By Christina Bacher
Tiny house, eco-house, self-catering farm, multi-generational house – bestselling author Anne Weiss talks about seven housing experiments in her new book. About how to not only have better living conditions, but simply have a better life.
She not only looked around the OASE (Oasis) in Cologne, home of the street newspaper DRAUSSENSEITER (The Outsider), but also asked herself how it will be possible to live with dignity in the future if housing policy does not change.
DRAUSSENSEITER: In your book, The Best Place to Live, you describe your exhausting but interesting search for a home. What sparked this search for somewhere to live? Was it the hole in the roof that the owner of your previous accommodation hadn’t repaired?
Anne Weiss: I first got involved with the issue because of the many awful things that have been happening recently in the housing market: wherever you look, there are people looking for somewhere to live.
Young people who can’t afford to move away from home to continue their education. 150m-long queues for viewings. A housing shortage of 700,000, according to a study by the Pestel Institute.
The fact that there are currently only 1.1 million social housing properties in all of Germany, which is about a quarter of the number we had at the end of the 1980s. I wanted to know why we are in this terrible situation right now.
There was also the situation you mentioned: when I moved to Berlin, I was happy to find an affordable place to live as an interim rental. I didn’t really want to have to move out of there, even though it was an old, unrenovated building.
But when the ceiling collapsed in my bathroom, directly above the toilet(!), that pushed me into properly looking for somewhere to live, and I thought, if I’ve got to look for somewhere, I might as well look for the best set-up I could find.
Like the Big Issue North on Facebook