Volkspark movement

Until the late 19th century, people visited municipal parks almost exclusively on fixed paths, as meadows and other open spaces were only meant for viewing. But in the early 20th century, a different approach caught on as public parks became places to enjoy sports and games. The Berlin authorities sought to create accessible green spaces and parks to provide recreation and exercise for hard-working citizens and their families. The city's World Heritage housing estates, two of which were laid out in the immediate vicinity of a Volkspark (“people’s park”), clearly embodied this ethic: Schillerpark, for example, became the name of both a housing estate and a park. By the same token, the Siemensstadt estate was laid out close to Volkspark Jungfernheide.

Two key planners of both estates played a prominent role as opinion leaders. In 1927, the landscape architect Ludwig Lesser published Volksparke heute und morgen (Volksparks today and tomorrow), a book that defined all the desirable elements of this type of public park. And in 1915, architect Martin Wagner wrote his dissertation on the "Sanitary Green of Cities". During his tenure as municipal building councillor, Wagner drew up a detailed "General Open Space Plan" in 1928 for the newly forged Greater Berlin. Berliners still deeply appreciate these public parks today. Among the better known Volksparks are Hasenheide, Wuhlheide and Rehberge. More recently, a park laid out on the grounds of former Tempelhof Airport, Tempelhof Field, also has the character of a Volkspark.