrarian society to one based on capitalist industrialism started rather late (1850) compared to other European countries. To catch up with other countries, industrialisation was pushed forward so rapidly that Germany became one of the world’s leaders in industrialisation within 50 years. The economy boomed and the population doubled from 1871 until 1914. Germany was unified under Prussian leadership in 1871 and emerged as a new European power, that was going to cut ties from Russia and to dominate Europe economically and politically (Steininger, 2001). Even though large-scale mechanisation of agriculture was not happening until after World War Two, the fast population growth and increasing work opportunities in dominantly industrial urban areas led to a rapid migration from rural areas. The fluctuating demand for workforce in agriculture at the end of 19th century led to a migration of Polish immigrants to eastern Germany. It filled the seasonal labour shortage created by the ruralurban migration (see fig. 30). This rural emigration and immigration of non-Germans led to strong anti-immigrant sentiments among the rural German population, who saw their customs and social status threatened by an increasing number of non-Germans on German territory. These sentiments were used to introduce an “expulsion law” in 1886, which forced a relocation of Poles and an expropriation of Poles who lived on former Polish territory (that had been annexed by Prussia). However, the expulsion of all two million Poles failed, because the Germans realised their deep dependency on Polish immigrant labour (Walker, 2009). While the fast migration to Berlin triggered a housing shortage, the fast population growth and the rural migration triggered a country wide food shortage. The population of urban areas became so numerable, it became impossible to cover its demanded food solely by local hinterlands, which were using outdated means of production and were lacking in workforce due to the strong rural migration (symptomatic for many fast in-

dustrialising nations). National food production increased slower than population growth, and consequently food needed to be imported by steamships and railroads (Walker, 2009). The countryside had to both only limited access to and its supply was always seen as secondary compared to urban areas. This dependency led to a political dispute about whether food imports should be increased and agriculture should be industrialised — jeopardising Germany’s agricultural identity which was vital for nation building at that time — or if a resettlement of urbanites as farmers — according to the German pastoral ideal — to the countryside would be better suitable to feed the nation (Walker, 2009). Wilhelm Liebknecht, a 19th century German socialist, warned that the influx of cheap American corn by Midwestern rail systems would destroy the local agriculture and increase the rural migration, therefore industrialising Germany would loose its ability to produce agricultural goods (Walker, 2009) and politically more importantly: the influential Landjunker (landed gentry) would be stripped off income. Consequently German chancellor Bismarck tripled import duties on American corn to limit agricultural imports (Steel, 2013), what was no good for the starving people. Germany became dependent on distant hinterlands of other nations, but also on foreign labour for its own food production. A situation that conflicted with Germany’s new political role: it did not gain the autonomy it demanded for itself1, but put itself into higher dependency on foreign resources and food through a rather rapid industrialisation and fast population growth. The pastoral idyll the young nation based its common identity, on was quickly disappearing.

1. Prussia has been a client state of Russia, but the expansionist politic of the Prussian chancellor Bismarck unified Germany in 1871 (Steininger, 2001).

Spatial tactics


3.2.  Urban gardens as a form of self-supply Despite food imports, supplying the urban population remained difficult.2 High demand and low availability of food resulted in high food prices, what triggered a fast expansion of allotment-like land use patterns in Berlin after 1860 (SVSU, 2012a; Schafer Biermann, 2016) and culminated during the Weimarer Republic with 62.4 km2 of allotment gardens in Berlin (Gartenfreunde Berlin, 2016) — counting for 7% of its current administrative surface (see fig. 31 for an overview of their current dispersal). These patterns can be distinguished into three different organisational forms: (1) the grassroots movement of the Laubenkolonisten (garden shed colonists) or PflanzerBewegung (planting movement), (2) the Eisenbahngärten (railway gardens) provided by railway companies for their employees, and (3) the Pachtgärten (leased allotment gardens) leased by private landlords. The Laubenkolonisten were a group of rural immigrants who started to cultivate urban fallow land and build shelters on them in 1862. Their movement emerged from a need for shelter and a desire to establish a relationship to the rural life they left behind. The Laubenkolonisten became the first German grassroots allotment association when founding the Bund der Berliner Laubenkolonisten at the turn of the 19th century (Schafer Biermann, 2016; Krasny, 2012). The PflanzerBewegung was a similar grassroots movement, but focused mostly on becoming autonomous in food supply. Their number increased dramatically from 2,500 in 1880 to 40,000 in 1895 when food supply became more problematic (SVSU, 2012a). The need to bring large amounts of resources to urban factories and markets resulted in large transport infrastructure with a lot of small, irregular, and scattered interstitial plots (in particular at the railway termini in

Berlin; see fig. 31). Employees and workers of railway companies have cultivated those plots at first informally and since 1910 formally, when railway allotment gardens were integrated in a railway agriculture (Bahn-Landwirtschaft). Until today it is considered as an in-house social service of the Deutsche Bahn AG (SVSU, 2012a). In 1930, Berlin had about 5,000 of those Eisenbahngärten (Schafer Biermann, 2016). Other large companies provided allotments for their employees. Both were using the self-supply character of allotment gardens as a form of easing food costs for workers, but also as an argument for keeping wages low. Allotment gardens also became a tool for speculation in properties. Landlords leased their plots to allotment gardeners to secure their plots from public expropriation or informal occupation and to bridge finance the plot until the property value rose enough to sell it. During food shortages the leasing costs rose so high that the government had to intervene in 1931 (SVSU, 2012a). While the grassroots movements were informal ways of self-supply of food and housing and often illegal, the Eisenbahngärten and Pachtgärten were formal top-down methods to provide means of self-help while also gaining advantage from the situation of the provided allotment gardeners. The situation deteriorated when Germany lost World War One: the country fell into a deep political and economic turmoil (Haney, 2007) and the crushed economy led to a strong inflation3 and mass unemployment in urban areas. Large numbers of unemployed industrial workers began seeking shelter and means of self-supply on the outskirts and in the green corridors of the cities they once worked in. They began erecting metal shacks, working the land, and denuding forests for fuel and construction material (Uhlig, 1981; Krasny, 2012). Similar things happened during the global economic crisis in 1929 and during and after World War Two in German



”Fast ein Viertel der Bevölkerung des deutschen Reiches sind dem ausgesetzt, was wir als die Nachtseiten des Großstadtlebens kennen: Woh-

Between 1914 and 1920 the costs of living increased by 15 times, while the wage increased by 7 times (Husen, 2010).

nungen, in die zu wenig Sonne und Luft eindringt, unerschwingliche Mieten, teures Brot und teures Fleisch, Alkohol und lange Arbeitszeiten, der Mütter und der Kinder Not. Und unser Großstadtelend [...] schafft mit Naturwendigkeit endlich Gärten. Denn Gärten, Gärten für einen und für alle, sie sind es die vieles von all dem Verderblichen innerhalb unserer Häusermeere mildern können [...] Die Großstadt braucht Gärten aus Not (Leberecht Migge, 1913, in Hubenthal, 1981, p. 124).”


Cultivating urbanism

Fig. 31:  Current location and spatial extent of large allotment gardens in Berlin. Those which are on interstitial plots between railways are likely to have their origin in the above mentioned railway gardens. Many allotment gardens are on land owned by Berlin. Map composed with data from SVSU (2015a) and OSM (2015a).


cities, but there are also parallels to other urban areas like the wild settlers in Vienna after World War One and the Victory or War Gardens in the UK, New York City and Canada during World War One and World War Two (see fig. 32). At the end of World War Two the National Socialist regime began forcing allotment gardeners to cultivate vegetables and fruits (ornamental plants were forbidden) to ease the food shortage (Schafer Biermann, 2016). Simultaneously urban fallow land and green spaces became tilled or used for grazing (see fig. 33 and 34). This practice became further encouraged by the fallow land ordinance of 1945, which stressed the need to cultivate every square metre of fallow land in Berlin and made it possible to expropriated noncomplying landlords. Intra-urban agriculture became numerable, but still not effective enough to provide more than 1/3 of Berlin’s demand in vegetables. A worldwide food supply crisis ceased the rations from allied forces and led to the Hungerwinter in Postwar Berlin of 1946–47 (see fig. 35 and Baumbach, 2012). Although the organisation of allotment gardens and the know-how of gardeners were not effective enough to produce enough surplus to cover the demand of a whole urban society, allotment gardens proved to be an im-


Fig. 32:  Victory Garden in London. “Where the Nazi’s sowed death, a Londoner and his wife have sown life-giving vegetables in a London Bomb crater.” Many victory or war gardens were also used for national propaganda to motivate people at the “home front,” consequently the propaganda and public support contributed to a quick spreading of the war gardens from 600,000 to 1.5 MM during WW1 in the UK (Schafer-Biermann, 2016; Krasny, 2012). Image from Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information, ca. 1943.


Fig. 33:  A field is tilled on the grounds of the Tiergarten in front of the destroyed Reichstag in Berlin on May 29th, 1946. The forest of the Tiergarten was also cleared by the population to heat their homes. Image from Getty Images. Fig. 34:  A sheppard with his flock at the Platz der Republik in front of the Reichstag on June 1st, 1959. Image from Getty Images. Fig. 35:  Demonstrants demand for coal and food in Berlin during the Hungerwinter in 1947. Image from Bundesarchiv. Fig. 36:  Squatterings like this from 1950 were temporary means of shelter for some Berliner until the 1950s. Image from SVSU (2012a), p. 7. Fig. 37:  A drawing of 1845 shows a shoemaker and his family living in a Mietskaserne. It illustrates the housing situation of many Berliners. Image from Oswalt (2014a).



Cultivating urbanism

portant mechanism in providing individuals and families with a minimum amount of food and as temporary housing during major crises until the 1950s (see fig. 36). To ease the housing shortage of devastated Post World War Two Berlin, Berlin’s councillor Hans Scharoun introduced a building directive in 1945 which allowed allotment holders to upgrade their allotment hut to a small house and to live there for a maximum of five years (SVSU, 2012a; Schafer Biermann, 2016). Produce of allotment gardens was also sold at markets and shops to improve urban food supply — a practice that was proceeded later in the DDR (Schafer Biermann, 2016).


3.3.  Reform colonialism In the late 19th century the environment of Berlin became more and more degenerated from the effects of industrialisation like massive deforestation and smog and rapid population growth like overcrowded tenement houses (see fig. 37) and large sanitary problems, due to an urban infrastructure not capable of dealing with the rapidly increased urban population (Walker, 2009; Oswalt, 2014a). A general rejection of the metropolis became popular among middle class intellectuals (Linse, 1983), who shared the common belief that the industrial metropolis is physically and socially degenerating the human being and started various movements to reform urban life. These movements can be collectively termed as Lebensreform (life reform). Prominent supporters were Rudolf Steiner and Franz Oppenheimer. The movements were informed by “peasant literature,” a cultural counter movement to the disappearing agricultural identity of Germany since the 1830s (Walker, 2009). Peasant literature was agro-romantic and anti-metropolitan. It celebrated authority, order, and hard manual work as key values of an “authentic” German identity and was used as a cultural link between an agrarian past and an industrialised future in German nation building (Walker, 2009). Various movements were organised by people from the middle-class for workers, women and the youth to demand public spaces for sport, athletic competitions, and allotment gardens (Husen, 2010). The physical body was the centre of this movement (see figures 38–40), and the Lebensreform demanded large, open, green spaces (opposing the overcrowded “steinerne Berlin”) to prac-



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40 Fig. 38:  The physical body was at the centre of the Lebensreform. Image by Gerhard Riebicke, Gymnastic exercises of the Berlin police, 1926. Fig. 39:  Gerhard Riebicke, published in Verlag der Schönheid, 1920. Fig. 40:  Freundinnen beim Zelten, ca. 1928. Image from Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin. Fig. 41:  Diagram showing the strategy proposed by Oppenheimer for land reform in Germany (convert private into collectively farmed public land) and to colonise rural areas with urbanites as a solution to the food shortages and overcrowded cities of his time.


