Placemaking and urban gardening: Himmelbeet case study in Berlin

Toni Karge (Institute of Urban and Regional Planning, Technische Universitat Berlin, Berlin, Germany)

Journal of Place Management and Development

ISSN: 1753-8335

Publication date: 4 June 2018



This paper aims to examine urban community gardens from the urban planning perspective. The paper analyses the Berlin case study Himmelbeet and its relation to the concept of critical placemaking (Toolis, 2017) and placemaking principles of Madden and Schwartz (1999).


The study is based on participatory action research. It examines one specific case study in Berlin where the author volunteered for several years. The set of placemaking principles is used as an ex-post analysis tool to evaluate how the community garden meets the criteria of placemaking.


The paper shows that the urban community garden can be considered as a placemaking scheme although it was not planned with placemaking instruments. The garden’s placemaking process shows strategies to challenge issues of exclusion, disinvestment and depoliticization of public spaces and thus exemplifies the possibilities of citizen-controlled placemaking processes.


The paper links placemaking with urban community gardens by assessing the placemaking principles and discussing the criteria of critical placemaking. The paper also contributes to a better understanding of urban community gardens in relation to current trends of austerity and urban inequalities.



Karge, T. (2018), "Placemaking and urban gardening: Himmelbeet case study in Berlin", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 208-222.

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