2022 Summer Adrianna Licari Blog Cities Culture Germany Leipzig Nature Sustainability Temple Summer

Grünes Leipzig (Green Leipzig)

During my time in Leipzig, one of our big assignments was a group presentation, which would be about your choice of a topic from a list. Each topic had something relevant to Leipzig, such as ones about specialty food in Leipzig, fairy tales, environmental parts of Leipzig and more. I chose the topic “Grünes Leipzig” (Green Leipzig), in which we would learn more about the environment and nature in Leipzig. This topic really stood out to me because it would allow me to look at the city in a new way, and also allow me to make comparisons between this city and my hometown.

The first part of the project was coming up with ideas to focus on. We had many such as ecotourism, a focus on the parks, the major public transportation systems in the city, policies and politics about the environment, and more. These ideas led us to create interview questions, which we would ask people throughout the city. We came up with a list ,which covered some of each topic to get a feel for how people who lived there thought about the topic “Grünes Leipzig.”

A photo from one of the parks by our apartments.

The next week, we met in the city center, where we then went out in smaller groups to go talk to people and ask our interview questions. This was definitely a really nerve wracking part of the project, as I was nervous about speaking in German to so many people, not finding enough people to ask, and not understanding responses. However, as I went around with my group, I realized that people were very receptive to answering our questions and they were very kind and spoke very clearly to make it easier for us to understand. We learned a lot from these interviews, such as about popular activities people do at the parks, popular parks in Leipzig, about transportation and the preference of public transportation and bikes to cars, and how often people visit the parks in the area.

With this information, we met up as a group to discuss and come up with a singular topic. After a lot of discussion, we came up with the idea to learn about parks in Leipzig. We would choose three parks to visit, splitting up into three groups. We would focus on three topics for each park: “Sauberkeit” (cleanliness), “Aktivitäten” (activities), and “Geschichte” (history). My group was assigned to Rabet Park, which is located in the eastern part of Leipzig, and in a part of the city where we did not spend a lot of time. The other groups focused on Clara-Zetkin Park and the Leipziger Auwald. We collected pictures, videos, and audio recordings of each park, and presented these along with what we learned and observed to the program.

A photo from Rabet Park.

We learned that Rabet Park is more of a recreational park. It was not as clean as the others and did not have many trees. This left the grass really dry and made it really hot. There were many playgrounds, a soccer field, skatepark, and other recreational places. We learned that this is more of a place for children and families and  where the community can come together. 

We observed that the Leipziger Auwald and Clara-Zetkin Park were much cleaner, but also much less recreational. They had large fields but no playgrounds. They also had more trees and appeared much greener than Rabet Park. After speaking with some people at Rabet Park, we learned that this is one of the greatest differences between Rabet Park and the other parks in Leipzig. In all three places, people spent a lot of their time riding their bikes, relaxing, and going for walks. 

A photo from another park in Leipzig.

Despite the fact that Rabet had few trees, we found that the city of Leipzig is working to make the city greener by having campaigns for tree donations. There were some small trees planted throughout Rabet park with a little bit of information about how the tree was a donation to the park. This just goes to show some of the green initiatives throughout the city, specifically in the parks.

We also learned a lot about other initiatives just through our everyday life activities. For instance, the public transportation system was easy, quick and accessible, and the city made it even more accessible for everyone with the 9-Euro-Ticket. This ticket made public transportation for the whole month only 9 Euros. Also, it was relatively easy and safe to ride bikes throughout the city. Bike racks were available everywhere, bike lanes made biking safer, and biking was a quick way to get where you needed to go without needing to wait for public transportation. There were also some activities to promote being environmentally conscious, as I saw many flyers for the Öko-fete (Eco-fest) and Leipziger Umwelttage (Leipzig environment days) throughout the city.

A photo from the tram of a flyer for Öko-Fete and Leipziger Umwelttage.

It was such a great experience to be able to learn about all different parks and green initiatives throughout Leipzig! I really enjoyed being able to go out and explore for my assignments and to be able to learn more about different parts of Leipzig and the culture that surrounds the environment in this city.

Click here to learn more about sustainability lessons other students learned while abroad!

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