Cultivating urbanism

tice the new way of life in mass events on public grounds to increase pressure on politics. However, rural-urban migrants knew the real conditions of common life on the countryside, and saw the industrialisation as an improvement. Therefore it were mostly people from the middle-class who started to migrate from crowded urban spaces to more “natural” places like garden cities, peri-urban communes or met their desire by urban allotment gardens close to home. Prominent designers and intellectuals like Leberecht Migge, Franz Oppenheimer, and Adolf Loos were fascinated by urban self-help and engulfed by the momentum created by the Lebensreform, started to propose various urban schemes to improve the living, hygienic, and social conditions of urbanites. Their common objective can be described as a dissolution of the metropolis by moving people into smaller communities with access to land that could be cultivated. Many wanted to combine the cultural improvements of the metropolis with the positive effects small communities and a life close to nature was promising, but some like Rudolf Schwarz were also opposed to urban culture (Mantziaras, 2003). Reform colonialism, a combination between land reform and reformist resettlement of urbanites, was proposed as a third way to capitalism and the social revolution of communism by many middle-class reformers in Germany (Haney, 2007; Reus, 1981). The success and failure of German reform colonialism relied heavily on the question of how land should be owned. It is deeply informed by Henry George’s argument in Progress and Poverty (1880) that the solution to inequality lies in the collective ownership of land, whereas Adolf Damaschke — a promoter of the garden city — was the leading figure of the German Land Reform Movement (Haney, 2007). A second strong influence was the Russian prince turned anarchist Peter Kropotkin who argued that small-scale settlements could exist in relative economic independence if they focus on growing food through small-scale, intensive agriculture and have workshops (Haney, 2007). All reform colonies integrated various degrees of reformist ideals of Lebensreform or socialism, therefore reform colonies were test beds for social experiments, but can also be seen as a way to shape and discipline

society.4 While reform colonialism aimed to redistribute land and resources within national borders, its concepts were adopted to found settlements which promote national socialistic ideals on foreign ground during Germany’s land grab in World War Two (Mantziaras, 2003; Haney, 2007; Walker, 2009). The idea of returning people to the nourishing land and organising them in small communities, focused on agriculture and production resulted in various reform colonies in Germany and abroad. The first successful self-sufficient Lebensreform settlement in Germany was the Eden Colony, a small community founded by 18 middle-class vegetarians from Berlin in Oranienburg in 1893 (Haney, 2007). It became the guiding model for following Lebensreform colonies. The land was owned cooperatively and a high land to housing ratio enabled the members to raise enough fruits and vegetables to cover their demand and to sell the surplus directly or processed (in collective workshops) to markets in Berlin. The cooperation nearly failed at the beginning, because members lacked the technical knowledge of farming (Haney, 2007). Most settler movements consisted of middle-class urbanites or industrial workers who both had no experience in farming, thus training and professional guidance was the most critical factor to success in settlements that strived for some degree of self-sufficiency. A prominent supporter of Eden was the doctor, sociologist, and political economist Franz Oppenheimer (Lichtblau, 2015). He was a strong promoter of a German land reform and argued that the only reasonable way to colonise land would be to organise people in cooperations which would cultivate the land on a rational basis (Uhlig, 1981). In Der Ausweg (1919) he formulated a political and economical framework that uses capitalist mechanisms to transform large-scale private farming enterprises into cooperative farming enterprises (Uhlig, 1981; see fig. 41): (1) The state would expropriate or buy land from large landowners or use public land to (2) divide the land into smaller patches to (3) lease the patches to farming cooperations. (4) Farming cooperations would withdraw workforce from private farms, what would lead (5) to a lack of workforce on private 4. See Michel Foucault’s critical analysis of public institutions which emerged in the 19th century as a form to shape populations according to national ideals.


farms, what results in higher production costs, while the increasing availability of produce reduces food prices. Both make private farming less profitable. (6) The decreased profit would devaluate private agricultural land, whereby (7) the public enterprise could buy more land, withdraw more workforce, and increase food production. However the German land reform failed, because it proved to be too difficult to provide enough land, by for example expropriating landlords. Most policy makers were themselves landlords and had more interest in securing and increasing their share in properties than giving properties away for some socialist experiment (Husen, 2010). Urban landlords also profited from the high demand in dwellings and prolonged selling properties to increase their value (SVSU, 2012a). Consequently policy makers ignored proposals for reforms in housing and urban design. This proofed to be a large obstacle for all reform colonies in Germany. 3.3.1.  Reform colonialism in Vienna

The situation was quite contrary in Vienna: The government of Austria struggled until 1923 to recover from World War One (Zimmerl, 2011). The desperate economic situation during and after World War One was the result of undesirable developments in the housing economy in the late Gründerzeit and a spatial separaSpatial tactics


tion of agricultural production in pre-war Austria, where Austrian agriculture became dependent on suppliers from eastern crown lands in basic resources. In 1915, Allied forces had cut off Austria from its suppliers, what increased the pressure on the 2 MM people living in Vienna at that time (Zimmerl, 2011). The Austrian-Hungarian empire was crushed in 1918, what resulted in high inflation, extreme lack in basic commodities, an increasing urban population of Austrians returning from former crown lands increasing pressure on the already stressed housing market, and a state too weak to execute its laws (Zimmerl, 2011). While all factors led to forms of self-help squatting within the Austrian society, the weak state power gave the squatters more freedom to operate. This is essential in understanding the momentum the Vienna self-help society developed compared to Germany. Consequently the allotments and shacks of the self-help society emerged mostly on land owned by landlords like public grounds, monasteries, and abandoned quarries in Vienna who were unable to enforce their rights by force (Zimmerl, 2011; Kampfmann, 2014). Although the squatters were unorganised urban poor who used found materials to construct sheds of any kind (see fig. 44), poached wild animals, denuded the forest, and risked to pull the city further into anarchy, their way of occupying unused land to live a self-determined life close to nature inspired many middle-class urbanites5 who were close to socialist ideas of community (Vossoughian, 2008) and rejected the physical conditions of metropolitan Vienna and longed for a “contrast to the factory,” while the rural migrants understood the



5. Prominent supporters of a self-help urbanism are Adolf Loos, Hans Kampffmeyer, Gustav Scheu, Max Ermers, and Otto Neurath (Vossoughian, 2008).

Fig. 42:  Different motives for squatting. Fig. 43:  Overarching umbrella organisation unified squatters and gave them more political power to secure their tennure and demand further rights. Fig. 44:  “Wild settlers” in Vossoughian (2008), p. 16.



Cultivating urbanism






factory as a sign of progress as Josef Frank — who was part of the Viennese Settler Movement — had put it in Frank (1981). Frank argues that “the house of the settler restores the direct relationship between human being and earth.”6 Those sentiments were based on similar pastoral idylls as in Germany to that time (Zimmerl, 2011). This admiration led to the foundation of many settler associations by the middle-class in Vienna. Whereas the squatters had purely economically motives, the settlers grouped according to different ideologies (see fig. 42), what is characteristic for colonies of the Lebensreform.7 When the government recovered in the early 1920s, squatting stopped and idiologies were replaced by ambitions to secure the grabbed land. Although the settlers and squatters have became numerous over time,8 their fragmented character was becoming a serious obstacle in securing their tenures (Zimmerl, 2011). Unifying the various allotment associations was starting in 1915 (ZVKG, 2011). In 1919 Otto Neurath became involved in the movement. He understood, that large movements need a strong overarching organisation to lobby for their interests. In 1921 the Austrian Settle6.

”Das Siedlerhaus stellt den direkten Zusammenhang zwischen Mensch und Erde wieder her (Josef Frank in Frank, 1981, p. 131).”


Officers and former soldiers, intellectuals, artists, and reformists, socialists, communists or anarchists (Zimmerl, 2011). See also the chronic of the Austrian Zentralverband der Kleingärtner from 1903 and 1909, where the association request public fallow land from the municipality of Vienna with the following argument: “[... Der Verein] will Arbeitern, kleinen Geschäftsleuten, Beamten, Angestellten, die viel sitzende Beschäftigung haben, durch Vergebung eines Stückes Pachtgrundes von 200 Quadratmeter aufwärts Gartenarbeit ermöglichen, die bekanntlich für den Organismus von hohem gesundheitlichem Wert ist, deren Familien eine Tageserholungsstätte bieten, um damit die Menschen mehr zur natürlichen Lebensweise zurückzuführen, da doch für viele der Aufenthalt im Freien, insbesondere gegen die Großstadtkrankheit Tuberkulose, von eminentem Nutzen ist[...] (ZVKG, 2011).”


The number of settlers and registered settler associations had increased from 13 clubs and 2,000 members in 1916 to 230 and 50,000 members in 1922 (Hochhausl, 2011), or a total of about 60,000 allotment gardens with squatters (Kampfmann, 2014). The total size of allotments rose from 15 ha in 1914 to 45 ha in 1915, 126 ha in 1917, 900 ha in 1923, 950 ha in 1924, and decreased afterwards to 790 ha in 1927 (ZVKG, 2011).

ment and Allotment Garden Association was founded as an umbrella association for the numerous already existing clubs (see fig. 43). Members were mobilised to demonstrate for their demands as a collective. In the same year, Neurath and Adolf Müller achieved that the Mayor of Vienna promised them the construction of additional settlements, quick expropriation proceedings, the distribution of necessary building materials, machines, tools, and the foundation of a settlers’ credit institution (Hochhausl, 2011). A key aspect in gaining and maintaining political influence was establishing organs in the form of institutions mediating between the interests of the allotment associations’ members and the municipality of Vienna. Through these organs the association could lobby on the behalf of its members while the development of allotments and settlements became guided by the municipality (Hochhausl, 2011). This changed the nature of the movement from a decentralised and unorganised movement, that would have posed a serious threat to the stability of the young nation, to an organisation with political influence. The direct link to municipal government through the institutions granted the settlement clubs more political power. The ability to mobilise the members in an ordered way to demonstrate for their claims was a second key aspect to political influence. This could only be achieved if the members would share a common identity. The Siedlerschule and the exhibitions organised by the ASAGA were crucial tools in this opinion shaping process. Consequently most classes of the Siedlerschule were of political nature and only few practical ones like house building, gardening, and domestic classes (Vossoughian, 2008 and Hochhausl, 2011). Additional institutions and associations which were part of the umbrella association were the Grundstein, a building cooperation which did the construction work, the municipal GeSiBa which organised building materials and standardised building parts and techniques, the Warentreuhand which provided affordable furniture and household appliances, the Siedlungsamt which was supervised by Adolf Loos and was responsible for planning and managing the building of the settlements. It also advised settler groups about building codes and checked projects prior to the submission to the municipality. Finally the Kleingartenstelle acquired and distributed parcels of land to the settlers. The Kleingartenstelle and the SiedlungSpatial tactics


samt were vested in the administration of the municipality of Vienna (see Zimmerl, 2011; Baumann, 2012; Welzig, 1998; Neurath, 1922; Vossoughian, 2008; Krasny, 2012). The ambitions were high, but the demand for housing was much higher than the rather slow process of building settlements could cover. In 1923, the social democratic government of Vienna shifted its strategy from building settlements to building large-scale social housing, which was more effective in providing large quantities of dwellings and also more effective in demonstrating and strengthening the political power of the party in Vienna. 3.3.2.  Fruchtlandschaft Berlin

The missing overarching structure and the intact state power in Germany prevented a strong impact of German reform colonialism and allotment movements on politics. However, reform colonialism reached a much larger scale in Germany than in Austria, even though only few ideas were translated into actual built settlements. Leberecht Migge, a German landscape architect developed housing and community infrastructure schemes to “colonise” the not urbanised areas surrounding German cities in order to solve massive, urban food shortages in the early 20th century. He believed that most social and economic problems could be solved if Germany is transformed into a national network of allotments and gardens, where Germans could grow their own food (Haney, 2007). Migge was a performative Modernist (Wilkens, 1981) and based his designs on economic calculations, which were informed by Martin Wagner’s calculations about urban economics. Like Otto Neurath, Migge was an advocate of real economy but also argued that the city is unproductive, because it consumes land without yielding new resources (“ohne reale Bodenrente”). Within two decades he developed new types of settlements that cultivated the land they occupied and became a contributing part in the urban metabolism (Uhlig, 1981; Hubenthal, 1981). Between 1920 and ‘32 Migge conceptualised the Fruchtlandschaft for Greater Berlin. The Fruchtlandschaft was a way of inner-colonisation, where islands of land cultivating settlements were attached to Berlin to 62

Cultivating urbanism

capitalise on the waste stream and other infrastructure of the metropolis (see fig. 45 and 48). The produced surplus would have been sold to markets in Berlin. The metabolism of the Fruchtlandschaft was informed by Raoul Francé’s Das Leben im Ackerboden (Life in the Soil) from 1913, where Francé argues that urban waste should be redistributed on agricultural land to create a circle of nitrogen (Haney, 2007; see fig. 46, and Migge’s Abfallbaum, fig. 47). Consequently Migge argued in his Green Manifesto from 1919 that “the city may not only take from the land, the city must also give to the land [...] All city waste to the land. Unify city and land. We should create our own ‘soil’ (Migge in Haney, 2007, p. 204).” In this sense, Migge formulated an urban metabolism where the Fruchtlandschaft links residents to building plots and building plots to the urban resource cycle of food and waste. The dry toilet was the smallest part of this decentralised waste management system.9 Solid waste was transformed into compost and the compost was applied on allotment gardens and fields (Wilkens, 1981; Haney, 2001). The development of the Fruchtlandschaft was closely related to the city; the city was at the core of the colonialisation: The gardeners were part-time industrial workers who migrated to their allotment gardens to work the land in their spare time. The income and savings from producing food could be invested in developing the allotment garden, where according to Migge, the gardener should improve the garden first and then the house. Settlement building was proposed as a colonising process where the site was cultivated in order to become more productive and generate income to continue house building: “No house building without garden building!”10 9.

