English representation of our cooperative

We pre­pared a small repre­sen­ta­ti­on of our coope­ra­ti­ve as an Eng­lish lan­guage ser­vice for you. It may help you to get an over­view of what we do and what we are

Representation of our cooperative

The Selbst­Bau e.G. is a housing coope­ra­ti­ve, who­se main objec­ti­ve is the pro­vi­si­on of accom­mo­da­ti­on at mode­ra­te rent levels for its mem­bers. We run soci­al­ly-ori­en­ted and mixed-gene­ra­ti­on pro­jects, Fur­ther­mo­re, we work as a non-pro­fit orga­niza­ti­on, and, in a way that we stand out­side the main­stream of the housing mar­ket. We regard our­sel­ves as a grass-roots demo­cra­cy initia­ti­ve, our resi­dents play an acti­ve role in the coope­ra­ti­ve and fur­ther­mo­re, each house pro­ject its­elf is a finan­cial unit, so you can say responsible.

In addi­ti­on, our coope­ra­ti­ve pro­mo­tes high eco­lo­gi­cal stan­dards with regard to the con­s­truc­tion of buil­dings, ener­gy sup­p­ly and con­sump­ti­on and the sus­tainable manage­ment of the houses.

How do we understand housing cooperative

A coope­ra­ti­ve is a soci­al­ly-ori­en­ted busi­ness that is run by peo­p­le who invest time and money for their mutu­al bene­fit. The­se peo­p­le aim to achie­ve com­mon eco­no­mic, social and cul­tu­ral goals.

The main idea is based on the prin­ci­ples of the member’s pro­mo­ti­on, self-help, self-respon­si­bi­li­ty and self-admi­nis­tra­ti­on. In a coope­ra­ti­ve, the aid of mem­bers is the main point of work. For a housing coope­ra­ti­ve, it means that it pro­vi­des its mem­bers with sui­ta­ble accom­mo­da­ti­on. The mem­bers do not own a par­ti­cu­lar flat, but a vir­tu­al share of the cooperative.

History of the SelbstBau e.G.

Our coope­ra­ti­ve had its begin­nings in the Ger­man Demo­cra­tic Repu­blic (GDR) — in 1988. At this time, Ger­ma­ny was divi­ded into two sta­tes and so was Ber­lin. In the eas­tern and socia­list part of Ber­lin, the govern­ment plan­ned to pull down many buil­dings from the late 19th cen­tu­ry, to build new housing stock in form of pre­cast con­cre­te slabs in inner city areas.

In the east-dis­trict of Ber­lin, Prenz­lau­er Berg, the­re was one of the first suc­cessful citi­zen initia­ti­ves whe­re the local peo­p­le mana­ged to avo­id the ter­mi­na­ti­on of their hou­ses they lived in. The govern­ment gave up their for­mer ide­as; ins­tead, it plan­ned to pro­vi­de funds and to enga­ge in the main­ten­an­ce and refur­bish­ment of the houses.

Howe­ver, the pro­cess of refur­bish­ment of this old hou­ses in Ber­lin-Prenz­lau­er Berg, espe­ci­al­ly in Rykestras­se, fell in the time of the break-up of the socia­list govern­ment in GDR named East Ger­ma­ny in 1989 and the pro­cess of uni­fi­ca­ti­on of the two Ger­man states.

In the cour­se of uni­fi­ca­ti­on, the com­mon law and value sys­tem of the GDR was repla­ced with the poli­ti­cal and eco­no­mic sys­tem of the Fede­ral Repu­blic of Ger­ma­ny (FRG) named West Ger­ma­ny as it is known today. This included chan­ges in owner­ship struc­tures and the insti­tu­tio­nal regu­la­ti­on of the housing sec­tor. After 1989, the­re was the pos­si­bi­li­ty to buy or rent hou­ses in the for­mer socia­list part of Berlin.

At this time, housing and living con­di­ti­ons in East Berlin’s inner city are­as were quite poor, nota­b­ly the tech­ni­cal and ener­gy stan­dards of the housing stock. 

So, the Selbst­Bau e.G. was estab­lished in 1990 becau­se the legal con­s­truct of a housing coope­ra­ti­ve allo­wed the resi­dents of the hou­ses at Ryke­stra­ße num­ber 13/14 in the dis­trict of Ber­lin-Prenz­lau­er Berg to buy and refur­bish their hou­ses as well as to app­ly for govern­ment fun­ding. By doing so, they mana­ged to impro­ve living con­di­ti­ons and to keep the pro­per­ty under control.

In the next two years, other initia­ti­ves got in cont­act with the Selbst­Bau e.G., this star­ted a dis­cus­sion pro­cess within the Selbst­Bau whe­ther to expand the coope­ra­ti­ve and to purcha­se and include more hou­ses to gave other citi­zen initia­ti­ves the oppor­tu­ni­ty to acqui­re and refur­bish hou­ses with the sup­port of Selbst­Bau. By now our coope­ra­ti­ve had acqui­red 20 houses.

The Selbst­Bau main­ly invests in pro­jects whe­re they can be sure that the pro­s­pec­ti­ve resi­dents are inte­res­ted in con­tri­bu­ting actively to the deve­lo­p­ment of the pro­ject, for exam­p­le by using their man­power and other resour­ces. The Selbst­Bau its­elf is to be unders­tood as an umbrel­la asso­cia­ti­on for the dif­fe­rent resi­dent initiatives.

Structure of the SelbstBau

The regu­la­to­ry frame­work for a coope­ra­ti­ve is always made up of a board of direc­tors, an exe­cu­ti­ve board and an assem­bly of mem­bers. It is the same for the Selbst­Bau e.G.

Today, we have about 500 indi­vi­du­al mem­bers. Most of them are resi­dents in one of the 23 pro­jects from the Selbst­Bau e.G.; the­se peo­p­le form the assem­bly of members.

The assem­bly of mem­bers elects the board of direc­tors. The board of direc­tors con­sists of one mem­ber of each house. The board of direc­tors’ task is, among other things, to appoint the exe­cu­ti­ve board from the Selbst­Bau. At the moment, the exe­cu­ti­ve board has two mem­bers. They are respon­si­ble for the manage­ment of finan­ces, pro­per­ty and mem­bers as well as for the repre­sen­ta­ti­on of the Selbst­Bau e.G..

The exe­cu­ti­ve board is accoun­ta­ble to the board of direc­tors, and the board of direc­tors is accoun­ta­ble to the assem­bly of members.