The “Apfelsinenplatz” owes its name to the bright orange tone in which the district center of the Evangelical Church District in Gropiusstadt is colored. However, what is planned here in the future has little to do with rotten fruit: on Thursday, the state-owned housing company Degewo, together with the Berlin Mondiale culture network, started a cooperation with a neighborhood festival that is intended to bring more art and culture to the district around Wutzkyallee .
Degewo is the owner of more than 5,000 apartments here – and therefore feels committed to the neighborhood. The initiators, including the Neukölln city councilor for construction Jochen Biedermann (Greens), call what is planned here urban practice: a form of neighborhood development that is intended to network the neighborhood through art and culture – and above all to ensure this that people identify more strongly with their neighbourhood.
Screen printing workshops for children and young people, public dance performances, neighborhood festivals and much more are planned. “All of this is only possible because Degewo, as the owner, is interested in the sustainable development of the neighborhood and does not just sell the houses to the next hedge fund in three years’ time,” affirmed City Councilor Biedermann.
Sabine Kroner from Berlin Mondiale speaks of a cooperation that benefits everyone: artists who are looking for spaces for their ideas, neighbors who finally want to talk again after the loneliness of the pandemic, and last but not least, Degewo.
Everyone involved is certain that if people identified more closely with the neighborhood, they would treat it with more care. It is also important to improve the living conditions in a neighborhood that is characterized by many precarious living conditions.
Other projects are to follow in the future: one will soon start in Marzahn on the so-called “place without a name” near Max-Herrmann-Strasse, where Degewo currently has its largest construction project.