Migge stressed the importance of reclaiming nutrients from solid waste by citing Japanese customs where the guest shows his gratitude for dinner by using the host’s toilet: “Wir müssen soweit kommen wie die Japaner, die sich für die Einladung zu einem Essen dadurch revanchieren, daß sie den Abort des Gastgebers benützen (Migge in Wilkens, 1981, p. 146).”

10. ”Kein Hausbau ohne Landbau! Leberecht Migge, “Neues Gartenbauen,” in Erwin Gutkind, ed., Neues Bauen, Berlin: Verlag der Bauwelt, 1919, p.119.”

Fig. 45:  The proposal of a Fruchtlandschaft for Kiel shows how the new settlements would be integrated into the public infrastructure: Urban waste and sewage would be transformed into fertiliser for the settlements. Image from Burckhardt (1981). Fig. 46:  Diagram of the cycle of the elements by Raoul Francé from 1922. The human metabolism is viewed as a part of the natural metabolism, where his feces and finally his corpse is split into a solid and a dissolved part. The solid part is processed by bacteria and taken in by plants, while the liquid part infiltrates rivers and is also processed by baceria. Image from Haney (2007), p. 210. Fig. 47:  The Abfallbaum (“Tree of waste”) diagram by Migge. It shows old and new methods of handling waste. Note how the sewer system of the city is criticised as a “Kanal-Hydra” (sewer hydra) that pollutes rivers and poisons fish. Image from Siedlungswirtschaft, 1923 Number 5. Fig. 48:  Fruchtlandschaft Berlin. Image from Leberecht Migge, Eine Weltstadt kolonisiert, 1932.





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House building and cultivating the plot were an interdependent process of five major steps (Hubenthal, 1981; see figures 49–53): (1) A 20 m long Fruchtmauer (protective crop wall; see fig. 57) was erected to line the northern sides of the property. Then, the property was divided into 20 m wide plots along the wall, so the gardens could extend first southwards and later northwards into unoccupied land for lease (1,250 m2 per plot). (2) The worker started to cultivate a small patch of land (allotment garden) and erected a small shelter, the Sonnenlaube, where he could rest, cook, and store tools (see fig. 51). (3) A 25 m2 small core house (Laube) was erected in a niche in the wall to replace the Sonnenlaube (see fig. 52). With it a shed for raising small livestock, a dry toilet and a shed for tools were built on the northern side of the wall (step 3 could be merged with step 2 where the construction of the Sonnenlaube would be omitted). (4) Additional production spaces like a space for processing food and a greenhouse were created. (5) In the last stage the living space was extended by two bedrooms. The final stage consisted of 54 m2 of living and 44 m2 of in-door space for producing food. Now, the worker would “give up his dwelling in the city� and permanently migrate to the settlement to become a full-time gardener (Burckhardt, 1981). The garden was divided into zones according to the amount of attention that was required to cultivate crops (Migge, 1918; Haney, 2007): intensive farming took place close to the house and even became part of the house in the form of a greenhouse, where the windows of the greenhouse were dismantled in late spring and used to cover plant beds. Extensive farming took place





Cultivating urbanism

on community land which is close to the house (potatoes, turnips, and legumes). The more the plot developed, the more the development displaced cultivated areas close to the house. However, the more the development progressed, the more area was cultivated by extending the plot towards the south and the more intensive the growing techniques became (see fig. 52 and 53): A large greenhouse replaced the beds in the east in step 4. The greenhouse could be replaced by an additional barn for animal 52

Fig. 49:  Migge used a wall, a basic architectonic element, to guide the urban design. The “Fruchtmauer” (crop wall) was used to create a microclimate extending the growing season. Urbanisation happens along the wall, while cultivation is directed towards south and north, moving away from the wall and along the wall in more intensive forms of agriculture (greenhouses and wall fruit). Image from Burckhardt (1981). Fig. 50:  The Zeltlaube, a predecessor of the Sonnenlaube. Images from Leberecht Migge, 1932, Die wachsende Siedlung nach biologischen Gesetzen. Fig. 51:  The urbanisation and cultivation of the plot started with a small allotment garden and a “Sonnenlaube,” where the city dweller would cultivate the land on weekends. Image from Burckhardt (1981). Fig. 52:  The allotment garden is urbanised by the colonist over time until it becomes large enough to resettle permanently. Image from Burckhardt (1981). Fig. 53:  Different forms of cultivation could be established during urbanisation. Some settlers would become Voll-Erwerbs-Gärtner (full-time gardener), who help the others of the community in managing their land, or Neben-ErwerbsSiedler (part-time gardener) who focused on raising poultry and growing fruits. Image from Burckhardt (1981).


Spatial tactics


54 55 Fig. 54:  Nursery and spatial organisation of the Fruchtlandschaft. Fig. 55:  Floor plans of Erwerbssiedlerhaus designed by Migge and Fischer for an exhibition in Braunschweig in 1925. Note how the rail tracks (top right corner) penetrate the building. Image from Burckhardt (1981). Fig. 56:  Gardener pushing a trolly with material in the Erwerbssiedlerhaus. Image from Gartenschönheit, 1927, number 2 in Burckhardt (1981). Fig. 57:  Fruchtmauer with trellis and developable mats to protect the buds of the fruit trees from frost during nights. Image from Haney (2001). Fig. 58:  In a sketch Adolf Loos presented at the Weissenhof Siedlung in Stuttgart in 1926, he replaced the linear wall by the walls of the house and extended them into the garden (Haney, 2007).




Cultivating urbanism

raising in the last stage. The walls of the house were also used for trellis to grow fruits. Consequently the stage of development was reflected in the range of products produced by the colonist. The scheme was fairly flexible: The gardeners could choose what kind of productive spaces they wanted to build and how fast they wanted to progress or at what stage they wanted to stop. Unused plots could be occupied by those who wanted to earn a living from the cultivation of land (full-timer gardener), so it was also possible to extend cultivation horizontally (Hubenthal, 1981). Domestic waste was treated on site, but could also be brought to a recycling facility (“Kompositorium”) which was managed by the association. In this case the gardener would push the waste in a trolly on rails connecting the house and the facility (see figures 55 and 56). There the compost would be treated and applied to allotment gardens and large fields and orchards within the community (Haney, 2007). Migge knew that know-how is crucial for people’s success in cultivating land.11 Consequently he planned one nursery per cooperative of 30 to 50 settlers where a “Bodenführer” would support and train part-time gardeners and newcomers (Uhlig, 1981; see fig. 54). Additional full-time gardeners would evolve

Fig. 59:  Josef Frank incorporated large garden plots, a gardener, and a tree nursery into its scheme for the settlement in Traiskirchen, Lower Austria. Image from Frank (1981), p. 126.

11. Migge published Everyman Self-Sufficient

Fig. 60:  Leberecht Migge and Leopold Fischer, settlement in Dessau-Ziebigk. Image from Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst, 1929, number 2 in Burckhardt (1981).

rary figures like John Jeavons developed a

in 1913. It is a manual for gardeners and planners for creating small garden plots attached to single family housing. Contempolarge body of maps, charts, lists, and movies to help people getting the most out of small plots of land (Walker-2009).

from part-time gardeners. The Fruchtmauer was — due to its simplicity — one of the most striking elements of the scheme: A simple wall, a primary element of architecture, was used as an urban design element to (1) define the starting point of each settler’s house, (2) direct the growth of the house along both sides of the wall, (3) direct the extension of the cultivated area southwards to the wall, and (4) improving conditions for cultivating crops by creating a microclimate, shielding plants from cold and drying winds, and providing a surface for mounting trellis. Adolf Loos invited Leberecht Migge in 1922 to speak to the public and the city authorities about his concepts of settlements.12 Later, Loos and Josef Frank incorporated Migge’s suggestions for the layout of new housing settlements in Vienna by including large vegetable gardens, fruit trellis, dry toilets, and composting facilities (see fig. 59). He also translated Migge's metabolic flow from kitchen to garden into a spatial flow, where Loos connects the settler’s house with it’s garden through dining room, kitchen, and work terrace in a modernist manner. The scheme of the Fruchtmauer is advanced so it extends the house and encloses the garden (see fig. 58). House and garden became a spatial unit (Haney, 2007). After Loos left Vienna for Paris, Leopold Fischer, one of Loos’ most trusted pupils started to collaborate with Migge on several projects. He became the ideal counterpart for Migge to carry out his self-sufficient Siedlung schemes. The settlement in Ziebigk, Dessau incorporated most of Migge’s ideas, but also Loos’ spatial flow layouts: The ground floor was organised according to Loos’ flow from garden to kitchen to hearth diagram and the garden became a critical domestic element and place of food production (Haney, 2007). A “green room” (a glass-enclosed living room) was used to grow plants, while the glass panels could be removed in the summer, so that the space could be adapted with the seasons. Each house had 500 m2 of garden. Two gardens were framed collectively by a Fruchtmauer and divided by plant trellis. Each house had two hot beds and a chicken coop. The houses used dry toilets and the domestic waste was treated on the plots individually (see fig. 60). However, the recycling facilities proofed to be too complex to operate, consequently residents removed them (Haney, 2007; Uhlig, 1981).




12. Loos became chief architect of the Siedlungsamt in Vienna in 1920.

Spatial tactics


In 1932, Migge and Max Schemmel published a report that discussed options to transform Berlin into a Garden City. Further investigations were stopped in 1933 when the Nazis closed Migge's office in Berlin (Husen, 2010). Leberecht Migge died in 1935 on his estate in Worpswede, Lower Saxony. Migge introduced socialist forms of cooperation to horticulture and down-scaled industrial technologies like the above mentioned tipper on rails, tillers, and irrigation pumps and combined it with ancient techniques like crop walls (ancient China and France) to improve the productivity of the garden and make cultivating land less hard work (see fig. 61). Principles of horticulture were also upscaled to develop policies for regional and national resource management, where urban waste was seen as a resource that was reintegrated as fertiliser for food production at the gardens (see fig. 62). The garden was transformed into a machine and placed into a larger collective infrastructure to become an important part in the urban metabolism of cities. The technical and social infrastructure Migge’s schemes depended on and the way he arranged them on the plots were a straightforward approach to downscale industrial means of production in order to help nongardeners (intended industrial workers) in cultivating land. The simple looking layout of the colonies reveals its complexity, when the development it guides from simple allotment gardens to various economic forms (part-time, and full-time gardener) and social infrastructure (nursery) is considered. Architecture was linked to landscape in a technical and organic manner, resulting in circular systems which could produce enough food to feed the gardeners. Yet, Migge ignored that subsidised large-scale agriculture was evolving on a regional level and most of the people were not willing or capable of managing a garden next to their main occupation. Today, it should be more about providing space and infrastructure than about a personal commitment to growing food. A company managing the major part of cultivation (see Wohnpark Alt-Erlaa in Vienna) or further mechanisation by more advanced machines and robots (see Spitzer, 2014) could render participation optional. Lawn robots are becoming more popular in gardens, where some gardeners also use hand operated cylinder mowers as an occasional form of exercise after a long day in the office.



