The Berlin-Tegel airport "Otto Lilienthal" (IATA code: TXL, ICAO code: EDDT) is one of the two international airports in the german capital Berlin.


The Berlin-Tegel airport "Otto Lilienthal" (IATA code: TXL, ICAO code: EDDT) is one of the two international airports in the german capital Berlin.

Photo by: fhm


This Country is Transforming an Abandoned Airport into a Green Oasis

By: Robin Fearon

Most old, disused airports are torn down to make way for shiny new developments, although at a huge cost and via a lengthy process.

Not Tegel airport, in Berlin, Germany.

October 11, 2022

The derelict 580 acres will be transformed into an eco-friendly, green living neighborhood oasis, in an ambitious project that officials hope will become the blueprint for future disused airports.

After the airport was closed down a number of years ago, following the building of a newer, modern version nearby, developers began dreaming up the ambitious 5 million square meter Tegel Projekt. The plans were first announced in 2017, and those behind the project hope it will address car pollution, housing shortages, and other urban living issues.

Vast open green spaces, bike lanes, and energy-efficient, affordable housing are just some of the features of the new neighborhood, which will provide at least 5,000 homes for more than 10,000 people. Amenities such as daycare centers, schools, shopping facilities, and green infrastructure will also be incorporated into the design. A further 4,000 homes are also planned for the surrounding areas.

“We want to let people rediscover the public space, for socializing, playgrounds, places to relax and talk,” says Constanze Doll, spokesperson for the project, which is being developed by Schumacher Quartier. “Important locations like the kindergarten, bakery, school, and supermarket can be easily reached on foot.”

The entire development revolves around being green: vertical gardens on apartment blocks, which is one way to keep buildings cool without installing costly and energy-intensive air conditioning. Every rooftop is also going to be fitted with solar panels which will provide domestic electricity. “Sponge City” technology, such as permeable pavements and rain gardens, will help the city absorb as much water as possible. And if that wasn’t enough, designers are aiming to make the construction process carbon neutral, using local timber for building materials and offsetting emissions.

Although transforming an airport into a neighborhood isn’t a commonplace occurrence, it’s not the first time it’s happened. When Denver’s main airport moved to a new location that was 25 miles away from the city center, developers made the most out of the old airport’s prime location, three miles outside of town, and converted the space into a residential community with more than 3,500 single-family homes. Parks, cafes, and shops popped up, and even an ice rink in an old aircraft hanger.

Meanwhile, at Brooks City Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, a mixed-use community sprung up after the base closed. It now features a 1,200-acre campus where businesses, employees, and residents can live and work, as well as a regional hospital and the San Antonio Campus of Texas A&M University. Runways were left intact and now cut through homes, while residents merrily bike along the strip airplanes once used to land.

Next to the new development in Germany’s former Tegel airport will be a commercial zone that will utilize some of the old airport’s infrastructure. The ‘Urban Tech Republic’ is aimed at tech sector companies that will be encouraged to open offices in the development, as well as a large city park that will stretch across half of the urban tech space. Developers hope to attract around 1,000 businesses, and there will also be a campus for the Berliner Hochschule fur Technik University. Construction is due to begin in 2023, with the first areas opening by 2027. There are also future plans to introduce electric buses and a tramway.

“The Schumacher Quartier is planned in such a way that the streets and squares belong to the people again,” Doll added, “rather than to cars.”

Next Up

Carbon Conversion Turns Dangerous Greenhouse Gas into Fuel

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are a grave environmental problem. This persistent greenhouse gas produced by fossil fuels is relentlessly warming Earth’s climate. Technologies to reduce its levels and climate impact concern us all. So can breakthroughs that use CO2 to create new fuels help solve the problem? Potentially, yes.

Ancient DNA Reveals New Evidence, Changing What We Know About Human Evolution

New DNA evidence found in sediment from Denisova Cave in Siberia reveal that it may have been a common meeting place that overlapped with Neanderthal, Denisova, and Homo sapiens. Could this have altered our evolution as modern humans?

Ice Age Cave Lion Cubs Found Perfectly Preserved Deep in Siberian Arctic

In Discovery’s BEASTS OF THE ICE AGE documentary, scientists uncovered new discoveries of frozen mammoths, cave lions, and other prehistoric animals in a mysterious Siberian cave. Today, experts share more on their findings since the first discovery of the frozen lion cubs in 2017 and 2018.

Get Your #Mindblown for National STEAM Day

Celebrate National STEM/STEAM Day in style with these fun activities. Updated November 8, 2021

Sound of the Year: Awards Created to Recognize Chimes of History

From voices raised in protest for change to the final tender words uttered to a dying loved one, sound and hearing are primal in connecting humans to the world. Now those moments are being acknowledged in an annual award for the Sound of the Year, created to honor audible history and the art of noise.

Getting the Benefits of Green Spaces through Virtual Nature

Forests and other natural spaces have proven benefits for our health and mental wellbeing, but getting to the great outdoors isn’t always easy.

How a Whale Song is Helping Scientists Map the Seafloor

The echoes of fin whale vocalizations are so powerful they can penetrate volcanic rock and sediment on the ocean floor. Scientists are using these seismic waves to learn more about the deep sea.

Wild Climate Ride Expected as Cryptocurrency Popularity Fuels Power Consumption

Bitcoin’s wild speculation and surging popularity has caused scientists and economic analysts to rate the digital cryptocurrency as a danger to the environment. More than 60% of Bitcoin’s mining cost is in the electricity it uses. And as its value rises, so does the entire currency’s energy consumption and its potential impact on climate change.

When in Roam, a Woolly Mammoth’s Tusks are the Map

Roaming with Kik--a look into a woolly mammoth’s tusks unravels its 28-year journey in prehistoric Alaska.

Scientists in China Discover Rare Moon Crystal that Could Power Earth

A rare lunar crystal found on the near side of the moon is giving scientists hope of providing limitless power for the world – forever.