Making Room

Platzpro­jekt is part of the port­fo­lio of places with which the cul­tur­al office of the city admin­is­tra­tion of Hanover is com­pet­ing as a can­di­date for the Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture 2025.

About six­teen years ago, two skaters found a plot of fal­low land in Hanover-Linden’s indus­tri­al area. They start to clean up and build a small skate park. In 2009, they form an asso­ci­a­tion, nego­ti­ate an inter­im use con­tract with the own­er togeth­er with the city council’s sup­port, and reach a lease agree­ment for one euro per year, which is still valid today. In 2013, anoth­er asso­ci­a­tion is cre­at­ed: Platzpro­jekt aims to cre­ate a space for ini­tia­tives, a place for self-help, for mutu­al sup­port offer­ing knowl­edge, tools, and crafts­man­ship. Research funds and state sub­si­dies enable the estab­lish­ment of long-term par­tic­i­pa­tion struc­tures for young peo­ple who want to dis­cuss their cities in self-orga­nized spaces and active­ly shape them.


Project

PlatzPro­jekt


Actors

PlatzPro­jekt e.V., respon­si­ble body; City of Hanover, co-financ­ing, nego­ti­a­tion; Metro Group, land own­er­ship; Fed­er­al Min­istry of the Envi­ron­ment, co-financing


Year

Since 2013, found­ing of the association


Loca­tion

Hanover, Ger­many

© Chi­na Hopson
In 2004, a group of skaters occu­pied an over­grown piece of land in an indus­tri­al area in the west of Han­nover. The city admin­is­tra­tion and the dis­trict may­or Rain­er-Jörg Grube sup­port­ed the project by sign­ing a lease and extend­ing the activ­i­ties to a neigh­bor­ing prop­er­ty. © Philip Robin­son Crusius
© Sam Green

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Art and Activism

The instal­la­tion Pub­lic Forum by Steve Lam­bert, co-founder of the Cen­ter for Artis­tic Activism, is a mobile dis­cus­sion plat­form where the pub­lic is invit­ed to vote whether the ques­tions on the sign are right or wrong. © Steve Lambert

Prison reforms, fair nation­al bud­gets, jus­tice for immi­grants, the appro­pri­ate deter­mi­na­tion of tax bur­dens, the erad­i­ca­tion of racial seg­re­ga­tion in schools, the fight against cor­rup­tion, or the ques­tion­ing of police sur­veil­lance of the broad public—all of these are top­ics for the Cen­tre for Artis­tic Activism (C4AA). What is unique in their work is the com­bi­na­tion of art meth­ods and for­mats with social move­ments. In work­shops, sem­i­nars, sum­mer acad­e­mies, and oth­er pro­grams, they dis­cuss the motives and work­ing meth­ods of dif­fer­ent groups togeth­er with artists and peo­ple who are pri­mar­i­ly active in social move­ments. This is intend­ed to sharp­en demands and orga­nize actions in a more direct­ed man­ner. Every­thing else, accord­ing to the founders of the orga­ni­za­tion, would be an unfor­giv­able strate­gic mistake.


Project

The Pub­lic Forum


Artist

Steve Lam­bert


Actors

Cen­ter for Artis­tic Activism (C4AA)


Year

Since 2009


Loca­tions

Var­i­ous

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Be Heard: The Right to the City

© Stel­la Flatten

The Chor der Sta­tis­tik was brought to life in 2019 by musi­cian Bernadette La Hengst and exper­i­men­tal archi­tec­ture col­lec­tive raum­labor­ber­lin. An open call attract­ed peo­ple who want­ed to sing about the chal­lenges of urban devel­op­ment process­es. The spe­cif­ic rea­son for the choir’s ini­ti­a­tion is the ongo­ing trans­for­ma­tion of the long-emp­ty Haus der Sta­tis­tik in Berlin. The joint­ly devel­oped songs raise ques­tions, address fears, and for­mu­late demands. And so, the choir sings about dis­place­ment and the right to the city, it artic­u­lates prob­lems around rent increas­es and the pri­va­ti­za­tion of space. Singing togeth­er and pub­lic appear­ances are equal­ly protest and demon­stra­tion at the same time. »For a bet­ter future,« says the choir direc­tor, rais­ing her baton.


