Social Construction Management in the Rheinpreußensiedlung, Duisburg
The residents' association Rheinpreußensiedlung carried out the modernisation of the flats in occupied houses. The so-called "Social Construction Management" was a key element. This made it possible for elderly people in particular to stay in their flats during and after the building work.
This urban district is characterised by industrial plants from the coal and petrochemical industry, and also crafts enterprises. Most of the houses in the Rheinpreußensiedlung are houses for four families. An extension behind the house, which was used as a toilet and pigsty, is typical of the houses. A front and back garden belonged to every flat, which made it possible for the families to support themselves. In the 1960s, the area-wide redevelopment of miners' settlements in the Ruhr area started. Many settlements were sold. Since then, around 1200 flats have been demolished in the Rheinpreußensiedlung and tower blocks with up to 20 storeys have been erected in their place. A further 200 flats are now private property.
The residents opposed the demolition. In 1984, the Wohnungsgenossenschaft Rheinpreußensiedlung eG (Housing association Rheinpreußensiedlung eG) was founded. Up until then, this was the first instance of the foundation of a "residents' association" in Germany. Since that time, the residents have managed their flats themselves.
When the association purchased the flats in 1985, they were in very bad condition. The former owner - the Rheinpreußen mine - had not invested in the houses in the previous 20 years.
The Rheinpreußensiedlung was a redevelopment area. The redevelopment was carried out from 1980 to 2000. The City of Duisburg commissioned the associationto carry out the modernisation according to the redevelopment aims. The association started with no capital and had to develop a special financing concept for the modernisation. The modernisation measures were carried out while the tenants stayed in their flats so that no rents were lost. Furthermore, considerable personal contributions were made. In addition to this, there wasso-called "work showing solidarity" for old, ill and disabled people.
The modernisation of the inhabited flats was a significant burden, inparticular for the elderly. This is where the assistance had to step in. In order to make the situation during the modernisation easier for them, a system with a variety of practical support measures was developed. This "Social Construction Management" was implemented. The members of the "Social Construction Management" made a significant contribution to the steering of the building process and worked closely with the architects. Thanks to the financing concept and the intensive accompaniment, it was possible to modernise all flats and the elderly residents were able to stay in their flats.
By converting a former dairy, the meeting place Rheinpreußenhaus e.V. was created - a central contact and meeting point for the settlement's residents.
Buildings were repaired. Adaption measures as well as partly modernisation measures were applied. A Social Construction Management was established. Other measures were the deconstruction of streets, broad pavements, traffic calming and street lightening etc. Important was also the creation of community facilities for social and cultural events and the linking of professional and voluntary care and support offers.
The flats in the Rheinpreußensiedlung were modernized in a socially compatible way, especially for elderly people.
Thanks to this economic modernisation, it was possible to keep the rents low. However, some problems and obstacles for elderly residents could not be solved from an architectural point of view because of the constructional situation. Thus, it was not possible to convert the houses for wheelchair access.
The project was funded and evaluated between 1989 and 1992 as a model plan in the research project "Ältere Menschen und ihr Wohnquartier" (Elderly People and their Neighbourhood) in the federal research programme "Experimenteller Wohnungs- und Städtebau" (Experimental Residential and Urban Development) - ExWoSt.
Wohnungsgenossenschaft Rheinpreußensiedlung eG