Living together with people of different age or with different cultural backgrounds is nothing new. Already the squatters in Kiel created new living projects. Back then the focus was more on the protection and usage of keen housing space but today it is more about the togetherness of intergenerational, multicultural people as well as integration and inclusion. Many people wish to counteract isolation and separation. They want to age together with friends or live with their children in a joint family style.

How it began

Squatters campaigned against housing shortage and dispossession in the 1970’s and 80’s. Thereby a few living projects arose in Kiel. One of the most known is “Hansa 48”.

“Hansa48” was occupied in March of 1981. Meanwhile the area has become a complete cultural center with show rooms, rooms for seminars and rehearsal, a cinema and a bar. Furthermore, there is a self-help repair shop for bicycles, a kindergarten, a printing plant and a consulting service for unemployed. But there are still some squatters living there, 25 adults and six children. New housemates make contact themselves or are recommended by others. If someone gets accepted it is a decision of all residents together. For more than 30 years they have been meeting every Monday evening at 8:30 p.m. to discuss everything of importance for the center, the living house and external relations. Kalle says: “In the beginning for the first 20 years the consent principle ruled. We only made decisions when everything was discussed, and no one raised objection. Meanwhile we also vote, and I am not really a friend of it.” An interesting aspect of this area is that there are also organizations acting independently of “Hansa48”. For example the “Infoladen” that is also housing the consulting-service for unemployed originally was founded by anti-nuclear demonstrators and is still an autonomous center.

Besides “Hansa48” there are some further living projects that were founded at the same time such as “Alte Meierei”, “Kieler Scholle”, “Aubrook Projekt”, “Brotfabrik” and “Timmerberg (Dampfziegelei)”. All these projects were started with a lot of heart’s blood, sweat and tears and they often invite the publicity for events like concerts and workshops.
Also, the connection to the water fits great for Kiel as the “Schwentineflotte” is something very special. It was originally located in the Schwentine but the ships, currently 40 of them, had to give way to the “Helmholtzinstitut”. The fleets’ new home is the boat dock “Stieckenhörn” in Kiel-Wik. And it is really a home: the fleet has its own postal address. No other fleet in Germany can say this about itself.

Move in a new direction

The wish of living keen, ecologically and in a community originated a lot of living projects. But in a time of separation and a lack of affordable housing space people are more and more looking for alternatives. One of the newest projects is “Gutes Leben” at Probsteier Platz. The cooperation between a private initiative and the building society “Gewoba Nord” built 27 apartments that are planned to get ready for occupation in 2019. The most beautiful apartment under the roof will get used collaborative and presents a panoramic view. One of the initiators is already looking forward to meeting other residents there to have tea and enjoying the view over the Kiel Fjord.

While “Gutes Leben” took the classical and completely legal way the “Wagengruppe Schlagloch” operates more unorthodox. The groups’ basis is the wish for living in a community but also having one’s own space. Thereby they focus is on an ecologically usage of the environment. Because of the living form there is no soil sealing, by using solar energy the group is independent from the electricity grid and they also need very little drinking water. However, they don’t only feel as a living community but are also open for others. By hosting workshops and concerts, they want to create a place to meet without any obstacles. “Wagengruppe Schlagloch” hibernates on an area near Gablenzbrücke, where a hotel will be getting built in March 2019. The group is urgently searching for other brownfields.
The project “Wohnen für Hilfe” (reside for help) by “Studentenwerk Schleswig-Holstein” is also very genius. It focuses on living communal with affordable rents. Older people, families or organizations provide housing space and get help in the household as a quid pro quo. Thereby they follow the line: helping one hour for getting one square meter of living space. This is a benefit for both, the students and the house or apartment owners. The students only must pay their amount of utilities like electricity or heating costs. This intergenerational living form requires a lot of appreciation on both sides but regarding the current housing space situation it seems reasonable to open this project also for other people like trainees or people living in divorce.
Watching Kiel-Wik with its projects like “Anscharpark”, “Wohnprojekt Timmerberg” or “ARGE3A” you can see a lot of facets of a new trendy district. Especially cultural aspects are very well represented by the “Atelierhausgesellschaft im Anscharpark” that is an association of different art and culture projects. There are also some further cultural institutions like “Petrus-Veranstaltungskirche”, “Maschinenmuseum”, “Denkort Flanderbunker”, “Tatort-Fernsehstudio” and “Technische Marineschule”. For taking part in new progresses the “Kiez Café” is a great location.

What’s missing?

“Hof Hammer” is also very noteworthy with about 200 housing units. It focuses on social inclusion and is planned to be finished in about two to three years. But more building plots and more affordable housing space is what is really needed. Kiel tries to create those with its new building society. Yet it will take at least five years until there will be some results. All the different projects are very diverse, but they deliver not enough housing space. Even though options for realizing building propositions have improved public support is still necessary.

The city of Vienna is a good example of municipally housebuilding. It has always expedited social house and contributed affordable rents by that. They also counteracted social separation by building in all districts of Vienna. Thereby Vienna avoided high consequential costs that are caused by ghettoization. On top the city must pay less rent subsidy. Also, very interesting are projects like “Wohnprojekt Kalkbreite” that is likely a town-in-a-town in Zurich or cluster-apartments where every tenant has less space for himself, but the common rooms are even bigger. That kind of projects could also be pioneering for Kiel.