Project

Chor der Sta­tis­tik (Sta­tis­tics Choir)


Actors

Andrea Hof­mann, Frauke Ger­sten­berg, Markus Bad­er, raum­labor­ber­lin; Bernadette La Hengst, singer and choir direc­tor; choir members


Year

since 2019


Loca­tion

Berlin, Ger­many

The House of Sta­tis­tics on Berlin’s Alexan­der­platz was stand­ing emp­ty for almost ten years, until a group of art and cul­ture pro­fes­sion­als claimed on large ban­ners that the city want­ed to set up afford­able stu­dios at this loca­tion. What began as a prank has in recent years become a com­plex urban plan­ning project ded­i­cat­ed to the pub­lic wel­fare-ori­ent­ed devel­op­ment of the area. © Felix Marlow
As part of the pio­neer­ing uses of the Haus der Sta­tis­tik, the Chor der Sta­tis­tik was found­ed in 2019—a project ini­ti­at­ed by raum­labor­ber­lin and the artist and singer Bernadette La Hengst. The songs of the choir—here a pub­lic per­for­mance dur­ing the Berlin Art Week in Sep­tem­ber 2019—focus on the ten­sions of urban devel­op­ments: Hous­ing short­age and every­day racism as well as sol­i­dar­i­ty prac­tices for a right to a city for all. © Vic­to­ria Tomaschko
Ordi­nary mega­phones seem to have long since ceased to be suf­fi­cient to make your­self heard. So here the mega-mega­phone stands as a per­haps nec­es­sary exag­ger­a­tion for the unheard demands and needs of a broad civ­il soci­ety. © raumlaborberlin

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City Games

© Play the City

While it is usu­al­ly only polit­i­cal and munic­i­pal deci­sion-mak­ers who sit around the table to decide on urban plan­ning projects, the games cre­at­ed by the Play the City agency bring var­i­ous groups and play­ers togeth­er: employ­ees of city admin­is­tra­tions, neigh­bor­hood res­i­dents, local busi­ness own­ers, ini­tia­tives, but also rep­re­sen­ta­tives of real estate com­pa­nies, archi­tec­ture offices, and many more. Every­one should par­take in the dis­cus­sion and deci­sions. At least, that is the great premise of the game. It should be played in the run-up to large-scale con­struc­tion and urban devel­op­ment projects, say those who devel­op the game to suit local con­texts, to expe­dite con­sen­sus build­ing, sup­port deci­sion mak­ing, and resolve conflicts.


Project

Play the City


Actors

Ekim Tan, Txell Blan­co, Chris­sy Gaglione, Sjors Martens, foun­da­tions; Hyun­woo Koo, Ulas Akin, Ekin Güneş Şan­lı, Müge Yor­gancı, collaboration


Year

Since 2008


Loca­tions

Var­i­ous

© Play the City
© Play the City
© Play the City
© Play the City
© Play the City

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Through the City, Again

© VG Bild-Kun­st, Bonn, 2020; Pho­to Angela Siev­er, Cour­tesy of Ger­hard Lang and Galerie Albrecht in Berlin

The Mobile Zebra Cross­ing is a portable device that can be deployed when encoun­ter­ing unwieldy street sit­u­a­tions. Its pur­pose is to make it easy for pedes­tri­ans to tra­verse in places where there are no legal cross­ing options. How­ev­er, because of the size and cor­re­spond­ing weight of the car­pet-cross­ing, it can­not be used by one per­son alone. It takes many who must be will­ing to car­ry and roll. The cross­ing of an oth­er­wise uncross­able street con­se­quen­tial­ly becomes a col­lec­tive action, a kind of protest march. While this arti­fact may seem play­ful, it also points to the stub­born­ly per­sis­tent seg­re­ga­tion of var­i­ous groups in urban space. Cel­e­brat­ing the most sus­tain­able of all modes of trans­porta­tion, the Mobile Zebra Cross­ing engages in ques­tions about how a just city for pedes­tri­ans might look.


