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At Home With The Unhoused; Conversations With Men And Women Living On The Streets of Berlin

A THESIS INVESTIGATION SUBMITTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE

MASTER OF ARCHITECTURE

BY Kathrin Lรถer

THESIS COMMITTEE: Wes Janz, PhD (Chairperson) Associate Professor of Architecture Nihal Perera, PhD Associate Professor of Urban Planning Olon Dotson Assistant Professor of Architecture

BALL STATE UNIVERSITY MUNCIE, INDIANA November 2006


At Home With The Unhoused; Conversations With Men And Women Living On The Streets of Berlin

A THESIS SUBMITTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL IN PARTIAL FULLFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE MASTER OF ARCHITECTURE

By Kathrin Lรถer COMMITTEE APPROVAL

Committee Chairperson

Dr. Wes Janz Associate Professor of Architecture

Date

Committee Member

Dr. Nihal Perera Date Associate Professor of Urban Planning

Committee Member

Olon Dotson Assistant Professor of Architecture

Date

DEPARTMENT APPROVAL

Department Chairperson

Jon Coddington Professor of Architecture

Date

GRADUATE OFFICE CHECK Dean of the Graduate School

Date


Abstract Thesis:

At Home With The Unhoused; Conversations With Men And Women Living On The Streets of Berlin

STUDENT: DEGREE: COLLEGE: DATE: PAGES:

Kathrin Löer Master of Architecture II College of Architecture and Planning November 2006 143

And no matter what architects do, somebody else is doing something more interesting than architects would ever dream of.

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Homeless individuals in Berlin can be included into the group of people who do something more interesting than architects would ever dream of. With their knowledge of the city and the ability to claim spaces, they create their home within the city context. They use the city and what the city offers, to their advantage and create their homes with what is available in the city. They are not homeless. For the “city users” the city becomes home- the city home. To tell the stories of individuals who make the city their home, this thesis describes the daily routine of several individuals (with insights gained from a two-month internship) and appreciates these people for how they manage to survive somewhat independently on the streets of Berlin. It is argued that these individuals are not future clients for architects. Instead, it is suggested that we -architects, designers, planners, policy-makers, and others – have much to learn from those we consider to be homeless.


Acknowledgements The preparation and culmination of this thesis involved the minds and souls of many people at home Berlin and Ball State University, Muncie.

First, I would like to thank my family for their interest and support in the choices I made in life: They have always been with me through successes and failures.

I wish to express my gratitude to the students of Ball State University, especially the graduate students of CAP, for the cultural experience and the time I spent with them in studio.

Thanks to my thesis committee who gave their valuable time and intellectual resources to the realization of this thesis. Special thanks to Dr. Wes Janz whose intelligent questioning, creative insight and open mind have clarified my ideas and guided me to a new way of architectural thinking.

I would like to thank the street workers of Treberhilfe Berlin for providing me with the opportunity to get to know the extraordinary individuals who live on the streets of Berlin.

Last and most importantly I would like to thank all the individuals I got to know during my fieldwork on the streets of Berlin. Without their knowledge and way of life my thesis would not have been possible. Special thanks to Harry who introduced me to different individuals living on the streets of Berlin and to Kalle, Rene, Thomas and Fred for telling me their stories. I am thankful that I got to know every one of them.


Table of Content Abstract........................................................................................................................................... iii Acknowledgements........................................................................................................................... iv Table of Content ...............................................................................................................................v Table of Pictures ............................................................................................................................. vii Table of Figures ............................................................................................................................. viii 1. Introduction ................................................................................................................................. 1 1.1 Problem Statement: ................................................................................................................ 2 1.2 Aim and Scope: ...................................................................................................................... 3 1.3 Overview of the study: ............................................................................................................ 3 2. Literature Review ......................................................................................................................... 5 2.1 Development of my view on architects and architecture ............................................................. 7 2.2 Architecture for People ............................................................................................................ 8 2.3 Architecture by People ............................................................................................................ 9 2.4 Architecture with People: Exchange of Knowledge ....................................................................11 2.5 Homeless Architecture: ..........................................................................................................12 2.6 Use of the city .......................................................................................................................15 2.7 Architecture of the homeless in Germany, Berlin.......................................................................20 2.8 Conclusion: ...........................................................................................................................20 3. Design Review ............................................................................................................................22 3.1 City Sleepers by Donald McDonalds (1987) .............................................................................23 3.2 Das ParkHotel by Gunda Wiesner und Andreas Strauss (2004).................................................24 3.2 Das ParkHotel by Gunda Wiesner und Andreas Strauss (2004).................................................25 3.3 Urban Furniture for Homeless by Sean Godsell (2002- 2003) .....................................................27 3.4 First Step Housing Units- Kit of Parts .......................................................................................29 3.5 Instant Housing by Winfried Baumann (2002) .........................................................................31 3.6 Homeless Vehicle by Krzysztof Wodiczko (2002) .....................................................................32 3.6 Homeless Vehicle by Krzysztof Wodiczko (2002) .....................................................................33 3.9 Shelter Kit by Ruimtelab and Linders & van Dorssen (1999).......................................................38 3.10 The Water Roller by Marjetica Potrc (2004) ............................................................................40 4. Research Methodology .................................................................................................................42 4.1 Methodology .........................................................................................................................43 4.2 Conclusion ............................................................................................................................45 5. The Meaning of Home and Homelessness ......................................................................................47 5.1 The meaning of home ............................................................................................................48 5.2 The meaning of homeless.......................................................................................................49 5.3 Redefinition of the term homeless ...........................................................................................52 5.4 Conclusion: ...........................................................................................................................53 6. Facts about individuals living on the streets in Germany, Berlin .......................................................55 6.1 Facts ....................................................................................................................................56 6.1.1 Approximation of the number of individuals living on the streets in Germany........................56 6.1.2 Composition of the population of people living on the street ...............................................57 6.1.3 Duration of living on the street.........................................................................................58 6.1.4 Reason that lead to a life on the street .............................................................................58 6.1.5 Help System: ..................................................................................................................59 6.1.6 Public view on the individuals living on the streets of the city..............................................59 6.2 Context: Berlin, Germany .......................................................................................................60 6.2.1 Inhabitants/ Population: ..................................................................................................60 6.2.2 Facts about the individuals living on the street in Berlin:.....................................................60 6.2.3 Over night stay habits .....................................................................................................61 6.2.4 Duration of the life on the street ......................................................................................61 6.2.5 Housing conditions:.........................................................................................................62


