There’s only two days left until we leave Germany. Yesterday, we went to Margarethenhöhe, which is a village that was originally created for workers to live in, that was within close proximity to their workplace. The houses within the village evolved over time, as the architects learned from their own mistakes. A lot of the revisions were also due to the fact that times were changing and different requirements needed to be met. While this village consisted of free social housing for workers, these workers were not meant to get too comfortable with them, as they would get hired and fired quickly. After the village, we made our way to Grugapark, which is a botanical garden in Essen. Unlike the botanical parks in the United States and Berlin, Grugapark consisted of areas that people can relax and have fun in. There also weren’t a lot of signs that explained what each type of plant was, and there was a small railroad that went around the park.
Today we headed to Landschaftspark in Duisburg Nord. I was looking forward to coming here the entire time in Germany because this park is constantly brought up in case studies in class. I’ve also seen pictures from last year of the students who came and had a lot of fun in this park. Landschaftspark is a park that was created around an old industrial facility in a contaminated area. Normally, we would demolish buildings that are no longer in use, especially if the site is contaminated, and prevent people from going into the area until all contaminants have been remediated. However, they had a different approach to dealing with the site. They used plants to remediate the soil through phytoremediation, while the hotspots of heavy contamination were treated through other means. The park now includes touching the buildings as part of the experience of the site, because the workers back in the day went through the same thing. They also integrated some structures into play areas, one of which has rock climbing areas, while another has a slide. Another thing about the park is that the they are protecting the infrastructure that still exists. They want the park to slowly degrade as time goes on, so parts that fall off will not be replaced. This is an interesting way of memorializing a place that has historical significance, as we usually try to protect it from destruction and make repairs that mimic the original design.