Project

The Mobile Zebra Crossing


Artists

Ger­hard Lang with Hel­mut Aebis­ch­er, Ruth Jureczek and numer­ous walk­ers and artists


Year

1993


Loca­tion

Kas­sel, Germany



Ger­hard Lang, The Mobile Zebra Cross­ing (1993). A pro­ces­sion of 600 peo­ple moves through the streets, back­yards and park­ing lots in the cen­ter of Kas­sel and, in hon­or of the founder of the sci­ence of walk­ing, Lucius Bur­ck­hardt, rolls out the car­ried car­pet wher­ev­er nec­es­sary to cross large routes. © VG Bild-Kun­st, Bonn, 2020; Pho­to Angela Siev­er, Cour­tesy of Ger­hard Lang and Galerie Albrecht in Berlin
© VG Bild-Kun­st, Bonn, 2020; Pho­to Angela Siev­er, Cour­tesy of Ger­hard Lang and Galerie Albrecht in Berlin
© VG Bild-Kun­st, Bonn, 2020; Pho­to Angela Siev­er, Cour­tesy of Ger­hard Lang and Galerie Albrecht in Berlin

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A Somewhat Different Ministry of Space

Again and again, Min­istry of Space also works with choirs and musi­cians. Here: the choir of the nurs­ing home in the Bežani­js­ka Kosa dis­trict dur­ing a per­for­mance in the Ulič­na galer­i­ja (street gallery). The gallery, which has exist­ed since 2012, occu­pies a pub­lic pas­sage­way in the cen­ter of Bel­grade for fleet­ing moments. The events that have tak­en place-as many as 150 solo and group exhi­bi­tions and 80 oth­er event-are intend­ed to pro­mote a forum for a crit­i­cal dis­course on urban pol­i­cy issues out­side of com­mer­cial gal­leries and muse­ums. © Kamerades

Even if Min­istry of Space sounds quite offi­cial, it is not a state-run min­istry. Con­cealed behind the name is a small group of activists com­mit­ted to social jus­tice. Thus, the group fights for a city that ben­e­fits all those who live there. They fight against cor­rupt prac­tices, the mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of pub­lic mon­ey, and—as they argue—abuses of pow­er by polit­i­cal play­ers. In this way, the activists mon­i­tor, ana­lyze, and crit­i­cal­ly com­ment upon large-scale urban devel­op­ment projects by transna­tion­al cor­po­ra­tions and the pri­va­ti­za­tion of pub­lic assets. They scru­ti­nize the con­struc­tion of lux­u­ry res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties or shop­ping cen­ters. Through their work, the group thus sup­ports a broad protest cul­ture that demands civ­il soci­ety inclu­sion in urban pol­i­cy events.


Project

Min­istarst­vo Pros­to­ra (Min­istry of Space)


Actors

Iva Čuk­ić, Jovana Tim­o­ti­je­vić, Radomir Lazović, Dobri­ca Veseli­nović , Marko Aksen­ti­je­vić, Min­istarst­vo Prostora


Year

Since 2011


Loca­tion

Bel­grade, Serbia

Protest Ne davi­mo Beograd. © Marko Rupena
The giant yel­low duck became the sym­bol of the ini­tia­tive “Don’t let Bel­grade D®own”, which made pub­lic the trans­for­ma­tion and dis­place­ment process­es along Belgrade’s river­side, protest­ing against forced evic­tions of exist­ing build­ings and the relo­ca­tion of impor­tant infra­struc­ture for the con­struc­tion of exclu­sive res­i­den­tial and office build­ings. © Min­istarst­vo prostora
Don’t Let Bel­grade Drown © Min­istarst­vo prostora
Don’t Let Bel­grade Drown © Min­istarst­vo prostora
© Iva Čukić

