This urban ecovillage began in 1979 when peace activists took over the abandoned Universal Film Studios. Their aim was to create a new society while having a lot of fun.

Today, only 35 members live on-site, but 150 work there and as many as 200,000 visit each year for performances, classes, and a host of social services at UfaFabrik. Photo:

From the beginning, martial arts were an integral part of UfaFabrik. Today, people come from all over Berlin for martial arts training. Photo:

Arts, theatre, and cross-cultural communication are vital to life at UfaFabrik. This open-air theatre offers a stage for performers from all over the world. Photo:

UfaFabrik’s penchant for politicized fun began with street theatre and morphed into a circus. Photo:

Today, UfaFabrik’s Circus School works with children from Berlin as well as troupes of performing Ethiopian and Cambodian orphans. (pp. 88-9) Photo:

UfaFabrik’s after-school and summer programs offer urban children the opportunity to learn how to tend for smaller farm animals, including poultry, rabbits, and ponies.

These young people get their hands dirty and learn to collaborate in a natural building workshop.

UfaFabrik, a training center in renewable energy and water systems, also walks its talk.

Located a short walk from a subway station in bicycle-friendly Berlin, UfaFabrik’s transportation footprint is very small.

UfaFabrik’s popular Café Olé serves organic, locally grown food. Photo:

In summer, Café Olé serves outdoor meals in the UfaFabrik courtyard.

In summer, Café Olé serves outdoor meals in the UfaFabrik courtyard.

UfaBakery grinds its organic flour in this mill and bakes its tasty bread in a wood-fired oven fueled with sustainably harvested wood. Photo:

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UfaFabrik is an urban ecovillage that began in 1979 when about 100 squatters occupied the former Universal Film Studios in the heart of West Berlin. Their Cold War message was “Peace through culture and ecology.” Their main mission was educational, but always with a splash of humor through street theatre and a home-grown circus.

Eventually, they gained title to the land and transformed the old film studio into a 160,000-square-foot state-of-the-art ecological demonstration site.

Today, UfaFabrik features state-of-the-art renewable energy and water conservation systems within a bustling hub of urban activity.

While only 35 adults live on site, another 150 are employed in the community’s organic café and bakery, social services, performance hall, children’s programs, martial arts studios and more.

The circus has morphed into a circus school that attracts local children and traveling troupes from around the world.

During my visit, UfaFabrik was preparing to host a circus school for Ethiopian orphans and I enjoyed a wonderful South Korean dance and percussion concert.

An estimated 200,000 visitors come through UfaFabrik every year.

Official website:

Tour UfaFabrik via this navigable aerial photo

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