Organized group self-help

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The term organized group self-help is a fixed definition within housing construction and housing subsidy in Germany ( Section 12 Housing Subsidy Act ). Structural self-help is the replacement of a lack of equity in residential construction with personal contribution. Organized group self-help in housing construction has a long tradition and is a common form of housing construction in many countries. In Germany, Austria and Sweden the roots go back to the beginning of the 20th century. Especially in the housing shortage after the First and Second World War , but also since then there have been hundreds of projects of the most varied types, from single-family house construction of single houses and settlements to multi-storey apartment construction. Organized group self-help is widespread in the Third World, where it helps create housing for hundreds of thousands.

Types of self-help

The possible forms of self-help during construction can be roughly divided into three categories:

Individual self-help

At the beginning, the building party only explains which trades it will take on in their building project. These are used in the financing plan with their corresponding value. The occupation of the builder (e.g. as a craftsman ) is usually taken into account. Then the house is built with the participation of companies whose services the client cannot provide himself. The progress, especially the construction time, depends largely on the client himself.

Organized individual self-help

Here, planning is mostly done in a group (e.g. in the form of an association or a cooperative ). But from the start, each building party only works on their house according to a given schedule; it has to make sure that it stays in step when it comes to company involvement.

Organized group self-help

Organized group self-help is the common perception of the construction work done in a supervised form under professional guidance.

In this case, the entire group of self-helpers works - at least temporarily - on all houses. In the strictest form of group self-help, the group members do not even know which objects they will ultimately receive until the shell has been completed: the houses will only be raffled when the shell is in place, after which everyone is either alone or with the support of other group members. working in his / her home until completion. Nowadays, this strictest form of self-help is only possible with a property developer, since of course no individual land register entry is possible before the final allocation, therefore no property purchase and no lending can take place. With this variant, an individual design of the floor plans etc. is not possible. The form of organized group self-help that is mostly practiced nowadays is the variant that assumes that all group members work on all houses whose owners have been determined from the beginning. The model of organized group self-help continues the group process of finding and forming groups in all consistency in the structural implementation.

History of group self-help

In the past, organized group self-help was usually associated with the creation of so-called small settlements .

A small settlement was defined as "a form of part-time settlement for modest demands ... with parcels of 600 - 1000 m² per house and small cattle sheds (mandatory until 1965), for food self-sufficiency as a supplement to the settlers' income and ensuring a certain degree of crisis resistance .." (from a lexicon of the 1970s).

The idea of ​​the small settlement, on the other hand, and the idea of providing structural self-help as a substitute for private equity to build homes that enable permanent self-sufficiency, is rooted, also in its formal claim, ultimately in the ideas of the garden city movement of the early 20th century.

One of the founding fathers of the garden city movement - Ebenezer Howard - saw the garden city as “a future-oriented model of society that should combine the urban way of life and closeness to nature. A hopeful thought that was taken up by a liberal bourgeoisie against the background of growing criticism of the big cities and a dynamic industrialization with the aim of opposing the big city with alternative ways of life. Reconciliation of class differences and peaceful neighborhood. "

In Germany, the garden city movement was initially developed by architects such as Hermann Muthesius and later by personalities such as Bruno Taut into a generally applicable variant of social housing.

The small settlement and organized group self-help were institutionalized even before the Second World War. In 1931 in the "Third Emergency Ordinance of the Reich President to secure the economy and finances and to combat political riots".


  • Reduction of unemployment and for
  • Ease of livelihood for the unemployed

it was enacted by law.

After the war, organized group self-help for the construction of small settlements was carried out on a large scale, mainly under the umbrella of the German Settlers' Union , especially in Schleswig-Holstein , on the basis of the type buildings and model floor plans of the working group for contemporary building, but also in all other federal states.

Organized group self-help should serve as a substitute for state aid and a lack of equity. The existing housing shortage should be reduced. After the experiences of two wars, people should be capable of self-sufficiency.

The first settlements were built entirely in-house, including the production of the bricks or the rubble concrete, the construction of the streets and paths and the supply lines. The individual houses had gardens ranging in size from 1000 to 1500 m². Keeping small animals and equipping them with a small animal barn and utility room were part of the mandatory equipment of every building in a small settlement.

Until 1954 there was even a ban on connections to the sewer system so that one's own faeces could be used to improve the soil. Under these conditions, around 34,000 small settlements were built in organized group self-help in Schleswig-Holstein.

The social idea was - in addition to the principle that organized group self-help served the property formation of sections of the population who would otherwise not be able to do so - the promotion of community life and the sense of community (today we call this neighborhood-oriented living.) These goals belong z. B. for the German Settlers Association to this day to its principles. Community life means among other things

  • Community maintenance of the public green, water areas
  • Elderly care
  • childcare
  • Festivals and social events
  • Joint representation of interests

Organized group self-help is still practiced in some federal states and publicly funded.

Group self-help today

Nowadays, organized group self-help is used alongside the traditional principles, which in principle have not lost any of their topicality, as well as the

  • Rediscovering your own skills
  • Development of initiative
  • Promotion of community spirit and neighborhood living

Roger that.

Cost-effective construction should be made possible through joint purchasing of materials and the effective use of construction work.

Organized group self-help is of course possible in the publicly funded and unsupported areas. Both forms can also be combined with one another.

The basis of organized group self-help is the organization of the group, financial and construction management and the guidance of structural self-help.

Self-help support must not be confused with the usual site management by the architect. Since the self-help support is the guidance of (usually) structural laymen who build their own houses together after work, this support goes far beyond the construction management of craftsmen and requires specific knowledge and special commitment.

