The Peutegrund

Mapping and valorizing a threatened portside biotope August 2008 - February 2011

Against the backdrop of the mounting biological devastation of the port area, this funded project, part of the “Kunst im öffentlichen Raum” (Art in Public Spaces) program by the Hamburg Department of Culture, aims through artistic means to highlight the biotopic value of a fallow area of land that has been defined both as a disused hazardous site and a port extension area - and to initiate its reassessment. The ten-hectare plot with a lake and diverse flora and fauna is situated in an area of primarily industrial and commercial use and is under the control of the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA). After consulting biologists, Nana Petzet mapped out the Peutegrund and made a documentary about its animal and plant life. In an art project in 2008, she saved the area from the rampant Japanese knotweed (elimination of invasive species). This attempt to symbolically rescue the biodiversity of the Peutegrund ultimately lead to a deviation from the practice to date, thanks also to the political efforts of Bund Natur in forcing the HPA to rethink. Consequently and as a compensation for the destruction of other legally protected biotopes, the HPA agreed to sustainably eliminate the Japanese knotweed.