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.