During the summer of 2022, as part of the Draußen Stadt program, the ‘Apartment on Wheels’ (A.O.W) was born as an extension of the already well-known W.O.W – Workshop on Wheels. This time, the project addressed central topics in today’s society in Berlin: the lack of suitable housing, the social differences between neighborhoods, and the importance of integrating citizens in the design of public spaces.
In two events, participants were invited to imagine what an “ideal flat” could be, and explore their experiences of living in Berlin. Questions such as “what home means to them?” and “what their ideal living situation would be?” started our conversations. Inspired by the initial exchanges, and through collective design, workshops, and cooking in the self-built improvised kitchen, we gradually co-created our dream communal living spaces.
The first event happened in Hellersdorf on the Place Internationale of nGbK. We and the W.O.W were welcomed with a storm. Under these circumstances, and a smaller bicycle W.O.W, we set up our camp. Over the next three days, together with residents, especially families coming from Afghan communities, we co-designed an experimental flat, and invited the neighborhood to join us, and dream together. The kids played an important role in this activation!
Our second event took place on a smaller scale in the newly built Europacity housing development in Moabit, behind Berlin’s main railway station. We teamed up with Florine Schüschke and Nora Spiekermann from Offener Kanal Europa as they organized an event to explore future possibilities for the area and how residents could play a role in activating their neighborhood. The development is striking at first glance with its large, modern apartment blocks and lack of community space. The stark contrast in location and visitors enabled us to gather very different ideas and views.
Overall both activities succeeded in bringing people together (particularly around the dinner table!) and triggered conversations, sparking interest in future neighborhood activations and local participative projects!