The residential project “Gutes Leben – Probsteier Platz” is a joint project of the “Gutes Leben” initiative and the GEWOBA Nord building cooperative, which was awarded the Kiel Sustainability Prize in 2019. It consists of two apartment buildings on Probsteier Platz which were completed in 2019 and are now mostly inhabited by the members of the association founded for the project.
The vision of the project is a cross-generational, lively house community, in which everyone has their own apartment, but the community is created through shared rooms and careful interaction with one another. (Quote): “We are not merely a dogmatic housing project according to the motto here that there is only organic food or politically everything has to be totally stylish, rather everyone should be able to live with their differences as long as it is not inhuman or against each other”.
What is life like in the awarded residential project?
We meet with six members of the association in the project’s shared apartment.
The two new buildings on Probsteier Platz in Dietrichsdorf are quietly located and, with their modern but restrained architecture, fit in well with the old buildings in the area. The oldest resident of the project is 79 years old, the youngest two months old (at the time of the interview). Most of the residents have already met at previous meetings or information events about housing projects, but were not friends or acquaintances beforehand as the actual getting to know each other only took place after moving in. For most of them, the size of the living space has significantly reduced, while others have moved from larger houses to small apartments. If more space is required , there is a shared apartment. We found it remarkable that the most beautiful apartment in the houses was deliberately chosen as a shared apartment. Spacious with a large roof terrace and a splendid view of the river Schwentine estuary as well as the Kiel Fjord. Here it also became clear what the project is about and how it works in the implementation: It is not possible for someone to simply put their old flowerpots on the roof terrace, which must first be discussed with the community. It is the same with the furnishing of the communal apartment or the garden planning – everything that concerns the community is discussed and decided collectively. An exception to this is, of course, your own apartment, here everyone can do as one likes.
Even after about a year, this form of communal living requires a constant learning process from the residents, including on a personal level. Problems are solved collectively, regardless of whether it is about practical things like shopping or sharing a car as the community also offers space to address personal problems. Of course, there are also occasional conflicts. One resident compares this to a partnership: “It is the attempt to jointly solve problems that one would not have had alone. Housing project is the whole thing with twenty-three people. Letting go of your own ego, noticeably experiencing the uniqueness / diversity of others. Anyone who has the illusion that the whole thing goes without conflicts is wrong here. “
Our personal conclusion:
The project made an inviting impression on us. The atmosphere was casual and relaxed, and we received w a very friendly welcome. We experienced the group of our six interlocutors as very harmonious and our questions about conflicts did not embarrass anyone. This form of communal living has many advantages that have convinced us. An exceptionally good opportunity for everyone who is looking for an alternative to isolation and loneliness in “normal” anonymous living.