Cultivating urbanism


Fig. 61:  Identified infrastructure needed to set up an urban colony. Composition is informed on various design schemes of Leberecht Migge from the Erwerbssiedlerhaus (1925), Fruchtlandschaft Berlin (1920-32), Nebenberufliche Siedlung (1931), Die wachsende Siedlung nach biologischen Gesetzen (1932), and adjusted where necessary. Fig. 62:  Metabolism of Fruchtlandschaft.

Spatial tactics


3.4.  Urban garden colony An urban garden colony is the final state of a progressive tactic which provides a framework to stimulate the development of individual allotment gardens towards a more productive urban garden colony. The process reorganises the layout of allotment garden colonies and introduces downscaled industrial infrastructure to improve cultivation, to reduce the needed workforce per plot, and to connect individual gardens with collective infrastructure in an automatable production network. The approach is deeply informed by the discussed schemes proposed by Leberecht Migge for the Fruchtlandschaft of Berlin, but also by the insights drawn from the analysis of allotment gardens and reform colonialism (see previous section 3.2 Urban gardens as a form of self-supply, p. 54). 3.4.1.  Existing allotment gardens in Berlin

Allotment gardens are regulated in the Bundeskleingartengesetz (federal allotment garden law). The Bundeskleingartengesetz defines an allotment garden as a plot of land smaller than 400 m2, where a hobby gardener uses at least 1/3 of the plot for cultivating food or ornamentals. A 24 m2 small hut can be erected on this plot. Most plots have access to a water main and a power line. How-

ever, dwelling is not allowed (SVSU, 2012a). The infrastructure needed to operate an allotment garden is fairly simple (SVSU, 2012a; see figures 63 and 65): (1) A fallow plot of land which has to be (2) close to housing,13 (3) a water permeable access path, a water main, and a power line which parcel the site into (4) plots, and (5) a garden hut. Allotment gardens can foster ecological, social, cultural, and infrastructural benefits within urban areas (Schafer Biermann, 2016; SVSU, 2012a): (1) Allotment gardens green urban areas and improve water and air quality if they exceed a certain size (ecological). (2) While most gardeners focus on leisure and recreation, an increasing number of young families lease allotment gardens to grow affordable, fresh, and untreated pesticidefree food, either to compensate low income and high living costs or out of a general mistrust towards the contemporary food industry (social). (3) A desire for a more diverse food culture is reflected in people growing crops uncommon to supermarkets. There is also a knowledge transfer about cultivation techniques and plant species, between established and new gardeners (cultural). (4) Allotments are prevailing close to where gardeners live. Proximity keeps commuting short, thus decreases the general traffic volume in urban areas when allotment gardens become the main place of spending leisure time for urbanites (opposed to trips to the countryside). Allotments are usually parts of parks, thus can share a common infrastructure like garden waste management facilities (infrastructural). None of the observed allotment garden associations had collective infrastructure like workshops, supportive nurseries, or training facilities proposed and built by Leberecht Migge or the Austrian Settlement and Allotment Garden Association in the 1920s. Gardening appears to be practiced mostly isolated within the associations (see fig. 65). This corresponds with a common image about allotment gardeners as being narrowminded “Spießbürger.“ The image emerged in the 1960s when gardening lacked young people and was practiced mostly by middle-aged adults and elderly people. However, today allotment gardeners are of a broad range of age and social class who share a common interest in in13. 96% of all allotment gardens are within 1/2 hour commuting distance from the gardeners dwelling. 60% are within 15 minutes



(Schafer Biermann, 2016).

Cultivating urbanism

teracting with nature (Schafer Biermann, 2016). The current metabolism of allotment gardens is isolated within the urban area and is capital and workforce intensive (see fig. 64): The gardener leases an allotment garden from a landlord and brings workforce, material, seeds, and tools bought from urban markets to the allotment garden to cultivate the plot. There the gardener could grow as much produce as possible, however the Bundeskleingartengesetz prohibits cultivation for profit (SVSU, 2012a). Hence, excess is given to friends or dumped on compost heaps or waste bins at home. Consequently the Bundeskleingartengesetz needs to be adapted so allotment gardens can become more relevant in the urban food system. It is common to treat garden waste on-site, but some gardeners prefer to bring it to a professional waste management service. There garden waste is processed into compost, burned for heat and electricity or converted into biogas and sold to urban markets. A plot of 300 m2 (most common size) costs about 500 € per year. Often the Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung und Umwelt is the landlord. The districts lease the land to local allotment garden associations, who manage the site, lease the plots to individual gardeners, and mediate between the gardeners and the landlord (SVSU, 2012a).

Fig. 63:  Infrastructure and layout needed to operate allotment gardens. Drawing is based on details from the Bundeskleingartengesetz (SVSU, 2012a) and found allotment garden colonies in Berlin. Fig. 64:  Metabolism of allotment gardens in Berlin. Allotment gardens operate mostly isolated within the urban metabolism and are capital and workforce intensive operations. Each gardener needs to bring seedlings, compost, machinery, and tools to the plot. Fig. 65:  The allotment garden colony Kleingartenkolonie Mannheim in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Berlin is characteristic for the current infrastructure, layout, and urban context of many allotment gardens in Berlin. Notice the low land to housing ratio where large houses are built on small plots. Image composed with data from Google Earth.



Spatial tactics


3.4.2.  Urban garden colonies for Berlin

Many of Berlin’s allotment gardens are on public land, thus a spatial and metabolic reorganisation of the plot’s layout is possible. However, the reorganisation should be nonobligatory and implemented over time by providing incentives for gardeners: (1) Schafer Biermann (2016) reported that some allotment gardeners complained that they have to give up their plot, because their incomes became too low to afford an allotment garden. Here, the productive garden could be used as an incentive to motivate low-income gardeners in spending their workforce to grow produce. (2) The produce is sold at the allotment’s market, at urban farmer’s markets or via direct shipment to customers (“Schreber-Kiste”). Community supported agriculture is also an option — which is quite common in intra-urban agriculture in New York City (see 66

Fig. 66:  Improved metabolism proposes a system where the municipality provides infrastructure like a nursery, a market, a workshop, machinery, and a composting facility to the site, while the gardeners operate it. Fig. 67:  Plot width-to-height ratio and road network are changed to make future merging of plots possible. Fig. 68:  The general layout is arranged by rail tracks and a crop wall, directing future development along two axes.


Cultivating urbanism

Brooklyn Grange, 2015; Eagle Street Farm, 2012) — where consumers pay an annual fee in advance and get food shipped to them on intervals. This has the advantage, that the urban garden colony gets a concrete annual budget to plan with. More generally, providing urbanites access to products from urban garden colonies helps shaping a positive public image of the gardeners, which could bind the gardeners together. A common identity helps mobilising the gardeners to protest for their demands (see section Reform colonialism in Vienna, p. 59), something that becomes ever more important, because an increasing demand in allotment gardens by urbanites is opposed by the displacement of more and more allotment gardens by urban developments. Schafer Biermann (2016) also mentioned an occurring generational replacement within the allotment garden community, where young families replace elderly people in order to provide their family with fresh, untreated food. Giving them on-site training could be a good way to strengthen the bounds between the individual gardeners and the general idea of the urban garden colony. (3) The income generated by selling products could be used to reduce the lease of the allotment gardens taking part in the process or to give gardeners other benefits like a “Schreber-Ticket” (public transport ticket to commute from their dwellings to the allotment garden). A new metabolism is introduced where the municipality provides the infrastructure for the site, while the gardeners operate it (see fig. 66). This corresponds with an idea expressed by Philipp Oswalt (former director of the Bauhaus Foundation Dessau) in an interview about a state providing infrastructure while citizens operate it in the context of shrinking towns in rural Germany (Machowecz, 2013). Colonising existing allotment gardens and fallow land happens as following (see fig. 67): (1) Existing plots are made wider (18 metres). The height is variable but the area of the plot should be at least 380 m2 to avoid low land to housing ratios. (2) The road layout is changed from running along the narrow side of the plots to one that runs along its long side. This is necessary, because the plots should be able to increase their size by merging other plots without loosing access to the road network. (3) A road crossing the horizontal paths is introduced every 260 metres. (4) The huts should be light-weight structures that can be dismantled and moved easily in

order to adapt the plot to future development. The general layout of the urban colony is arranged by rail tracks and a crop wall, directing future development along two axes (see fig. 68): (5) The rail based transport infrastructure replaces road and pushcart for bringing resources, machines, and produce to and from the plots to collective facilities. Rail tracks have several ecological, economic, and spatial advantages over roads and wheeled carts: (a) From an ecological point of view, the rail track doesn’t seal the soil, therefore it keeps rain infiltrating the soil and vegetation growing between the tracks, while the tipper moving on the rail doesn’t compact soil like a wheeled cart would. (b) It is easier to push a tipper moving on rail tracks than a wheeled cart, because it glides along the tracks. Rails also make future automation easier to implement, because self-driving vehicles need fixed tracks to operate efficiently and it is easier for people to figure out the route of a self-driving vehicle, when there are visual tracks, thus makes operation safer. (6) The crop wall (similar to the one Migge proposed) is erected along the horizontal road. While the location of the hut on its plot is flexible, it is most favourable in terms of construction costs and shading to situate the hut of the northern plots at the wall. Each wall has openings in it where people and tippers can enter. This entry is kept open during the development of the hut and the plot. (7) Water mains and electricity lines are placed along the rail network, where the gardeners can connect their water pipes and devices to it. (8) The system is repeated horizontally and vertically (see fig. 69). The tipper run in alternating one-ways from south to north, respectively from north to south. Horizontal roads provide links to change the direction a tipper goes. (9) Development strips are framed by two vertical roads and extend southwards and northwards of the crop wall. (10) Development takes place by merging plots within the development strips. Each strip has two rows, thus development could bypass smaller allotment gardens until the contract of the lease expires. Leases for allotment gardens are short-time leases while leases for garden colonies are long time leases to secure investments. Each development strip has two vertical roads, thus occupying the width of one strip provides access to a north-south and a south-north running tipper. Occupying one strip completely increases the speed of shipment because stops are decreased (see also fig. 70). (11) Loading and unloading goods from the tipper can



Spatial tactics


result in congestions. However, it’s non-continuous and fluctuating character during the day and the week (more on weekends), the amount of vertical links, and the possibility of rerouting tippers to other vertical lines when it crosses a horizontal link are likely to result in a small traffic volume. (12) The more plots merge, the more manifold forms of cultivation can occupy the plot: vegetable patches, wall fruits, hot beds, greenhouses, orchards, rooftop acres, and even barns for raising small livestock (see fig. 70). (13) The development of the hut into a colony house takes place on both sides of the walls, where like Migge proposed it for his Fruchtlandschaft, spaces of production and dwelling are introduced successively. (14) Huts become important parts in the metabolism of the garden colony when they developing into colony houses and start to breed seedlings in greenhouses to send them to other plots and the experienced gardener supports other less experienced gardeners. The urban garden colony is faced by communal infrastructure at its northern and southern part (see fig. 71): (15) workshops in the northern parts process crops coming from the south into value-added products like jam, sauces, and pickled crops. (16) Surplus is sold at a public market and via direct shipping or stored for later processing. (17) Spoiled food and garden waste is shipped towards the south, where a composting facility processes it to compost or is brought to a biogas plant in the northwest of Berlin (see section 3.3.7 Urban waste mining, p. 108). The compost is reintroduced to the gardens by shipping them northwards or sold at the market.


Fig. 69:  The basic system is repeated horizontally and vertically. Fig. 70:  Allotment gardens and huts develop into garden colonies by displacing other allotment gardens.