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City in Transition

© Ste­fan Marx

The Wek­er­le estate in the south­east of Budapest has been part of the world­wide Tran­si­tion Town Net­work for sev­er­al years, which address­es the glob­al chal­lenges of the cli­mate emer­gency and devel­ops prac­tices for local pro­duc­tion as well as re-use. Alter­na­tive ener­gy con­cepts are devel­oped, food sov­er­eign­ty is cre­at­ed, sus­tain­able con­struc­tion and emis­sion-free mobil­i­ty are pro­mot­ed. In Wek­er­le, par­tic­u­lar empha­sis is placed on com­mu­ni­ty-sup­port­ed agri­cul­ture, organ­ic hor­ti­cul­ture is pro­mot­ed through cours­es, seeds of local veg­etable vari­eties are trad­ed on exchange plat­forms, and com­post is sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly col­lect­ed. The local gov­ern­ment has rec­og­nized this approach’s poten­tial and sup­ports it—despite some resistance—with mate­r­i­al and finan­cial resources. And so, a com­mu­ni­ty house has been built, a com­mu­ni­ty gar­den laid out, and the mar­ket place redesigned.


Project

Áta­lakuló Wekerle


Con­trib­u­tors

Áta­lakuló Wek­er­le szervezöi kör, munic­i­pal­i­ty, numer­ous local ini­tia­tives as well as the Hun­gar­i­an Tran­si­tion Town Ini­tia­tive and the inter­na­tion­al Tran­si­tion Towns Network


Year

Since 2009


Loca­tion

Budapest, Hun­gary

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Technical Assistance for an Informal Settlement

The work with the neigh­bor­hood of Ter­ras da Cos­ta is not an iso­lat­ed case for ate­lier­mob. For a long time now, the office has been work­ing on sim­i­lar neigh­bor­hoods, advo­cat­ing bet­ter equipped, legal hous­ing for peo­ple in infor­mal set­tle­ments and pro­vid­ing tech­ni­cal assis­tance. The archi­tects see this work as an exten­sion of the archi­tec­tur­al pro­fes­sion, which so often only cares about for­mal and aes­thet­ic mat­ters, but com­plete­ly ignores social and eco­nom­ic rela­tion­ships. © Fer­nan­do Guerra

South of Lis­bon, in the hin­ter­land of hotels and apart­ment com­plex­es, is the not yet legal­ized Ter­ras da Cos­ta quar­ter. In 2012, the idea of set­ting up a com­mu­nal kitchen was born in the neigh­bor­hood. Their pro­pos­al was tied to hopes that author­i­ties would agree to install a water sup­ply and there­by start the legal­iza­tion process of the set­tle­ment. The archi­tec­tur­al office ate­lier­mob and many oth­er groups, ini­tia­tives, and indi­vid­u­als sup­port­ed this ambi­tion in var­i­ous ways. Some con­tributed their work direct­ly, oth­ers posi­tioned them­selves in sol­i­dar­i­ty, and foun­da­tions fund­ed the project. After about two years, water final­ly flowed to Ter­ras da Cos­ta. But many oth­er aspects remained unre­solved or have not been decid­ed polit­i­cal­ly, so that set­tle­ments in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions have to con­tin­ue the fight for their rights to the city.


Project

Coz­in­ha Comunitária das Ter­ras da Cos­ta (Com­mu­ni­ty Kitchen of Ter­ras Da Costa)


Actors

ate­lier­mob and Colec­ti­vo Ware­house, archi­tects; res­i­dents of Ter­ras da Cos­ta, con­struct­Lab, support


Year

2014


Loca­tion

Ter­ras da Cos­ta, Lis­bon, Portugal

The infor­mal set­tle­ment of Ter­ras da Cos­ta south of Lis­bon. © Fer­nan­do Guerra
The legal­iza­tion of the set­tle­ment was nev­er at issue. Instead, the neighborhood’s coop­er­a­tion with the archi­tec­tur­al bureau has result­ed in the pri­or­i­ti­za­tion of a water con­nec­tion that is polit­i­cal­ly fea­si­ble. © Fer­nan­do Guerra
The water sup­ply runs through the kitchen and serves hygiene and san­i­tary func­tions. © Fer­nan­do Guerra
© Fer­nan­do Guerra

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Community-Building Constructions

