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How a German cemetery becomes a park and community garden

Ground vegetable gardens managed by Prinzessinnengärten Kollektiv at the Neuer St Jacobi Friedhof cemetery, Berlin

Domus Web has an interesting article about how "the cemetery of Neuköln has become a natural oasis within the city where to experiment new ways of using green areas that have escaped cemetification** (sic)". The article is accompanied by a collection of photo images.

The change in cultural habits regarding burial (the cremation preferred to coffins), has led to the almost total abandonment of some cemeteries in Berlin.

Since last year, some of the activities of the Prinzessinnengärten, a project born as a temporary urban garden and one of the most debated pioneer projects of urban regeneration in Berlin, have been moved to the Neuer St. Jacobi Friedhof cemetery.

At present, the seven hectares of cemetery land only partially accommodate the original function, while other areas are used for educational and recreational activities of urban agriculture, organized by Prinzessinnengärten Kollektiv, which see the participation of a wide public and a varied social milieu, typical of the Neukölln neighborhood.

Neuer St. Jacobi Friedhof is a unique place where vegetables are grown on the ground and in wooden boxes, and where several activities for children and the neighbourhood take place in a space where burial areas alternate with wild natural areas that cannot be used for construction to ensure the protection of species of plants and animals.

** We don't think cemetification is a word in the English language, but it does sound interesting.

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