The many places of interest and historically significant sites along the Panke are connected by a continuous path following the stream’s course.
The Panke is a stream flowing through north-eastern Berlin and despite its small size it’s an important part of the city. A newly developed green space along the Panke gives new weight to the historic and urban development significance of this small river. It runs along about 20 kilometres from the boundary between Berlin and Brandenburg near Buch through the district of Pankow to the mouth of the Spree at Schiffbauerdamm in Mitte. Once it is completed, this green space will link Berlin’s historic centre with the network of open spaces in the city’s north.
The path along the Panke links many sights and important historic sites. Here walkers can discover the earliest origins of Berlin’s foundation and the city’s expansion in the late nineteenth century, and explore Berlin’s suburbs and the diverse cultivated landscapes at the city’s edge. This green space is also a greatly needed public recreational area for people living in the nearby densely populated residential areas, especially in city centre areas. The Berlin Senate Chancellery regards the green space along the Panke as a high priority open space project.
In the first phase of construction from 1992 to 2005, part of the green space along the historic Südpanke (southern Panke) in Mitte was developed based on plans by ag.u Lange & Grigoleit. The next section between Soldiner Brücke and Gotenburger Strasse, planned by the Lechner firm, was built in 2006. A 2.8-hectare section along the Südpanke between Chausseestrasse and Habersaathstrasse in Berlin-Mitte was then built to plans drafted for another competition won by the bbzl - böhm benfer zahiri firm of landscape architects in 2007.
Between Chausseestrasse and Schulzendorfer Strasse at the border between Wedding and Mitte, the Panke forks. The open Nordpanke (northern Panke) flows into the Berlin-Spandau shipping canal, while the Südpanke, following the stream’s original course, flows down to Schiffbauerdamm. To reactivate the stream as an open watercourse, sections of it encased in pipes had to be opened up. By 2005, 886 metres of the 2,456 metre-long Südpanke had been opened up. The area along its banks has become an oasis of peace and a contrast to the urban hustle and bustle of nearby Luisenstrasse, Reinhardtstrasse and Friedrichstrasse.
Current development measures to develop the Südpanke green space between Chausseestrasse and Habersaathstrasse, based on plans by the Berlin firm of bbzl böhm benfer zahiri, involve completely freeing the Südpanke from its pipe casing, extending the pedestrian and cycle path, and returning the green space to something like its natural state. The design by bbzl böhm benfer zahiri envisages the green space as part of a contiguous area between the Invaliden Park and Südpanke Park to the north. A stone embankment on one side of the Panke invites passers-by to sit and linger. On the other, softer side are sunny playgrounds and meadows.
Work on the first phase of construction was carried out from 2010 to 2012. Planning for the Südpanke green space is directly connected with the building of the new BND (German Federal Intelligence Service) headquarters adjoining the space, so the start of the second construction phase depends on completion of the BND headquarters. It is planned for 2017.
To facilitate access to the new section of the Panke green space from the west, a pedestrian and cycle path was built between Scharnhorststrasse near the Invaliden cemetery (linking it with the promenade along the Berlin-Spandau shipping canal) and the freed-up Panke in the winter of 2013/2014.