People Innovation Excellence

Selfmade City: Self-Initiated Urban Living and Architectural Interventions


The selfmade city approach focuses on architectural projects that have been created through self-initiative – by architects themselves, by builders’ collectives (like co-housing, co-ops, co-working), or by other individuals. These projects give a positive vibe to the city in terms of urban quality, design and sustainability that leave the mediocre solutions that the property market produces far behind.

Ring analyzes this movement in Berlin, which she calls “the city of Urban Pioneers”. Over the last 10 years, spaces were transformed, available gaps in the city’s landscape were occupied and old buildings were engaged with the new program. All this happened between the intersection – or tension – of freedom and need. The motivation for urban pioneers to create these selfmade projects arose from, on the one hand, an absence of alternative solutions and, on the other, a need to create an environment that suited their own creative imagination.

The goal of Selfmade City is to show why it is worth creating alternative developments to produce individual solutions for affordable living and working in the inner city of Berlin. In order to do so, Ring raises issues and further questions about the context of city planning with regard to Germany’s economics and various social communities.

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