Federation for
Housing and

IFHP Berlin Housing Lab - outcome

The IFHP Berlin Housing Lab engaged urban practitioners, politicians, housing groups, academics and activists to assess Berlin’s contemporary housing challenges.
Berlin, like many cities around the world is in the midst of a ‘new housing crisis’. Traditionally a ‘rental’ city with a variety of low cost housing options, Berlin’s housing situation is at risk of unbalancing the very urban fabric that makes the city so attractive. Shifting housing and planning regulations, increasing foreign property investment, high immigration numbers, stagnating wages and a proactive citizen activist movement mean Berlin’s contemporary housing environment is as complex as it is chaotic; the perfect setting for an urban lab! The Berlin Urban Lab: The Good the Bad and the Ugly, was held in collaboration with the Deutsches Architektur Zentrum (DAZ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. 
Engaging urban practitioners, politicians, housing groups, academics and activists to name a few, the LAB assessed Berlin’s contemporary housing challenges, discussed how and why co-housing communities can be supported through ideas, structures and financing, and questioned the role of  public and private housing corporations to ensure Berlin’s affordable housing future. 
These investigations will be compared in a final report, identifying in particular local solutions and responses that can be transferred to the different contexts. This report will be available on this website under ‘publications’ soon. 
To give you an idea of the speaker’s input: some quotes, suggestions and outcomes: 
  • How can the housing-crisis solution not only solve itself, but also be a catalyst to drive neighborhood-development? Prof. Dr. Phillip Misselwitz (TU Berlin)
  • What we need in Berlin is a new housing policy and to find a way to combine the discussion between the architects’ ideas about ‘new housing’ and those of the activists. We need an all-inclusive discussion. Andrej Holm (Hu Berlin)
  • Construction, construction, construction! We need to make new building plans for 200 000 units and make strict deadlines. Han Joosten (BPD)
  • We should ask ourselves what the biggest obstacles to provide ‘housing-for-all’ are. In Berlin we actually do still have space, because the density is not as high as in other cities. Cordula Fay (Degewo)
  • The problem is not just the city: What is ‘the problem’ of the country-side? Why can’t the country side ‘sell itself’? Marco Clausen (Prinzessinnen Garten)
  • We have to go into the neighborhood and talk with the inhabitants. It should not only be about money or availability. We need to know what they need (like a rooftop garden for recreation by a lack of a ground-level garden) and work with that. Florian Kohl (FatKoehl) 

We would like to thank all the presenters, participants and our contacts at DAZ for their presence and interesting, original input!

For more information, comments or feedback: Giulia Maci, urban planner at IFHP and responsible for the Berlin Lab: 

Presentations of the Participants in the LAB: 

Dr. Thomas Welter (General Secretary, Association of German Architects BDA) 
Phillip Misselwitz (TU Berlin) 
Giulia Maci (IFHP)
Cordula Fay (Degewo)
Oliver Clemens (Exrotaprint)
Marco Clausen (Prinzessinnen Garten)
Florian Köhl (FatKoehl)
Andrej Holm (HU Berlin)
Bernhard Hummel (Mietshäuser Syndikat)
Anna Heilgemeir (Mietshäuser Syndikat).
Ignacio Gonzalez Galan, Columbia University
*Presentations will be uploaded as soon as made available by the presenters.