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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Germany’s Collective Alternative to the Private Housing Swindle

The 4-Häuser Projekt houses are not a concentrated housing complex. They’re scattered at different lots along the street. Marc draws my attention to the ground floors rebuilt by the residents themselves, allowing families living on the same floor to have independent access from the yard. Altogether, the four buildings are inhabited by one hundred people, including forty children. New roof tiles, added a year earlier, are covered by photovoltaic panels. Bicycles are parked in front of the entrance.

We enter one of the units. The presence of children is noticeable; there are toys everywhere. On the mezzanine there’s a large bookcase filled with dozens of shoes. We go to sit in the meeting room, and the sound of a hammer drill can be heard. Marc explains that they’re currently working on an extra room for guests.

‘This continuous development and change is underlined by the collective name of what we do,’ says Marc. ‘It’s always a ‘housing project’—never something completely finished; rather, a structure that we transform as collective needs change.’ I ask if it’s related to the history of the squatters’ movement. ‘Yes, and not at all,’ Marc replies—‘though there would be no MHS without the squatting movement.’

Read the rest at Tribune


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