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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - bologna.lab - Neue Lehre. Neues Lernen

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | bologna.lab | Projekte des bologna.labs | Berlin Perspectives | Lehrveranstaltungen | Sommersemester 2016 | Funding Berlin – Alternernative economic strategies, activism and urban change

Funding Berlin – Alternernative economic strategies, activism and urban change

Taught by Michael Grass

Monday, 14:00 - 16:00, Hausvogteiplatz 5-7, Room 0323-26

Language requirements: min. English B2


Course Description

Since the late 1960s, a growing protest movement has forced Berlin's city council to reconsider its urban development policy: How to ensure the financial viability of a social policy that is aimed at humane living conditions for all? This question has dominated official discourse as well as alternative social experiments in Berlin. Different activist groups have developed alternative models to fund social projects; maintain cultural areas; and sustain new living scenarios. Likewise, cooperatives, collectives and other efforts have introduced alternative funding into urban development discourse and revised conventional building procedures in Berlin. These alternative economic strategies became the backbone of redevelopment and urban renewal and reached a peak during the International Building Exhibition from 1984 to 1987.

After 1989, the citizens of East Berlin were confronted with similar issues of urban development. They had to confront housing issues caused by rising rents and gentrification; the disappearance of everyday living structures and a substantial erosion of their cultural landscape. Benefiting from experiences made in West Berlin, the city today sports a unique density and variety of alternative projects that experiment with new funding strategies for urban development, culture and living.

This seminar investigates some of those exciting projects – one time avantgarde and contemporary pioneers. We will explore building cooperatives; talk to urban gardening activists; and listen to former squatters present their projects, their visions and their funding strategies. An exhibition of the results will be prepared with the help of professionals. This seminar targets students interested in urban sociology and planning, metropolitan studies, German cultural history, economics, and cultural management. It will impart theoretical knowledge as well as fundamentals of producing and presenting academic research.


Preparatory Literature

  • Bernt, Matthias; Grell, Britta; Holm, Andrej (Ed.): The Berlin Reader: a compendium on urban change and activism. Berlin 2013.
  • Herold, Stephanie; Stefanovska, Biljana (Ed.): 45+: Post-War Modern Architecture in Europe. Berlin 2012.
  • International Building Exhibition (Ed.): First Projects in Careful Urban Renewal. Berlin 1984.
  • International Building Exhibition (Ed.): Idee, Prozess, Ergebnis. Die Reparatur und Rekonstruktion der Stadt. Berlin 1984.
  • Laville, Jean-Louis: The Social and Solidarity Economy – A Theoretical and Plural Framework. In: UNRISD (Ed.): Potential and Limits of Social and Solidarity Economy. Geneva 2013.
  • Miller, Ethan: Other Economies Are Possible! Building a Solidarity Economy. GEO 2006 [http://www.geo.coop/node/35]
  • Miller, Ethan: Solidarity Economy – Key Concepts and Issues. In: Kawano, Emily, Tom Masterson and Jonathan Teller-Ellsberg (Ed.): Solidarity Economy I: Building Alternatives for People and Planet. Amherst, MA: Center for Popular Economics. 2010.