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Old Posted Nov 9, 2006, 4:31 PM
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The Berlin Cityscape – an analysis : Nature in the city

The main reason for environmental planning and the development of open space is to improve the quality of life in a city. Nature, of course, plays an important role here, and the needs of its various manifestations must be considered when planning the Berlin cityscape. Nature in its diversity must be protected and developed, as must characteristic plants and animals. This applies as much to the remains of the original natural landscape, meadows and fields as it does to gardens and wasteland as a natural form specific to towns and cities.

Remains of the original natural landscape: forests, moors and wetlands – the first form of nature
Human influence can alter this form of nature considerably, and it is therefore generally protected by nature or landscape conservation laws. Its natural state should be preserved as far as possible (e.g. by irrigating moors such as the Teufelsmoor).

Vestiges of the cultural landscape: meadows, fields, pastures and heaths – the second form of nature
This type of land is mostly found on the outskirts of the city, together with the corresponding hedges, heaths and rural vegetation, with very little remaining in the city. It is still possible, however, to preserve the distinctive features of these cultural landscapes, reconstructing the traditional structures and promoting ecological forms of cultivation.

The horticultural landscape – the third form of nature
Ornamental squares, gardens, green sites in the residential areas, playgrounds, sports fields and parks dating from a wide range of eras in the city's development are typical elements of the cityscape. They are not found in anything like this diversity in rural areas. In contrast to the other categories, horticultural maintenance and support consciously preserve this form of nature. The quality of such green spaces as a habitat for wild flora and fauna differs greatly. The objective is to preserve the distinctive features and characteristics of the various sites while at the same integrating the requirements of nature wherever artistically possible.

Natural areas typical of technical locations in the city – the fourth form of nature
Nature will occupy places such as railway properties, industrial areas or rubble-strewn sites of its own accord. Like the first category, it is neither planted nor deliberately cultivated or maintained. Its manifestations range from short-lived plant communities to colourful meadows and proper city forests. The location-related conditions are completely different to those of the original natural landscape, resulting in a different type of vegetation, whose development is dependent upon landfills and excavations, groundwater drawdown, nutrient enrichment and the hot and dry city climate. It is optimally adjusted to its location, particularly multi-facetted and the most typical form of natural habitat to be found in the town or city. The importance for the cityscape of this fourth form of nature needs to be made clearer to the populace.
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