11 Things I Learned Spending a Year in Berlin Parks

During my first year in Berlin I spent a lot of time walking and biking past parks. Their presence was powerful for me and somehow reassuring. Observing nature, even in passing, breathing in the sense of trees and grass, helped me as winter set in and the city became quiet after the activity of summer.

A Silent Companion.

The parks, and especially the wild parks, were like a silent companion. Somehow the knowledge that they were there, that I could slip in for moments of quiet or connection if I needed it made me feel less alone. I didn’t have to enter, I could just pass by and that would be enough.

The Journey

In the summer of 2017 I decided to spend a year exploring the parks of Berlin. I would spend time inside each park and get to know and explore them. I had this idea to film every park in Berlin. Then I learned there were over 2,500 parks.

As a result, I decided to visit one park every week. I focused on variety and visiting all the districts of Berlin.

I wanted to record moments, realizing there was no way to capture the entirety of a place. 

The Moments

I prepared to enter the park open to listen, observe, and be inspired. My camera followed my curiosity – wind moving through the trees, children rolling down sand dunes, ducks defending their territory.

I sat down with friends and Berliners and stood with strangers as I asked them about what the parks mean to them, questions of history, community, the future, their dreams.

A Year of Listening

In this way it became a year of listening. I listened through my eyes, ears, skin, head and heart. And I collected these moments and thoughts and words and when I was inspired I wove together images, sounds and voices to create short impressions of a place or idea.
The resulting videos and article series are a window into what I heard and experienced.

I’ve found that parks in Berlin are places for connection, conversation, community, reflection, discovery, celebration, play, collective memory, political narratives.