Cultivating urbanism


Spatial tactics


Many of the observed allotment gardens in Berlin are fragmented by roads, rivers, railways, or other built up areas like industrial sites (see fig. 72). The fragmented character is an obstacle in providing allotment gardens with a collective infrastructure. However, many allotment gardens are also adjacent to fallow land (see fig. 73 and 74), which could be used to bridge gaps between the fragmented allotment gardens by superimposing the infrastructure of a new urban garden colony on it (see fig. 76). Consequently, existing allotment gardens that have a potential to become connected on a local scale are grouped to spatial units (see fig. 74), where the layout of the fragmented plots should be progressively developed into an interconnected landscape. The infrastructure penetrates the existing allotment gardens in order to connect them with the collective infrastructure of the colony. The benefits the existing allotment gardeners experience should stimulate a stepwise reorganisation of the existing allotment gardens into colonies. Allotment gardening takes place on the soil of the plot, thus the plot’s soil needs to be unpolluted and the sedimentation of new pollutants into the soil should be prevented in order to grow safe food.14 Karls Garten for example is an urban garden that is situated at the Kunsthalle Wien and flanked on both sides by main roads with heavy traffic. The only barrier between the polluting traffic and the grown plants are hedges which are planted to fix air-borne pollutants. A study by a master’s thesis at the BOKU Vienna (see Hargarter, 2015) concluded that all harmful pollutants were found below critical values in plants grown in boxed, raised beds at Karls Garten. Thus urban pollution can be mitigated by barriers, but their effectiveness on protecting plants cultivated on ground (opposed to cultivation in boxes above ground) has to be further investigated. Until then it is more safe to avoid places with large traffic volumes for growing food. This is why allotment garden colonies which are impacted by high pollution are removed from the dataset (see figures 75 and 77). 14. Heavy industry and the use of lead in gasoline (now banned) polluted many urban soils. The pollutants can be taken in by plants, thus enter the human body when eaten. Consequently, many contemporary urban gardens use boxed beds with a unpolluted growth material for growing food. This, the ban of lead, and a disappearing heavy industry in European urban areas decreased the impact of urban pollution on grown 71


crops significantly (Hargarter, 2015).

Cultivating urbanism

Fig. 71:  The layout of an urban garden colony consists of development strips, a railway network, crop walls, a composting facility in the south and workshops, storage, and a public market in the north. The railway network and the crop walls layout the colony, frame internal development, and guide future extentions (see fig. 76). Fig. 72:  Obstacles in transforming allotment gardens into urban garden colonies. A–C: Examples of fragmentation of allotment gardens by rivers, railway lines, and roads. D: Low land to housing ratio makes growing food less efficient. Images composed with data from Google Earth. Fig. 73:  Fallow land is integrated into spatial units to develop fragmented allotment gardens into a continuous landscape. Map composed with data from SVSU (2015a), SVSU (2010), OSM (2015a), and Google Earth.



Spatial tactics


Fig. 74:  Fragmented allotment gardens are grouped into spatial units as a basis for a long-term development of the gardens into more continous landscapes. Map composed with data from SVSU (2015a), SVSU (2010), and OSM (2015a). Fig. 75:  Heavy polluted allotment gardens are removed from the set, due to the uncertainty about the effectiveness of airborne pollutants blocking strategies at the allotments. Map composed with data from SVSU (2015a), SVSU (2009c), SVSU (2010), and OSM (2015a).



3.4.3.  Urban dimension of urban garden colonies


Fig. 76:  The ideal layout of an urban garden colony is superimposed on and adapted to the context of a spatial unit in south-east Berlin. The site consists of existing allotment gardens and fallow land. It is also flanked by a public railway line on its eastern side. Image composed with data from Google Earth. Fig. 77:  Final territory of urban garden colonies in Berlin. Some of the colonies can be connected regionally by integrating them into the public railway network. Map composed with data from SVSU (2015a), SVSU (2009c), SVSU (2010), and OSM (2015a).


Cultivating urbanism

Depending on the size of the urban garden colony and the available size for a composting facility, the facility could also process garden waste from other urban places like parks and individual gardens. Consequently, the colony would become an important part in managing urban garden waste. The shown layout for an urban garden colony (see fig. 76) covers roughly 110 hectare (100 hectare garden area without existing allotment gardens). Biointensive and market garden techniques achieve average yields of 10 tonnes of vegetables per hectare (Bomford, 2010). Therefore the shown layout would yield about 1,000 tonnes of vegetables annually. The total area of all urban garden colonies (spatial units) in Berlin is about 5,680 ha (see fig. 77), where the total yield would be 56,800 tonnes annually. This would cover roughly 40% of the annual vegetable demand in Berlin. The estimation is based on yields for outdoor, and on-ground farming only, but because the colonies also cultivate the land in more intensive forms (trellis, greenhouses) the real yield is likely to be larger than the estimated one (greenhouse cultivation achieves a tenfold higher yield than open-air cultivation of some crops). Advanced mechanisation and more technologically advanced techniques like soil-less growing (hydroponic) would further increase the yield (60 times for salad compared to open-air cultivation). However, the colonies should not focus on maximizing productivity, but different forms of cultivation should evolve during the development of urban garden colonies, which are adapted to the need and preferences of the gardeners. A closeness of like-minded people, available communal infrastructure, and knowledge sharing among gardeners could ultimately result in developing new breeds. Breeds which reflect the taste of Berliners. Consequently, diversity and quality should be the guiding rules, not profit and quantity. Food available to urbanites would become more diverse, thus opposing developments of the last decades which fostered a drop in diversity of fresh food in urban markets.


3.5.  Urban mushroom farming Mushroom farming happens mostly in large black boxes, which provide a damp and dark environment suitable for growing mushrooms. Mushrooms are of high value, highly nutritious, spoil quickly, and are prone to damage during transport. The conventional process in mushroom farming includes four steps (Beyer, 2003; see fig. 78): (1) Produce the substrate for growing mushrooms, (2) a spawning phase where the spawns of the mushrooms are cultivated, (3) a casing of 15 to 21 days, and (4) the harvest, what is called a flush. Each case can be flushed up to three times. However, the yield decreases after the second flush. The yield depends on the species: the commonly used Agaricus mushroom (champignon) yields between 145 and 468 kg/m2 annually (Beyer, 2003). 3.5.1.  Existing urban mushroom farming

However, intra-urban mushroom farms like Hut and Stiel from Vienna can mine urban resources useful for mushroom production: coffee waste.15 They mine the coffee waste from coffee houses, restaurants, and office towers — places with a high consumption of coffee per week and collect the coffee in a separate bin, what is usually 15. Other materials like straw (Brooklyn Grange, 2015) or conditioned soil can be used as well for growing mushrooms.

the case with commercial coffee machines. It is common to sell the mushrooms directly to kitchens of the mines. Consequently the best spots for mushroom farms are affordable dark and damp spaces (Urban Design Lab, 2012) like under-utilised basements (see fig. 79 and 80), which are surrounded by a high density of coffee waste producing and mushrooms processing places. The needed infrastructure is also very minimal (see fig. 82): It consists of (1) bags filled with a growing medium like coffee waste, which are (2) mounted on a framework. (3) A humidifier creates a mushroom-friendly environment and (4) a processing area with tables, crate, and bins is needed to prepare the growth medium and to process mushrooms for shipment. Hut and Stiel harvests 120 kg of oyster mushrooms in a space with 200 m2 of ground floor annually (Seitaridis, 2016). According from an interview with Florian from Hut and Stiel 1.5 to 2 kg of mushrooms can be grown from 10 kg of coffee waste, what they collect from coffee houses in Vienna. Both, the collection of coffee waste and the shipping of mushrooms is done with a heavy duty bicycle. The yield of mushrooms depends greatly on the used breed (oyster are 0.6 kg per m2 and Agaricus mushrooms 145 kg per m2). This allows only rough estimations about how much area would be needed to cover Berlin’s demand in mushrooms and the amount of processed coffee waste (see the following equations). Specific data about what breeds are preferred by Berliners were not available, but it is most likely the Agaricus, because it is the most available and also the





Cultivating urbanism



most affordable breed in supermarkets. In Berlin, about 2,200 tonnes of mushrooms and 490,000 tonnes of coffee are consumed annually (see 2.4 Foodprints of Berlin, p. 44). r=

MCoffee M Mushrooms

= 5.00 → 6.66

MCoffee = 120kg × r = 600 → 800kg MOyster = AOyster =

MCoffee r

= 120 → 160kg

AFarm m2 = 1.25 → 1.66 MOyster kg





MCoffe waste Berlin = M Litre coffee × M Beans per litre = 31,800 t (3.12) MOyster max = Coverage =

MCoffe waste Berlin r MOyster max M deamnd

= 4,700 → 6,300

= 213 → 286%

Amax = MOyster max × AOyster = 590 → 1050 ha

t (3.13) year (3.14)


The availability of mushroom cultivation know-how — which is also shared on social media platforms (e.g. the mushroom learning network on Facebook) — the rather Fig. 78:  Conventional process in mushroom farming. Flowchart was composed with data from Beyer (2003). Fig. 79:  Oyster mushrooms are grown in plastic bags in a cellar in Vienna by Hut und Stiel. Image from Facebook channel of Hut und Stiel. Fig. 80:  The shitake mushroom growing space in the Biospheric Studio. Image from Lovell (2015). Fig. 81:  De Coffeecompany and Rotter-Zwam launched mushroom growing kits for private use (Rotter-Zwam, 2016; Walenberg, 2014). Not far away in the future, will the diy-mushroom in the cupboard join the obligatory Basil from the window sill on European homes? Fig. 82:  Minimal infrastructure is needed to start a mushroom farm: A cellar, coffee waste filled plastic bags mounted on a framework, humidifier and a table, bins, and crates to prepare the mushrooms for shipment.

Spatial tactics


low costs of founding, operating, and collecting urban resources for an urban mushroom farm and the high retail value, the high yield, and the fast spoiling makes it an ideal urban crop. This characteristics are likely to promote a quick spreading of new urban mushroom farms. Farms are likely to spring up like mushrooms in urban areas, close to mines of coffee waste and mushroom demanding businesses (see fig. 83). The coffee stamp can be composted after the harvest to be used for growing vegetables (Seitaridis, 2016), what results in mutual benefits for broader agricultural operations like it is done at the Biospheric Studio in Manchester, where vegetable, fish, and mushroom production are linked to minimise extrinsic water and nutrient input (Lovell, 2015). Whereby it becomes possible to create more closed production systems which are more independent from extrinsic resources, like the Biospheric Studio’s approach (Lovell, 2015). However, the feasibility of such closed systems should be questioned, because when the crops (fish, vegetables, and mushrooms) of those farms leave the system, where do the needed nutritions to breed new crops come from: solely from the sun? It is also questionable if the idea of closed systems creates more benefits for the society than a much broader approach to urban metabolism, where for example the farms capitalise on urban waste, thus become a recycling and a food producing element of contemporary agriculture.

Fig. 83:  A cluster map showing the potential territory for mushroom farms in Berlin. The darker the blue, the more coffee waste mines are within a radius of 500 m. The brighter the yellow, the more mushroom demanding spaces like restaurants are within a radius of 1000 m. Map composed with data from OSM (2015a).


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3.5.2.  Urban mushroom farms for Berlin

The current metabolism of urban mushroom farming is improved by proposing a public service infrastructure which would manage the mining for coffee waste and provide the resource to the mushroom farms (see fig. 84 and 85). A centralised organisation would make the mushroom production more efficient, because the producer could focus on production and exploring new breeding techniques. To improve the process of collecting the resource, the government could provide restaurants with special “coffee waste bins,” where only coffee waste is collected and which could be stacked until they get collected. When delivering the resource to the mushroom farms, the service would collect the old coffee waste and bring it either to composting facilities or directly to greenhouses. Then the compost could be applied to public parks or sold to greenhouses. A cluster map is created to find hotspots of coffee waste like coffee houses and mushroom demanding spaces like restaurants (see fig. 83). Then, the hotspots are outlined and superimposed by a set of buildings which are likely to have large, unused cellars like buildings with large building footprints and a low building population, buildings with storage space which is likely to decrease due to digitalisation (archives of schools and other public buildings), and a change in mobility (car sharing could decrease the need for parking lots; see fig. 87). Building footprints within or close to the outlined hotspots are further investigated by using satellite and bird’s eye images from Google Earth. Then a final set of buildings with high potentials for becoming urban mushroom farms is selected (see fig. 88). A total amount of 89 ha of potential mushroom farms were found in Berlin, enough to grow roughly 530 tonnes of oyster mushrooms and using 20% (100 tonnes) of Berlin’s coffee waste. One of the found buildings is the Kulturbrauerei, a former brewery in Prenzlauer Berg (see fig. 86). Currently it hosts a cinema and multipurpose spaces, mostly used for events. Assuming that the cellar has the same size as the building footprint, the Kulturbrauerei could grow between 24 and 5,800 tonnes of mushrooms per year, which could cover Berliners’ annual demand in mushrooms (2,257 tonnes).


