Gentrification, affordable housing, and displacement are becoming evermore pressing issues as the cost of living increases in Berlin.
As figures recently published by the Berlin-Brandenburgischer Wohnungsunternehmen (Berlin Brandenburg Housing Authority) demonstrate, more and more social welfare recipients are being pushed out of attractive areas, such as Prenzlauer Berg, to the outskirts of the city.
Rental prices in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg alone have reached record highs of six Euro per square meter.
So it seems that Min to Max, a two-day international architecture symposium, couldn't have picked a better time to bring together architects, urban sociologists and others to discuss how "architects can contribute to a culturally and demographically diverse spatial and urban typology."
As part of the search for new housing strategies, the symposium in HAUeins will look at the development of modernism's minimum subsistence dwelling (Die Wohnung für das Existenzminimum). The modernist doctrine developed at the second CIAM conference held in Frankfurt in 1929 sought to improve living conditions for the working poor by setting a minimum standard for "dignified living."
The concept, which was widely applied in social housing projects after World War Two, has - 80 years later - become synonymous with the very social inequality it was meant to defeat. The divide can be seen in the "furthering social segregation in cities."
Architects globally are now redressing the notion of minimum subsistence dwelling with inexpensive yet attractive concepts that can be built all over the city and allow for social integration.
The symposium opens this Saturday with a series of presentations in German and a panel discussion including urban sociologist Andrej Holm among others. A number of English-language events will take place on Sunday.