We began the day by visiting a residential community in Berlin that was built 20+ years ago. While also aiming to be an affordable, welcoming living community, one of the main goals of this community was to be sustainable. This was done in the community through retention and detention basins to manage stormwater runoff, and an abundance of green spaces. It was really cool to see that it is possible for communities to be built in a way that is sustainable and that can function properly without too much maintenance.
Our next stop was Gewerbepark, which is an industrial park. This park had a really interesting combination of features, including strange statues perched on top of buildings, rose gardens, and preserved factory buildings. It was fascinating to see how these various elements can complement each other and work together harmoniously. I found this park to be one of the most interesting from the trip because of how many different elements it had. After passing the gardens, we encountered the River Emscher, known to be one of the dirtiest and smelliest rivers in the Essen area. It was so smelly that some people had to hold their noses as we walked on a bridge across it. After that river, we crossed another river (but luckily this one wasn’t as smelly). Following that was a really interesting playground. It had rafts in shallow water to engage the children with the water, which was an important educational tool in an area located so closely to the River Emscher. It also had giant slides, and more water features, which created interest for the children but also a theme to remind them of the issue of water.
We ended the day with a live music performance at UnPerfektHaus. It was a great day!
Unfortunately, I fell sick the next day, so I stayed in UnPerfektHaus while everyone else went out for class. But luckily, the next day was Sunday, our free day! I rested up and went out and explored Essen for a bit as I started to feel better.
Our first place to visit on Day 23 was a construction site led by Emschergenossenschaft, a large public water committee that deals with managing the Emscher River and its related waterbodies in the Essen area. We visited a water plant that was under construction, and got a very fascinating, underground tour of the site.
Our next stop was in a very opposite realm from the Emschergenossenschaft construction site. While that was functional and underground, our next stop was purely for design purposes and several feet in the air. We visited a large, triangular structure that was part of several “tripods” scattered through the Essen area. This tripod consisted of sets of stairs that led you to an amazing view of the city.
On our way home, we saw the cutest dog on the U-Bahn! I’m still fascinated by how well-trained dogs are in Germany, and how casual their owners are about bringing them everywhere in public.