District walk and stop at the Gorbitz community garden

On 03 June, the Dresden Neighbourhoods were on a discovery tour in Gorbitz. "Who lives in Gorbitz? And who is a neighbour?" -- "What do you mean, who is a neighbour? I don't understand the question." -- "We all are. What's the point of the question?"

On 03 June, the Dresdner Nachbarschaften were on a discovery tour in Gorbitz. “Who lives in Gorbitz? And who is a neighbour?” — “What do you mean, who is a neighbour? I don’t understand the question.” — “We all are. What’s the point of the question?”

text: Rosa Hauch · photos: Yvonn Spauschus · illustration: Rosa Brockelt

Someone always has to start first…

In a way, we are all lemmings. If one of us sits down, the others take a seat too. If one takes a drink, the others follow. This is independent of age, gender and nationality. So it seems. If someone starts chatting, … the others of the same age join in. And I suddenly feel a bit queasy. There’s someone I know from before. When exactly, it flashes through my mind? What was there? What does he know about me? “We know each other!” Damn, yes, I think and ask, “Who are you?” and … how do we know each other, I wanted to connect, but already the name comes up. The memory machine starts up and runs hot and luckily the actual event starts. Days later I’m still brooding.

Who lives in Gorbitz? Almost everyone comes forward. And who is a neighbour?  Only the organisers come forward. Strange situation. “What do you mean, who is a neighbour? I don’t understand the question.” “We all are. What’s the question?”

It is not uninteresting to question the seemingly clear and obvious.It is not uninteresting to question the seemingly clear and obvious.

With this and other thoughts, let’s get on our socks, sandals, sneakers. We leave the Club Passage behind us, which has had a chequered history. From a cultural centre with jazz, flamenco and cinema to a Sleeping Beauty shed. But now life is coming back, that’s the plan. The 100 years of excuses-cancellations-and-corona-sleep are history in the club’s history.

We walk, uphill. What else. Going uphill is also much healthier for the joints. And the 80-year-olds set the pace. No more chatting comfortably. City walks are not for slowpokes. The Gorbitz Race of around 20 participants walks along the promenade, foregoing tram tickets and trusting in good footwear.

Uta is also there. She works voluntarily for Treberhilfe and is accompanied today by her granddaughter, who is a master at skimming social media channels and not missing a word of the conversation. She listens attentively, unnoticed, and also checks out the passing Treberhilfe car. Uta is not quite as engaged walking up the slope and regrets that you learn so little about the things happening around you. We talk about neighbourhood apps and the notice board, which could be used much more in supermarkets. After all, everyone has to shop. And once someone starts …

Barbara – 40 years in Gorbitz

At 24, divorced and with one child, she came to Gorbitz. Today she has six grown-up children, a few more relationships and still not enough of her neighbourhood. Her eldest now lives in Bremen as a librarian and still feels like a Saxon. Barbara helped to build up the Philippus congregation. In the beginning, services were also held in living rooms.

At some point, there was also a change of generations in the community. What is still needed? What flies away? How do you clean out?

The lady with the hat and curious, cheerful beady eyes knows a lot about Gorbitz, has picked up almost all the newspapers and papers about the district and has also experienced the dark side of being here. Classic handbag theft and Nazi slogans, but she did not allow these experiences to frighten her. Getting out is her self-therapy. Gorbitz is not like that. This has also made her obviously Vietnamese-looking boys strong. Today, many migrants live in Gorbitz and slowly they are also conquering the offers of the family centres and meeting places. Then conversations take place, sometimes with hands and feet, sometimes with an interpreter, sometimes just like that, as it is among neighbours.

When no forms are being filled out, a spicy smell of all kinds of delicacies fills the rooms, things are exchanged, dances are danced or handicrafts are made. Crochet instructions for Pikmin urgently needed. And why do we come up with Stollen in the middle of summer? Our favourite Christmas pastry has a remarkable migration story to tell. Ingredients that make it what people love so much – candied lemon peel, candied orange peel, sultanas or sultanas – definitely don’t come from Germany, and even flour and butter often have a long journey behind them. So why not set the table a little more colourfully?

And on a side note: Bavarians and Berliners never give up their dialect. But when a Saxon comes to Berlin, he tries … as connoisseurs hear, unsuccessfully, to pretend to be a Balina with etepetete, dufte and behumpsen.

Gardening together in the community garden

“Go there, join in, get involved – we’ll see you there”, is how Sebastian’s first blog post about the Gorbitz community garden in Espenstraße, right next to the Laborschule, ends. That was in January 2015. The former school garden of the Omse e.V. laboratory school officially became the fourth community garden project in Dresden in 2016. At that time, about 30 interested people started between a few months and experienced 75.

In the meantime, 17 amateur gardeners, as well as a family from Afghanistan and a family from Syria, are designing the small landscape with pond, summer kitchen, hut, trees, shrubs and, of course, bee-friendly meadow.

Every four weeks they meet for brunch. We talk, plan, decide and eat what everyone brings. Anyone who is interested in gardening and would like to join in is always welcome on the second Saturday of the month, from 10:00 am. Anyone can garden, even without being a member of the association, but not just anonymously. Please introduce yourself and answer the questions of the gardeners present.

The garden plot belongs to UFER, Urbane Freiräume Erschließen Ressourcen. UFER-Projekte Dresden e.V. oversees a total of eight community gardens in different districts of Dresden.

Ute Netz introduced the garden to the participants of the Gorbitz city walk. In addition to gardening, she has also acquired a convincing communication strategy. Before the project, talking was not her strong point, especially not in front of strangers. Now she masters that too with flying colours. Only vandalism is not yet a problem. She speaks with great regret about the fact that, due to recent incidents, the garden has to be locked every evening.

By the way: UFER e.V. is currently undergoing a generation change. There could hardly be a better time for young and young-at-heart nature lovers to get started.

UFER-Projekte Dresden e. V. · Hechtstraße 32 · 01097 Dresden
mail: info@ufer-projekte.de · phone: +49 351 86276645

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Dresdner Nachbarschaften
Damals, Heute, Morgen / Zuhören, Erinnern und Gestalten

In our storytelling cafés and discussion groups, district tours and workshops, we want to encourage you to tell stories and develop visions.


Project coordination
Yvonn Spauschus (project management)
Anne Ibelings · Moussa Mbarek · Nadine Wölk (workshop leader)
Uta Rolland · Rosa Brockelt · Rosa Hauch · Falk Goernert (moderation and documentation)

Cooperation partners
JugendKunstschule Dresden · Omse e.V. · Löbtop e.V. · Quartiersmanagement Prohlis, Johannstadt and Gorbitz · Sigus e.V. · In Gruna leben e.V. · UFER-Projekte Dresden e.V.

Supported by

The project is funded by the House of Resources Dresden+