• Praise

    Praise on Twitter

    “I really enjoyed it. I started watching it alongside working on school projects and eventually just watched the documentary on its own. I will be watching it again. We learn a little bit about urban ecology in our program (US) but it is not as dynamic and rich as how it’s talked about in the documentary – so I’ve really grown a new appreciation for the subject. <3 Thank you so much for creating this and making it available to a wide audience. I've also shared it with a friend who just likes Berlin, no training in landscape architecture or horticulture, and he really enjoyed it as well!"  Sue, MA Landscape Architecture Student, Tennessee (USA)  (27 March 2020)

    “The film is really fantastic, excellent research, and so well narrated, and great photography and sound. Great in content and form. It gave us a whole new perspective on the city, and opened our eyes to new areas of research. Congratulations to the whole team, and thank you for making it available online for free!”  Tilo, Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture and Design (U.K.) (26 March 2020)

    “Amazing! Very very interesting. Now I look at Berlin with a new layer of complexity.” Antonella, Researcher, Architecture & Urbanism (Germany) (22 March 2020)

    “…just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed the film! It’s really great and important! We will recommend it to colleagues and students!” Luca, Landscape Architect and Art Historian (U.K) (22 March 2020)

    “Superb work, great way to spend an afternoon and very apt. Although Berlin is clearly a unique city to explore these diverse transitioning landscapes most cities are seeing the same pressures and making similar choices in regard to development and conservation. Also what a great point to end on that despite people best efforts ‘nature will always return’. Thanks again for the chance to see this today, cheered me up and inspired me.”  Jonathan, Ecology and Sustainability Student (U.K.) (21 March 2020)

  • Review: July 2019 / The AAG Review of Books

    Natura Urbana: The Brachen of Berlin

    by Philip Lawton et al.

    “Early in the fourth chapter of the documentary Natura Urbana, about halfway through the film, the viewer is presented with historic footage of West Berlin that shifts between images of the Berlin Wall, 1970s street life and countercultural activities, and landscapes of disused railway tracks surrounded by trees. In keeping with the rhythm established throughout the film, director Matthew Gandy narrates how, through acts of play, eating, socializing, and protest, Berliners collectively adapted what might otherwise be seen as abandoned urban spaces, or Brachen, for use as public commons.”

  • Review: Spring 2019 / entanglements - experiments in multimodal ethnography

    Natura Urbana The Brachen of Berlin

    by Matt Barlow

    “In this film, Gandy and his crew beautifully represent an alternative way of reading the past, present, and future of Berlin through its brachen, the spaces simultaneously altered and left fallow that litter the urban fabric of post WW2 Berlin. As the film shows, these spaces have been the sites of an amazing growth in biodiversity, as plants with origins in Australia and the US now spontaneously grow in places they had never been seen before. They have also been the sites of continued contestation over what kinds of development are conducive to the flourishing of a contemporary city. It is a documentary filled with sounds of leaves in the wind juxtaposed with traffic on the streets, of archival footage of the streets of Berlin immediately after WW2 and during the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and with wonderfully poetic and rich interviews with ecologists, botanists, and sociologists all concerned with the alternative history of Berlin that is represented, and continually being contested, through its brachen.”

  • Mention: August 2018 / The Quietus

    Hedge Walking: The Land Art Of Andy Goldsworthy

    by Will Jennings

    Natura Urbana […] looks for the escape that nature offers from the conformity and pressures of urban life. Berlin’s urban fallow lands which through shifting political tensions, aesthetic shifts, and financial development offered an urban respite which not only encouraged the growth of rare plants but also a space of play, creativity, political experiment and a community voice for Berliners.”

  • Mention: Spring 2018 / #Fortschritt, Climate Games

    Climate Games – Event statt Fortschritt

    by Yvonne Volkart

    “Gegen den algorithmisch programmierten Hyperindividualismus und die ruhelose Optimerung des eigenen Materialismus stehen Techniken der Immersion mit anderen und Ritualen der Verschwendung des Persönlichen, Momentes des Werdens und des Wachsens. Wachsen heißt nicht nur, such unendlich auszubreiten, sondern auch hartnäckig zu überleben in katastrophischen Zeiten. Dies macht Matthew Gandys Dokumentarfilm Natura Urbana – Die Brachen von Berlin (2017) deutlich. Am Beispiel von Berlin zeigt der Film auf, wie der Schutt, die Trümmer und die Mauer ein Stadtbiotop von besonderer Mannigfaltigkeit geschaffen haben. Die Geschichte Berlins ist, wie deutlich wird, auch eine Geschichte von Pflanzen und deren Verbindung zu den Menschen und ihre Politik.”