Cultivating urbanism



Fig. 84:  Urban metabolism abstracted from found mushroom farm. Fig. 85:  Proposed urban metabolism of mushroom farming. A public infrastructue or cooperation which would mine urban coffee to provide it to mushroom farms, while composting the coffee waste from the mushroom farms in order to use it for urban parks or selling it to greenhouses. Mushroom farms could focus on growing mushrooms and experimenting with new breeds. Fig. 86:  The cellars of the Kulturbrauerei, a former brewery in Prenzlauer Berg have a high potential for mushroom farming. They could produce between 24 and 5,800 tonnes of mushrooms per year. Map composed with data from Google Earch.


Spatial tactics


Fig. 87:  Detail of the potential territory for mushroom farms in Berlin. The “plateaus� in the map highlight hot spots of coffee mines. Potential farms are buildings with under-utilised cellars. Additionally underground parking lots could be converted into mushroom farms if the need for intra-urban parking spaces decrease. Cellars of public buildings like schools and universities are also suitable and could become available if digitalisation decreases the needed space for archives. Map composed with data from OSM (2015a).

Fig. 88:  Detail shows selected building footprints with a total of 86 ha (Berlin: 89 ha) in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg, and Kreuzberg, where parts of their cellars could be used for mushroom farms. In Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf (the plateau in the lower left corner) are 43 ha of potential cellars, which would be enough to grow between 258 and 62,350 tonnes of mushrooms annually, assuming that each buildings’ cellar has the same size as its footprint. Berlin’s population demands 2,257 tonnes of a variety of mushrooms (efsa, 2011; ASBB, 2015). Map composed with data from OSM (2015a).

3.6.  Urban rooftop farming In the 1970s and 80s, urban agriculture was used as a social instrument for community building in an otherwise anonymous urban society of New York City. In the 1980s when people became more aware of food, community garden shifted from growing ornamental greens

to food crops. Farmer’s markets and CSA (community supported agriculture) increased in numbers. Within the last decade, the interest of urbanites in knowing where their food comes from, how it is produced, and the desire to experience or interact with nature (hands-onexperience) without leaving the city increased so much, that urban agriculture became a booming business in New York City (Kral, 2014; see fig. 89). Numerous commercial farms were established on unused rooftops and on fallow urban land (Urban Design Lab, 2012). Two distinct kinds of rooftop farms have emerged: the rooftop acre and the rooftop greenhouse. 3.6.1.  The rooftop acre

A rooftop acre is an acre which is superimposed on a building, utilising an under-utilised rooftop (see fig. 90). A rooftop is converted into an acre by adding protective layers, a growth medium layer, and farming infrastructure. The following parts are needed to setup a rooftop acre (GarrisonInstitute, 2011; Tyburski, 2014; Lawton, 2015; see fig. 91): (1) A rooftop strong enough to bear the extra load of soil and farm infrastructure, which exceeds 0.25 ha in size, and is between 10 and 23 metres above street level to prevent air-borne pollutants from infiltrating the soil of the rooftop acre. (2) A green roof system (see fig. 92) consisting of a root barrier, thick




Cultivating urbanism


felt, drainage plates, and a thin felt,16 (3) a layer of 150– 200 mm of loose soil mix that provides a good drainage (less water is fixed in the soil what decreases the total weight), where (4) the soil is compacted to form a path layout and (5) tilled to form acres oriented north-south or east-west, (6) a surrounding parapet high enough to block strong winds, which would scatter the soil, (7) a network of irrigation pipes, (8) access to water infrastructure or a grey- and storm water collection facility (e.g. Kafin, 2008), (9) a greenhouse to raise seedlings, (10) a composting facility to process plant and food waste into fertiliser, (11) a beehive for pollination, (12) a weather proof space to store tools, materials, shipping equipment, and to process the harvested crops (washing basin), and (13) an elevator large enough to provide the vertical link between the productive rooftop level and the distributing street level. (14) Some investigated farms also raise chicken to increase their income. The chicken are fed partly by plant and checked food waste. (15) Cross-financing was found to be also very common at the investigated farms: Spaces are provided to host social and sport events like wedding parties and yoga. Rooftop acres are impacted by urban environments: Higher temperatures within urban areas extend the growing season for rooftop farms. Brooklyn Grange for example farms throughout 9 months a year while the rooftop 16. Brooklyn








(GarrisonInstitute, 2011).

Fig. 89:  Existing urban agriculture in New York City, 2011. The map shows six rooftop farms, and numerous on-ground farms and community gardens. Image from Urban-Design-Lab (2012). Fig. 90:  The rooftop acre Flagship Farm is the second rooftop acre from Brooklyn Grange and the largest compared to its size (0.6 ha) and annual yield in New York City (Tyburski, 2014). It covers an unused roof of the Standard Motor Products building, a former furniture factory, erected in 1919, in Queens. The acre is situated at an altitude of 23 m above ground level (RXReality, 2016). Image composed with data from Google Earth. Fig. 91:  Identified infrastructure needed to set up a rooftop acre. Fig. 92:  Detail from the German company Optigreen (OptigrünSystemlösung “Gartendach”) which is used at the Flagship Farm (GarrisonInstitute, 2011). The drainage part retains rainwater and releases it to the upper soil when the soil looses moisture what minimises the need for irrigation and decreases the amount of rainwater entering the sewer during rain.


Spatial tactics


is covered with nitrogen-fixing cover crops like clover and oats during winter to increase the fertility of the soil and to prevent soil erosion (Brooklyn Grange, 2015). Rooftop acres can be described as a hybrid between a rural acre and a community garden, because they capitalise on two urban characteristics of their location: access to urban waste and adjacency to urbanites (see fig. 93). (1) Biodegradable urban waste is collected from nearby restaurants and private households (food waste) and from local tree services and carpentry shops (wood chips) to compost and apply it to the acre as a fertiliser (Brooklyn Grange, 2015). The soil used for constructing the acre can be mushroom compost mixed with lightweight porous stones, what provides possible links to other urban farming operations.17 (2) The intra-urban location encourages individuals and organisations to visit the acres for a “rural experience” (Creek, 2012), to get some hands-on education on urban farming, to take part in volunteer work on the farm


17. Brooklyn Grange source their soil from Skyland, a green roof media supplier from Pennsylvania. The soil (Rooflite) is a mixture of mushroom compost and lightweight porous stones (Brooklyn Grange, 2015).

Fig. 93:  Urban metabolism of a rooftop acre. Fig. 94:  Pastoral wedding motive on Brooklyn Grange’s Navy Yard farm. Image from Brooklyn-Grange (2015). Fig. 95:  Brooklyn Grange’s Navy Yard rooftop acre. Image from Brooklyn-Grange (2015).




Cultivating urbanism

(Eagle Street Farm, 2012), to host dinner banquettes, to practice yoga or to take wedding pictures (see fig. 94 and Brooklyn Grange, 2015). These secondary functions can become important contributions to a farm’s income and reputation. According to Eagle Street Farm (2012) their 550 m2 small Eagle Street Farm had 100 group visits from 2009 to 2011. One might wonder if this is a herald of the “Gartenmensch” (gardenite) that Leberecht Migge imagined in 1919.18 The soil layer of an rooftop acre cools the building beneath it. The soil also retains meteor water, thus slows down water input to the public sewer system. The retained water is taken up and evaporated by plants growing on the rooftop acre. Creek (2012) and Gago (2013) report that the evaporation of plants covering rooftops contributes to a micro-climate that can mitigate urban heat islands.19 Conventional approaches to urbanisation, seal water permeable areas with streets and buildings. Consequently, each hectare of urbanised land increases the volume of water entering the sewer system, resulting in high stress and sometimes in failures of sections, resulting in intra-urban flooding. Rainwater is mostly channelled into rivers or retention basins. However, channelling large quantities of rainwater within a short time span into rivers poses a serious risk of introducing flooding to areas downstream. Here, the water retention of rooftop acres could be used during storms when large amounts of water are entering sewer systems, assumed rooftop acres reach a significant size within an urban area.20 Rooftop acres would be part of an urban meteor water management system. To integrate such spaces in new developments would be a first step in a new form of urbanisation.

The way how rooftops are converted into acres shows the flexibility of the approach. Existing fittings like exhaust fans, staircases, and water towers are integrated or simply farmed around (see figures 90 and 95).

18. “Der Zukunftsmensch, der bodenkriegerische Zivilist, der rabiate Intensivist — der grüne Stadtmensch (Migge in Uhlig, 1981, p. 113).” 19. Urban heat islands are a physical phenomenon where an urban space is several degrees warmer than its surrounding area (New York City was 9 to 13°C hotter than its adjacent rural areas between 1997 and 1998). Major contributors to urban heat islands are dark surfaces like concrete, asphalt, and black roofs, the lack of evapotranspiration (water surfaces or vegetation), and with a minor impact tall buildings forming light reflecting “urban canyons” (DDC, 2007). 20. The storm water runoff volume is reduced by more than 65% compared to conventional rooftops (DDC, 2007).

Spatial tactics


3.6.2.  The rooftop greenhouse

Like rooftop acres, rooftop greenhouses are also constructed on under-utilised rooftops. In contrast to rooftop acres, rooftop greenhouses do not transform rooftops but encase them to create environments that diverge from the surrounding urban environment (see fig. 99). A rooftop greenhouse consists of a climate hull and the following high-tech farming infrastructure (Resh, 2013; Brechner, 2013; Brechner, 2013a; Jones, 2005; Rakocy, 2006; see fig. 96, 97, and 99): (1) A rooftop which exceeds 0.18 ha in size and is between 6 and 12 metres above street level. (2) A galvanised steel framework is fixed to the rooftop and (3) covered with heat-insulating and highly light-transmissive material

like PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate) or PC (polycarbonate) to from a climate hull. The climate hull creates a day and a night climate. Both differ in temperature and humidity, thus a humidifier is needed and the hull needs large openings at the top to remove hot air. (4) Large ventilators keep the air moving and simulate a light breeze to prevent moisture-based plant pests, (5) artificial lighting extends the growing season well into winter, (6) a breeding room where seedlings are raised, (7) a hydroponic growing system for the soil-less cultivation of crops,21 where the (8) seedlings are put into (9) net pots which in turn are mounted on (10) mounting sheets. These mounting sheets are fixed in (11) rearing tanks and keep the plants suspended in air, while their roots grow towards the growth medium (liquid or vapour) which is channelled through the rearing tanks. The temperature of the growth medium needs to be kept at 23.3 °C, what makes water heating and water cooling devices necessary. The rearing tanks are part of a (12) nutrient circuit, where the nutrient solution is reap21. The drip system is the most commonly used system for commercial operations, flood and drain system, nutrient film technique for short harvest crops like salads, aeroponics system where the nutrient solution is sprayed on the roots. The later is the most effective in terms of plant growth, but has also higher initial and maintenance costs. An aquaponic system can complement the hydroponic system in order to increase plant growth and to rear fish.