The publicly funded group self-help z. B. in Schleswig-Holstein has committed itself to energy-optimized construction, only low-energy houses are built according to the standards of the state of Schleswig-Holstein.

The space-saving construction is to be realized through compact construction methods on smaller and cheaper properties.

A homogeneous appearance of the settlement architecture through joint development of formal characteristics not only contributes to the architectural quality of such settlements, but is ultimately the product of democratic coordination within the planning and construction phase of a group housing project.

Implementation of group self-help

The work of the construction families takes place according to their technical skills and is organized and supervised by an experienced architect or foreman.

Group self-help is not illegal work ; this must be ruled out in any form.

If the applicants meet the personal requirements for funding, (housing) funding is provided.

At least self-help of more than EUR 20,000 (construction cost index, as of 2014) should be provided in the form of organized group self-help.

The value of self-help is to be recognized as a personal contribution that is saved compared to the usual costs of entrepreneurial services (see Section 12 (1) WoFG).

Organized group self-help is e.g. B. in Schleswig-Holstein from housing subsidies with public funds. A publicly regulated financial and construction management support is necessary. The settlers can form a community of settlers . However, the latter is not a must. Organized group self-help is also carried out by property developers and housing companies.

The basic ideas of group self-help and social group housing projects have the same roots.

Organized group self-help is a tried and tested procedure for publicly funded and non-publicly funded construction projects, when a lack of equity is to be replaced by self-help services (muscle mortgage) and the communal process of group coexistence should begin with the first groundbreaking, and not just when moving in.

Literature and Sources

  • Leibniz Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning V. (IRS) (Ed.): Organized group self-help in building your own home , Berlin, 1996 ISBN 3-9804917-0-6 .
  • Ministry for Urban Development, Housing and Transport Brandenburg (Ed.): " Organized group self-help " in: Sustainable Housing in the State of Brandenburg , Potsdam 2000.
  • Federal Minister for Regional Planning, Construction and Städtebau (ed.): Documentation and cross-sectional investigation of the model projects in the research focus "Organized group self-help in home construction ", Bonn 1991.
  • Kubina, Annemarie; Presentation on the occasion of the Grenchner Housing Days on November 5, 2002: " Experimental Housing in Bavaria ".
  • Hater, Katrin: Organized group self-help 1945-1956 in North Rhine-Westphalia . In: Siedlung 1992 , pp. 157–278.
  • Working group for contemporary building eV (Ed.): Through self-help to own home ; Volume 11 of the series "Building in Schleswig-Holstein" ; Kiel 1950.
  • Kirchhoff, Jutta / Jacobs, Bernd: Organized group self-help with the renovation of old buildings , Fraunhofer Information Center for Space and Construction IRB T 947, Stuttgart 1981.
  • Achterberg, Gerhard / Gajewski, Karl-Heinz: Possibilities, limits and successes in building your own home in self-help , Fraunhofer Information Center for Space and Construction IRB F 2048, Stuttgart 1986.
  • Weeber, Rotraut / Weeber, Hans / Kleebauer, Sabine / Gerth, Heike / Pohrt, Wolfgang: Personal contribution in building , Stuttgart 1999 ISBN 3-8167-4248-3 .
  • Dietmar Walberg: Guide for group housing projects and innovative living concepts. , Published by the Association for Contemporary Building eV Kiel 2015. ISBN 978-3-939268-22-2 .

Sources and footnotes

  1. Law on Social Housing Promotion (Wohnraumförderungsgesetz - WoFG) - § 12 Preferential measures, additional funding
  2. Astrid Holz, Dietmar Walberg, Rüdiger Muus: 6.3 Personal contribution / self-help / group self-help - forms of self-help. In: Guide to group housing projects and innovative living concepts. Edited by the Working Group for Contemporary Building eV Kiel 2015; ISBN 978-3-939268-22-2 , p. 103 ff
  3. ^ Working group for contemporary building eV (ed.): Series of publications Building in Schleswig-Holstein, Issue 39: "Small settlement designs SH-KS"; Kiel 1978
  4. Ebenezer Howard: Garden Cities of Tomorrow. London 1902
  5. ^ Hermann Muthesius: Small house and small settlement. Munich 1918
  6. z. B .: Working group for contemporary building eV (ed.): Series of publications Building in Schleswig-Holstein, Issue 13: Apartment types 1951 for the priority program and self-help. Kiel 1951
  7. Working group for contemporary building eV (ed.): Building in Schleswig-Holstein, Issue 11: By self-help to own home. Kiel 1950
  8. ^ Astrid wood, Dietmar Walberg, Rüdiger Muus: History of group self-help. In: Guide to group housing projects and innovative living concepts. Edited by the Working Group for Contemporary Building eV Kiel 2015; ISBN 978-3-939268-22-2 , p. 106 ff
  9. ^ Working group for contemporary building eV (Ed.): Series of publications Building in Schleswig-Holstein, Issue 15: "Experiences with self-help in housing"; Kiel 1951
  10. Astrid Holz, Dietmar Walberg, Rüdiger Muus: 6.3 Personal contribution / self-help / group self-help - forms of self-help. In: Guide to group housing projects and innovative living concepts. Edited by the Working Group for Contemporary Building eV Kiel 2015; ISBN 978-3-939268-22-2 , p. 103 ff
  11. Astrid wood, Dietmar Walberg, Rüdiger Muus: Organization of group self-help. In: Guide to group housing projects and innovative living concepts. Edited by the Working Group for Contemporary Building eV Kiel 2015; ISBN 978-3-939268-22-2 , p. 108 ff