Lause bleibt!

Background

The work complex at Lausitzer Straße 10 in Kreuzberg is a true prototype of the Berliner Mischung – the Berlin Mix. With authentic mixed use – covering living and work space – it is home to the kind of price-sensitive craft and trade businesses, precariously employed freelancers, artists, creatives, and small-scale companies and political initiatives that have long since been displaced from other parts of Kreuzberg by residential use and businesses able to pay higher rents.

In our struggle against displacement and for solidarity and sustainability in urban development, we are not alone. We see ourselves as part of an active neigbourhood which also includes projects like these:

Bizim KiezBündnis Zwangsräumungen verhindernKotti&Co.Haus der StatistikStadt von untenGloReiche NachbarschaftGoogle ist kein guter NachbarFuck off Google

The Berlin Mix in Danger

Displacement is also endangering the tenants of the Lause, whose continued existence there is threatened by a planned conversion of the work units into luxury apartments, luxury renovation, or sale for maximum profit. The livelihoods of many of the 150 people at the Lause are in real danger. In addition, there is the acute danger that with the loss of Lause, the neighbourhood would lose a key building block and provider of a diverse, often non-commercial possibilities for a large user base. This includes the vital work of Lause-based anti-fascist initiatives, such as NSU Watch.

Protecting Organic Social Structures

To deal constructively with the current situation, the tenants of Lausitzer Straße 10/11 have become organised established the Lause Lebt association to ensure that their voices are heard. We want to contribute our diverse skills, our large network (both local and international) and our commitment so that we can maintain the character of these buildings and develop them as a collective project. We have thus created a overarching vision, developed building blocks for our projects, sought out other organisations that share our aims, and thought hard about what we can achieve. As a place of solidarity, we want to open up Lause even further for the wider community: by redesigning and actively using the courtyards (with urban gardening and other projects) and the use of common spaces with an ambitious socio-cultural event programme (for the household collective and for the community), educational opportunities, community networking formats and a community canteen.

The Lause as a Place for Solidarity

To deal constructively with the current situation, the tenants of Lausitzer Straße 10/11 have become organised established the Lause Lebt association to ensure that their voices are heard. We want to contribute our diverse skills, our large network (both local and international) and our commitment so that we can maintain the character of these buildings and develop them as a collective project. We have thus created a overarching vision, developed building blocks for our projects, sought out other organisations that share our aims, and thought hard about what we can achieve. As a place of solidarity, we want to open up Lause even further for the wider community: by redesigning and actively using the courtyards (with urban gardening and other projects) and the use of common spaces with an ambitious socio-cultural event programme (for the household collective and for the community), educational opportunities, community networking formats and a community canteen.

To turn our ideas into reality, we are prepared to invest work and expertise – to assume and shoulder responsibility. There are a few preconditions to us being able to achieve all this:

1. Careful renovation

2. No changes to the rents currently being paid

3. The right to help decide in the selection of future tenants

4. Communal areas in the courtyards and buildings

In our view, these are only possible with political and support and the support of the property owner. As a model project for the city of the future, Lause Lebt! offers amazing benefits for the for the district and for the local community.

Buyback of the Buildings by the City

The public sector (in the form of Wohnungsbaugesellschaft Berlin-Mitte, a housing association) buys the property.

1a) The WBM carries out careful renovation of the buildings. A long-term general rental contract would be signed by the Lause Lebt! association. The association would thus assume various responsibilities (such as default risk for vacant units) but in return would get full scope to make a reality of its concept plan (enabling solidarity rents, carrying out the bulding-block projects)

1 b) Lause lives! founds a cooperative and takes over the buildings via Erbpacht (leasehold). Over the coming decades, the initiative is then able to manage, shape, and organise the property. The renovation would carried out with the support of subsidies (e.g. from special urban planning regulations like Städtebaulicher Denkmalschutz [Protection of Urban Architectural Heritage]/urban redevelopment/GRW investment), equity in the form of cooperative shares and a loan (e.g. GLS Bank)

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A Framework Contract for All Work Tenants

The buildings remain in the ownership of Jørn Tækker. The association concludes a framework or general rental agreement with the owner. The agreement regulates rent levels, duration, occupancy and common areas. The careful renovations which are needed would be implemented by Tækker, if necessary with support from public sector (e.g. analogous to the “self-help” housing policy of the 1990s).

The contract will only apply to the work units, and to at least all currently occupied work units, which will become part of the joint rental contract. For the contract, the contractual partner of the property owner would be either the association or a cooperative, either of whom would arrange sublet contracts with the current tenants and look after filling any units which became free.

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