An Eco-Island in the Metropolis
Yesterday I paid a visit to ufaFabrik, a colorful artists village and cultural center in the heart of Berlin. I was warmly welcomed by the manager Fridolin Hinde who then was so kind to show me around. It feels great to just step into the subway, and within half an hour find myself in a wholly different world. (http://www.ufafabrik.de/de)
Fridolin told me that the ufaFabrik started in the wild seventies. But this place also breathes the air of the 1920s, I was invited see the old beautiful cinema were the movies were shown the first time. The abandoned former “dream factory of the German film industry” was occupied in 1979 by a group of young enthusiasts, later legalized and since then has been a prospering and lively place well-known for its international cultural program. Concerts, theater performances, cabaret, dance, children’s programs and more are happening here. It hosts a free school, an animal farm, a dojo, a circus for kids, a neighborhood center, a cafe, and has its own organic bakery and a nice natural food store, were I bought my veggies for dinner.
About 30 residents live on the venue at present, many of them working in the project. They started with one phone, a lean collective cash box and a great vision nearly 40 years ago. Today everything is run more professionally but the plenum still decides about important issues.
Right from the start the members of this community have gone for the ecological approach, so green roofs were built, the project has a water collecting system and the solar panels supply the whole ufaFabrik with electricity. Together with the sustainable waste system this helps to keep its ecological footprint as small as possible. The gardens, many trees, shrubs and green walls for noise reduction turn it into a relaxed oasis for residents, employees and visitors.
If (or when) you are in Berlin, I encourage you to go check this special place out:
U8 direction Alt-Mariendorf, station Ullsteinstrasse.