Cultivating urbanism


plied to the circuit many times and refreshed at a tank by adding nutrients (liquids or dry matter) coming from outside the system. The hydroponic system can be complemented by an (13) aquaponic growing system, where fish are raised in tanks for additional income and to enrich water with nutrients: Fish are fed with fish fodder. The fish create nitrogen and waste. The waste is dissolved by bacteria into solved nutrients which in turn are taken up by the plants reared in the hydroponic system. (14) Similar to rooftop acres, there has to be also a space to store materials, shipping equipment, and to process the harvested crops, but this space is much smaller, because fewer material and tools are needed for soil-less cultivation. Also the harvesting process is simplified to plucking the crop and removing the roots. (15) An elevator large enough for shipping goods. (16) Some investigated rooftop greenhouses harvest the demanded energy from photovoltaic collectors to cover the additional energy demand needed to maintain the controlled environment (see fig 97). The rooftop greenhouse’s focus on productivity fosters the use of new technologies and additional energy to cre-


Fig. 96:  The hydroponic growing system of Gotham Greens’ rooftop greenhouse at Whole Foods Market. Image from alarmy stock photo. Fig. 97:  Brooklyn Greens’ rooftop greenhouse is superimposed on a grocery store of the retailer Whole Worth Market in Brooklyn, New York City. Composition based on an image by Chris Cooper (2013). Fig. 98:  The factory-like metabolism of a rooftop greenhouse is more isolated in the urban metabolism than rooftop acres. Fig. 99:  Identified infrastructure needed to setup a rooftop acre.

Spatial tactics


ate environments optimised for a small range of crops. Greenhouses are separated and arranged sequentially to create different environments in order to increase the total variety of produced crops. The industrial and lab-like way of producing food resembles an image that could be best described as a “micro-climate factory” (see fig. 96). Rooftop greenhouses are like isolated islands within the urban metabolism and environment (see fig. 83). They create their own climate, while their solely contribution to the urban metabolism is the emission of hot air, when it becomes too hot in the greenhouse. The metabolism can become even more isolated, when aquaponic growing systems are used: According to Rakocy (2006) plants can get all of their needed nutrients from the fish’s wastewater, if hydroponic and aquaponic systems are balanced and grow faster from fish or bacteria digested nutrients, while the needed water input is decreased to below 2%. Consequently, fish fodder and power is sufficient to operate the greenhouse. Greenhouses are also no social spaces: the only social activity a rooftop greenhouse provides is a guided tour. However, the solid waste resulting in rearing fish can be used as fertiliser in soil-based farming. Fig. 100:  Gotham Greens’ rooftop greenhouse is superimposed on a Whole Foods Market shop in Brooklyn, New York City. Composed with data from Google Street View. Fig. 101:  A map showing the selected rooftop farms, their supplied customers, and the routes to them. Gotham Greens has the most customers. The average distance from a rooftop acre to its customers is 5.5 km and the furthest is 9.6 km. Gotham Greens’ average distance is 14 km and its max is 116 km to a customer to the north. Map composed with data from OSM (2015a), Gotham-Greens (2016), Eagle Street Rooftop Farm (2012), and Brooklyn Grange (2015).



Cultivating urbanism

3.6.3.  Rooftop acres and greenhouses have different roles in urban food supply systems

Gotham Greens operates three rooftop greenhouses, two of them are in New York City and one is in Chicago. According to Gotham Greens (2016) the company’s rooftop greenhouse on top of the Whole Foods Market in Brooklyn has a floor size of roughly 1,800 m2 and grows over 90 tonnes (200,000 lbs) of leafy greens, herbs and tomatoes annually, or 1.7 tonnes per week (50 kg per m2). This amount might not cover the stores turnover in vegetables, but it covers a large share of it. According to Brooklyn Grange (2015) they harvest on their two rooftop acres (1 ha) about 22.6 tonnes (50,000 lbs) annually or 0.4 tonnes per week (2.26 kg per m2). The large difference between the yields result from used ways of production (soil-based, non-climatised, and handwork vs soil-less, climatised, and industrialised) and from the variety of grown crops (large variety of fast and slow growing crops like legumes vs a small variety of fast growing crops like lettuce). The industrial approach to food production by Gotham Greens (large quantities of a small diversity of crops) reflects its large number of customers within New York City and New Jersey (see fig. 101). However, rooftop greenhouses are more expensive to construct and to operate than rooftop acres. The rather low initial investment costs of 56 USD per m2 and the high revenue of 27 to 40 USD per m2 and year enabled Brooklyn Grange to break even quickly (Creek, 2012; GarrisonInstitute, 2011). This can be one reason why rooftop greenhouses focus on cultivating fast growing, high value crops instead of a larger variety.


3.6.4.  Urban rooftop farms for Berlin

While most of the needed infrastructure rooftop acres and rooftop greenhouses rely on can be introduced to an existing building, the following are crucial to exist beforehand: (1) Buildings with a structure and a platform roof that can bear the extra load of 150 to 200 mm of soil and the water retained in the soil and the drainage system of rooftop acres. The faces of the roof should not be too oblique to prevent soil erosion. However, the soil-less growing technique used in rooftop greenhouses decreases the additional load dramatically, thus more rooftops become available for application. (2) The building should be tall enough to exposure the farm to the sun (reduce shadows from other buildings) and well above street level to protect the acre’s soil from pollutants like heavy metals.22 However, the higher the building, the more “alpine” the climate becomes, where stronger and colder winds make cultivating more difficult. Rooftop greenhouses are not affected by contamination of urban pollutants, because they can filter the air entering the greenhouse. However, the exposure of a greenhouse’s façade to wind can introduce high stress to its structure and the building its structure is fixed to. It was not possible to find any recommendations in the literature, but the investigated farms ranged from 10 to 23 metres for rooftop acres (see Eagle Street Farm and Flagship Farm) and from 6 and 12 metres for rooftop greenhouses (see Whole Worth Market in Brooklyn and at the Manhattan School for Children) above ground level. (3) Access to a quick vertical link, that connects the rooftop with the street level. However, neither Navy Yard nor Flagship Farm do have direct access to an elevator. Rather, employees need to use a stairway to reach the elevator one storey downstairs (see Tyburski, 2014). This makes shipping and bringing material to the acre cumbersome. Yet the vertical link is only crucial for shipping goods and bringing material to the rooftop farm, resulting in an uneven utilised capacity. Thus erecting a full-scale elevator solely for a rooftop acre would not be feasible. However a small, fenced freight elevator de-


Fig. 102:  Proposed simple freight elevator. 22. Heavy metals are introduced by automotive combustion into urban areas. They are denser than air, thus accumulate on street level, but can reach higher levels in small quantities, when strong wind pushes them up.


Cultivating urbanism

Fig. 103:  Rooftops larger than Brooklyn Grange’s Navy Yard rooftop acre. The detail shows 70 km2 of potential sites in NYC and New Jersey. 5,000 sites are larger than Flagship farm (1 hectare) and 100 sites larger than 10 hectare. However, a further evaluation would decrease the number.


signed to carry only crates of produce and operated with a cable winch is likely to proof economically feasible and would reflect the temporary character of the vertical link on street level (see fig. 102). Ben Flanner, one of the founders of Eagle Street Farm and Brooklyn Grange pointed out that landlords are becoming interested in upgrading their rooftops into rooftop farms, because rooftop farms create additional income from otherwise non-profitable rooftops (Kral, 2014).23 The Urban Design Lab from Columbia University published a study in 2012 to discuss the potential for urban agriculture in New York City. The study estimated a total area of 19.85 km2 of potential rooftop farming sites in New York City in 2012 (Urban Design Lab, 2012). Evaluating potential sites by footprint only yields a total size of more than 70 km2 in a section of New York City and New Jersey. The sites do cluster at industrial sites (see fig. 103). Rooftop acres can be used as an urban tactic to improve an urban climate by creating numerous microclimates, slow down rainwater input to sewers, exploit urban waste streams as a resource for keeping its soil fertile, providing hands-on experience to urbanites, while its construction and maintenance proofs to be cost-effective compared to its returns. The possibility of using a lightweight mushroom compost for the soil of the acre promises to become a good link to other urban farming operations. This and the broad variety of produced crops compensate the low yield. However, the introduced weight by the acre limits its application. On the other hand, rooftop greenhouses might achieve higher yields, but are also ecological islands which do not contribute to urban environments, nor do they utilise the urban waste stream (when paired with aquaponics), or are places of social interactions. Also the high initial costs and maintenance could be an obstacle for introducing them on a larger scale. However, its high yield and lightweight construction makes it a good choice for rooftops not capable of bearing the load of a rooftop acre. While the rooftop greenhouse is a metabolic urban island, the solid waste it produces could be used as a resource for rooftop

acres and other cultivating operations. A cluster map is created to find hotspots of food waste like restaurants and households, where the latter are down-weighted to reflect their lower importance24 in the mining operation (see fig. 104). Next, a set of building footprints is created where the elevation of the rooftop is within 6 and 23 metres above street level to comply with the above mentioned guideline to prevent a pollution of food. Then an algorithm is run which compares the building height of adjacent buildings and dissolves the building footprints if the difference is lower than 1 metre. Rooftops larger than 1/4 ha and with an altitude between 6 and 10 metre are classified as potential rooftop greenhouses, while rooftops larger than 1 ha and with an altitude between 12 and 23 metres are classified as potential rooftop acres (see fig. 105). Then rough estimations are made to evaluate how much food could be produced at the found rooftop farms (see fig. 106 and the following equations): 18,000 potential sites which match the criteria of size and height for rooftop acres (12,300 ha) and 4,700 for rooftop greenhouses (2,000 ha) were found within Berlin, what represents a potential total yield of roughly 1,270,000 tonnes, enough to cover the annual demand in 220,000 tonnes of vegetables and potatoes in Berlin.

23. According to the founder Ben Flanner (GarrisonInstitute, 2011), the

Fig. 104:  A cluster map showing the potential territory for rooftop farms in Berlin. The darker the green, the more food waste mines are within a radius of 500 m. The brighter the yellow, the more food demanding spaces like restaurants and supermarkets are within a radius of 5 km. Map composed with data from OSM (2015a).

Flagship Farm generated an annual revenue of 27 to 40 USD per m2 in 2011, while it’s initial startup costs were 56 USD per m2. There are 100 to 1000 rooftops which meet the criteria for hosting a rooftop acre in Brooklyn (Creek, 2012).


Cultivating urbanism

M Prod = AAcres ×Y Acres + AGreenhouses ×YGreenhouses M Prod = 12,300ha × 2.26 × 10


t t + 2,000ha × 50 × 10 ha ha

M Prod = 1,270,000 t Coverage =

1,270,000 t = 577% 220,000 t


24. A low amount of food waste compared to the amount of effort needed to collect it.


Fig. 105:  The potential territory is superimposed with rooftops matching the criteria of size and height defined above. Based on the found food waste and food demanding spaces (cluster map) an ideal territory to operate rooftops in is outlined (territory of operation). Only few rooftops were found within this territory, therefore an infrastructure supplying the rooftop farms with nutritients from mined food waste becomes necessary (see next section). Map composed with data from OSM (2015a).

Fig. 106:  A detail of the potential territory for rooftop farms in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf. The “plateaus” in the map highlight hot spots of foodwaste mines. 981 potential sites for acres (680 ha) and 526 for greenhouses (230 ha) within the detail. This represents a potential yield of 130,000 tonnes of produce, what would cover 60% of Berlin’s annual demand in vegetables (220,000 tonnes). Map composed with data from OSM (2015a).

3.7.  Urban waste mining Utilising urban waste as a resource for food production was a common theme in the previous tactics. Existing intra-urban agricultural processes already mined urban waste like the rooftop farms in New York City and the mushroom farms in Vienna and Rotterdam. Sometimes the mining could be combined with shipping produce to customers, but generally speaking, collecting waste and processing it into resources useful for food production is beyond the capacity of individual urban farms. Rather, a public agency like public cleansing service should take over this part of the metabolism, because Berlin’s public cleansing service (BSR) already has an infrastructure of collecting waste and processing it. The urban waste mining tactic proposes a possible way how this service could become a cardinal point in an urban metabolism consisting of the tactics discussed earlier. 3.7.1.  Existing approaches

The municipality of Vienna combines a biomass plant, a biogas plant, and a large composting facility to transform (1) food waste from households, kitchens, and supermarkets into biogas (Biogas Wien plant), (2) wood waste from parks and forests into heat and electricity (three plants since 2003), and (3) garden waste from parks, forests, and private gardens and allotments into high quality compost (Kompostwerk Lobau, since 1991; see figures 108–110). The produced compost is applied on acres, parks, and gardens. By utilising urban waste as a resource, the metabolism of Vienna becomes more cyclic (see fig. 107). According to Stadt Wien, 2013, the city of Vienna collected 100,000 tonnes of biogenic waste from gardens, parks, and local tree services and processed it to 50,000 tonnes of high quality compost25 in 2013. 6,000 tonnes were given to the people of Vienna and allotment gardeners for free,26 20,000 tonnes were sold to the company terrasan Erdenwerk as a raw material for their garden moulds, and the major part was used for Vienna’s parks (Wiener Stadtgräten) and the 10 25. The high quality compost (A+) is suitable for organic agriculture. 26. Up to 1 m3 per person. Larger quantities could be delivered to allotment gardens and private gardens by paying a service charge.