Casa do Vapor, Lis­bon (2013). Togeth­er with many local col­lab­o­ra­tors, the inter­dis­ci­pli­nary col­lec­tive Con­struct­Lab built and used this build­ing on the south side of the Tejo, which was simul­ta­ne­ous­ly an open-air class­room, pub­lic library, kitchen, bicy­cle repair shop, skate ramp and play­ground, and a piz­za oven. It was built with recy­cled wood from anoth­er project and was sim­ple enough for chil­dren to par­tic­i­pate as well as adults. Even though the tem­po­rary struc­ture had to be dis­man­tled at the end of the sum­mer, the social links and bonds that had been formed over the short peri­od are still evi­dent today. © Alexan­der Römer

The works of con­struct­Lab unfold in the cos­mos between imag­i­na­tion and life. But the focus of the collective’s work is not on cre­at­ing fixed and unal­ter­able facts. Instead, they active­ly seek ways to give form to the desires and hopes expressed in appro­pri­a­tions. The Baukiosk takes on the role of a sym­bol in this con­text. As a com­plex struc­ture, it embod­ies a par­tic­u­lar form of city-mak­ing that combines—or delib­er­ate­ly collides—differing inter­ests with dif­fer­ent oppor­tu­ni­ties. Thus, the kiosk is a meet­ing place as well as a col­lec­tion point. Ana­log bill­board and dig­i­tal dis­play. Infor­ma­tion sys­tem and rest­ing point. It is always many things and every­thing at once.


Project

Baukiosk


Actors

con­struct­Lab


Year

2020


Loca­tion

Berlin, Ger­many

© Alexan­der Römer
The Arch, Genk (2017). Designed as an exper­i­men­tal lab­o­ra­to­ry, this project was ded­i­cat­ed to rethink­ing the his­to­ry of the small Bel­gian town. For­mer­ly dom­i­nat­ed by min­ing and indus­tries, the ques­tion of the future of Genk was at the cen­ter of events and work­shops. © Julie Guiches

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A Different Kind of City Kitchen

The kitchen of Urban Space 100 finances a vari­ety of urban projects ini­ti­at­ed by civ­il soci­ety, such as the ren­o­va­tion of cul­tur­al her­itage, street music days, com­put­er work­shops for chil­dren or recy­cling sta­tions for plas­tics. © Teple Misto

When Yuriy Fylyuk and his friends moved from Kyiv to Ivano-Frankivsk in the sum­mer of 2008, they found a place with scarci­ties of all sorts. Out of this, Teple Mis­to or Warm City emerged—a net­work that today includes around six­ty local com­pa­nies. A restau­rant became one of the plat­forms for the group’s activ­i­ties and serves as a place for meet­ing as well as exchange. One hun­dred peo­ple par­tic­i­pate as co-financiers in the Urban Space 100 project. Since 2015, parts of the restaurant’s prof­its have gone into a pot that finances and sup­ports ini­tia­tives, small and larg­er projects. The mon­ey col­lect­ed in this way has already been used to restore his­toric build­ing entrances, pro­cure com­put­ers for med­ical facil­i­ties, and orga­nize sport­ing events and festivals.


Project

Urban Space 100


Actors

Yuriy Fylyuk and Wifty-two oth­er busi­ness­men, found­ing Teple Mis­to; Yuriy Fylyuk and six friends, devel­op­ing the idea of Urban Space 100; Teple Mis­to, man­ag­ing Pro­stir 100; 100 co-founders, Winanc­ing Pro­stir 100; Pro­stir 100 (NGO), allo­cat­ing grants; Restoran 100, restau­rant oper­a­tor; 23 Restoran, restau­rant man­age­ment company


Year

Since 2014, restau­rant opening


Loca­tion

Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine

The Urban Space 100 at 19 Mykhaila Hru­shevsko­ho Street in Ivano-Frankivsk—a com­bi­na­tion of restau­rant, radio sta­tion and com­mu­ni­ty center—has been around since 2014. The idea for this place was gen­er­at­ed by the Teple Mis­to Plat­form, which was respon­si­ble for the pub­lic rela­tions work for the project and was also look­ing for the founders: 100 peo­ple, all of whom want­ed to play an active role in shap­ing their liv­ing envi­ron­ment. They do this by invest­ing 80% of the prof­its from the restau­rant in social­ly com­mit­ted and non-prof­it projects. On four dates a year, the mem­bers select projects that should be fur­ther sup­port­ed. © Teple Misto
© Ste­fan Marx

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