Cultivating urbanism


Fig. 107:  The municipality of Vienna mines urban waste and turns it into heat, energy, and compost. Black symbols belong to the municipality of Vienna. Assuming that urban biogas production exceeds the local demand, then Vienna could position itself as a biogas supplying industry for its neighbouring towns (see top process). Fig. 108:  Territory of the Kompostwerk Lobau facility in Vienna. Private garden waste is collected at Mistplätze (waste collection places) and brought to the composting facility in Lobau. Public garden waste is brought directly to the facility. After composting, the compost is bagged and brought from the facility to the Mistplätze where people can pick it up or are brought directly to private or allotment gardens, public gardens, public farms, and sold to terrasan. Composed with data from MA21 (2016), MA48 (2016), MA18 (2016), and OSM (2015a). Fig. 109:  The urban composting facility Kompostwerk Lobau, which is operated by the municipality of Vienna. Image composed with description from Stadt-Wien (2013) and data from Google Earth.



Spatial tactics


km2 large public agriculture of Vienna (vested in MA 49), one of the largest organic farmers in Austria (see fig. 108). The Kompostwerk Lobau is next to the OMV Zentraltanklager in Lobau, opposite to Vienna’s district Simmering. It consists of a (1) 5.2 hectare large waterproof concrete surface (Rottefläche) with a (2) mediumsized processing machine and a couple of (3) trucks that arrange the (4) matter (Kompostrohfraktion) in rows (Zeilenmieten), turn, and water it (see fig. 110). A similar waste metabolism exists in Berlin: A biomass heating plant in Rudow, Gropiusstadt generates energy and heat from wood waste and a biogas plant (see fig. 111) operated by the public cleansing service BSR (Berliner Stassenreinigungsbetriebe) in Spandau, generates biogas, liquid fertiliser, and solid compost from food waste collected by BSR (SVSU, 2016). BSR collects private organic waste in “Biogut” containers for producing biogas. The collected waste is fermented in the BSR Biogasanlage and the residual solid matter is processed to compost at rotting areas in the hinterland of Berlin and sold to gardens and farms. The residual liquid fertiliser is sold directly at the plant (BSR, 2016, see fig. 112–113). Green waste is collected at recycling stations, where grass and leaves have to be brought in plastic bags (BSR-Laubsäcke) to the recycling stations or can be collected in exchange for a fee of 44 € / m3 at the plot, while wood can be brought in containers (BSR, 2016). A report commissioned by the Senatsumwelverwaltung in 2009 concluded that there were 134,000 tonnes of urban garden waste from public operations, 85,000 tonnes from private households collected by BSR, and 92,000 tonnes of garden waste from allotment and private gardens which were treated on site individually (3/4 of all organic waste was within the municipal authority). The waste from public operations and collected by BSR were composted on sites in Berlin’s hinterland. The report found a high potential for mining food and garden waste for biogas, energy, and compost, thus recommended the construction of publicly operated biogas plants, where the BSR Biogasanlage, completed in 2013, was to become the first (see fig. 111). The report also stressed that additional 400,000 tonnes of biogenic waste were treated as residual waste, thus landed on landfills (ICU, 2009 and SVSU, 2016; see fig. 115). Over time public promotion could decrease the amount of biogenic waste in residual waste, thus decrease the growth of landfills and increase the amount of needed



Cultivating urbanism

biogas plants and their output in biogas, electricity, and compost, thus Berlin produces more resources.27 Similar to Vienna, food waste is transformed into biogas, but where and how garden waste resulting from public operations and collected by BSR is processed to compost could not be determined. However, compared to Vienna, the private composting facilities were small, not integrated in a waste collecting process, and the layout of the spaces indicated a rather suboptimal process (see fig. 114). Also the high fees for collecting garden waste, the cumbersome transport of garden waste in bags and containers to the recycling stations of BSR corresponds with a high share of on-site treatment in allotment and private gardens and are likely to promote illegal waste dumping on public sites like parks and forests. By giving compost to its residents, Vienna found a good way to promote collecting organic waste, because people get a concrete benefit from participating in the process and in promoting collecting organic waste themselves. A central composting facility operated by Berlin could not be found, but Vienna’s composting facility in Lobau can be used as the basis for calculations: Berlin had twice as much public green and forest area than Vienna, where a majority of garden waste is produced within public 27. The BSR Biogasanlage processes 60,000 tonnes of biogenous waste an112

nually (BSR, 2016). 111

113 Fig. 110:  BSR’s biogas plant in Berlin Spandau. Image composed with description from BSR (2016) and data from Google Earth. Fig. 111:  Identified infrastructure needed to operate an urban composting facility. Drawing abstracted from the composting facility in Lobau, Vienna. Fig. 112:  Identified infrastructure needed to operate an urban biogas plant. Drawing abstracted from BSR’s biogas plant in Berlin Spandau. Fig. 113:  Urban metabolism of waste collected with the BSR Biogut and Laubsäcke. Image from BSR (2016).

Spatial tactics



organisations (134,000 of 219,000 tonnes). The facility in Lobau processes 100,000 tonnes of garden waste into roughly 50,000 tonnes of compost annually, consequently Berlin could process most of its garden waste with two plants like the one in Lobau. To minimise transport the plants should be spread within the city, next to garden waste hotspots.

Fig. 114:  Comparison of BSR’s biogas plant (A) and Vienna’s composting facilitiy (B) with private composting facilities in Berlin. Images composed with data from Google Earth. Fig. 115:  Current territory of Berlin’s biogenic waste stream. The residual waste shipped to the landfills is likely to decrease in future. Map composed with data from ASBB (2014), SVSU (2014b), OSM (2015a), SVSU (2010), and BSR (2016).


Cultivating urbanism


3.7.2.  A public service infrastructure for mining waste in Berlin

The proposed urban metabolism capitalises the existing waste stream and public infrastructure to mine for resources usable for intra-urban food production, where a public infrastructure is located at the centre of it (see fig. 116): (1) Composting sites should be designed like the one in Vienna to streamline the process in order to keep efforts minimal. The sites should be integrated at urban garden colonies, thus distributed within the city to keep transport distances between waste mines and compost demanding spaces short. This also has the advantage of making the process more publicly visible, thus accessible for schools and interested urbanites. The integration of the site in urban garden colonies also gives the opportunity to train gardeners to operate the plant in order to outsource employment costs to volunteers by for example lowering the leasing fee for the property in return. Composting is a simple process, however experts should supervise it to avoid the development of foul odours during composting what results from keeping the matter too humid. (2) Coffee waste should be collected at restaurants and coffee houses in separate bins instead of a general Biogut container — setups with commercial coffee machines already have an extra bin to collect coffee waste. The public service collects the bins regularly and delivers them to mushroom farms. There, used coffee waste is collected and brought to the composting facility where the waste is composted. The public service and the mushroom farms should partner with restaurants and coffee houses next to mushroom farms and increase mining, when more coffee waste is demanded. This saves unnecessary separation of coffee waste that would exceed the demand, thus would need to return to the composting facility anyway. Minor excess of coffee waste should be brought to the composting site together with the used coffee waste. (3) A part of the liquid fertiliser which is produced in the biogas plant should be brought to rooftop greenhouses where an aquaponic production system (fish tanks) could not be introduced due to weight constraints of certain rooftops — the demand of liquid fertiliser by aquaponic rooftop greenhouses is rather small, thus negligible. Green waste from rooftop greenhouses should be collected and brought to composting sites.



Cultivating urbanism

(4) The produced compost is delivered regularly to rooftop acres, parks, and applied to gardens at the garden colonies, but also sold at garden colonies’ markets for collection by individuals. As a consequence, the composting site on the rooftop acre can be reduced to a size needed for processing the farm’s own green waste, while collecting kitchen and coffee waste is omitted in order to focus on farming operations at rooftop farms, mushroom farms, and urban garden colonies.

117 Fig. 116:  Proposed urban metabolism for Berlin. Public food waste managing facilities are cardinal points in the metabolism, collecting food waste (restaurants, supermarkets, consumer) and waste from food production (mushroom farming, rooftop farming, garden colony) and general garden waste. There urban waste is processed to valuable resources for intra-urban food production. Fig. 117:  The urban garden colony tactic, developed in a previous section becomes a cardinal point in the urban waste mining process by equipping it with a public composting facility similar to the one found in Vienna.

Spatial tactics


Fig. 118:  Three urban colonies and the existing biogas plant in Berlin Spandau become the cardinal points in the public waste mining process. Two different waste streams are deployed: foodwaste is mined for creating natural gas and liquid fertiliser in the biogas plant and garden, coffee, and farming waste is collected at mushroom farms, rooftop farms, parks, allotment gardens, and urban garden colonies which are too small to implement local composting plants to process it to compost. The compost is reintroduced into the urban metabolism by shipping it to the farms and gardens and by selling it on-site.

Fig. 119:  All territories of the proposed tactics are combined in a landscape system. The public resource mining infrastructure is the linking part between the different tactics, the spaces of the tactics, but also between cultivating urbanism and the urban metabolism of Berlin.


The thesis described urbanisation and cultivation of land as two interrelated forms of land use. Human agglomerations are at the base of cultivating land: they demand resources from it, they work it, and they connect the link between cultivated land and human agglomerations. Land needs to be urbanised in order to become cultivated. Consequently, the thesis agrees with the claim that all forms of cultivated land are to some degree urban, a claim which was expressed by Henri Lefebvre (1970), Neil Brenner and Christian Schmid (Brenner, 2014g) and discussed in the thesis. Both forms of land use, cultivation and urbanisation, are ongoing processes that expand and concentrate in space. Current forms of urbanisation displaced cultivated land in favour for global hinterlands, thus increased the distance between urbanised and cultived land, whereby a gap was created. This gap caused manifold disadvantages for both forms of land use. In the thesis a new approach to urbanisation and cultivation of land has been developed: Food producing spaces are located in reach of food demanding spaces. This proximity fosters the interaction between producers and consumers and decreases the dependency on transport infrastructure. This entanglement of human agglomerations and agricultural landscapes can be defined as Cultivating urbanism. The strategy of cultivating urbanism is a data driven approach to urban planning and is based on three variables: available space, density of human agglomeration, and culture. The case study of Cultivating urbanism in Berlin gives insights about how effective the adaption of such a data driven approach to existing cities is. The proposed adaption of the strategy to Berlin with spatial tactics proved to be a straightforward approach, thus it can be

concluded that cultivating urbanism could be adapted to other human agglomerations as well and may be used in future projects. However, a data based approach has also its limitations: the first two variables, available space and density of human agglomerations, differ in their dynamic. People’s migration increases and decreases the density within human agglomerations.



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Urbanisation and cultivation of land are two interrelated forms of land use. As cities grow and the number of people living within it, their demand for ressources increases too. This fosters the development of global hinterlands as the distances between where the food is produced and where it is consumed become larger. Current forms of urbanisation displace local hinterlands in favour for global hinterlands. This master’s thesis proposes an urbanism that tries to overcome this opposition by making cultivation a local feature of urbanisation. Food production spaces are located in reach of food demanding spaces to foster the interaction between producers and consumers. This entanglement of human agglomerations and agricultural landscapes is termed as Cultivating urbanism.

Cultivating Urbanism. A spatial strategy for making the cultivation of land a local feature of urban  

Current forms of urbanisation displace local hinterlands in favour for global hinterlands. This master’s thesis proposes an urbanism that tr...

Cultivating Urbanism. A spatial strategy for making the cultivation of land a local feature of urban  

Current forms of urbanisation displace local hinterlands in favour for global hinterlands. This master’s thesis proposes an urbanism that tr...