6.2.6 Emergency shelter facilities other supportive institutions: ...................................................63 6.3 Conclusion ............................................................................................................................69 7. The City as Home ........................................................................................................................72 7.1 Railway station as a focal point ...............................................................................................73 7.1.1 Ostbahnhof (East Railway Station)....................................................................................73 7.1.2 Alexanderplatz: ...............................................................................................................79 7.1.3 Zoologischer Garten, (Bahnhof Zoo): ................................................................................81 7.1.4 Conclusion:.....................................................................................................................84 7.2 City map of everyday home ....................................................................................................86 7.2.1 Kalle: A life on the street ................................................................................................87 7.2.2 Appropriate Design Idea for Kalle .....................................................................................94 7.2.3 Rene: A life on the Street ..............................................................................................95 7.2.4 Thomas: A life on the street .......................................................................................... 102 7.2.5 Appropriate Design Idea for Thomas............................................................................... 111 7.2.6 Fred: A life on the street................................................................................................ 113 7.2.7 Appropriate Design Idea for Fred.................................................................................... 120 7.2.8 Comparison of the different home maps: ........................................................................ 121 7.2.9 Conclusion.................................................................................................................... 123 7.3 Self Portrait:........................................................................................................................ 124 7.3.1 Self Portrait Rene .......................................................................................................... 125 7.3.2 Self Portrait Kalle .......................................................................................................... 126 7.3.3 Self Portrait Bianca........................................................................................................ 127 7.3.4 Self Portrait Babsi.......................................................................................................... 128 7.3.5 Conclusion.................................................................................................................... 129 7.4 Conclusion: The City User ..................................................................................................... 130 8. Conclusion ................................................................................................................................ 134 8.1 Findings .............................................................................................................................. 135 8.2 Reflection............................................................................................................................ 138 9. Design...................................................................................................................................... 139 Appendix ..........................................................................................................................................x Homeless Research Diary ...............................................................................................................x Personal experiences .................................................................................................................xviii Bibliograpy .................................................................................................................................... xxi Books:....................................................................................................................................... xxi Articles:.................................................................................................................................... xxii Web Sites: ................................................................................................................................ xxii Notes ...........................................................................................................................................xxiii


Table of Pictures Picture 7.1: Members of the group of individuals at the Ostbahnhof, photographed by Kalle (September 2006) .............................................................................................................................................78 Picture 7.2: Kalle, Picture taken with Kalle’s disposal camera...............................................................87 Usually he reads the newspaper, which he gets from the ....................................................................95 Picture 7.3: Rene, Picture taken with Kalle’s disposal camera ..............................................................95 Picture 7.4: Fred and the author, picture taken by Harry................................................................... 113 Picture 7.6: Pictures from Rene´s disposable camera ....................................................................... 126 Picture 7.7: Pictures from Bianaca´s disposable camera.................................................................... 127 Picture 7.8: Pictures from Babsi´s disposable camera ....................................................................... 128


Table of Figures Figure 2.1: Leftover spaces in Downtown Muncie ...............................................................................16 Figure 2.2 : What to steal from the city .............................................................................................17 Figure 2.3: Parasite City Map............................................................................................................17 Figure 2.4: Parasite Box plugged in...................................................................................................18 Figure 2.5: Parasite Box...................................................................................................................18 Figure 3.1:Specific unit plan .............................................................................................................23 Figure 3.2: City Sleepers occupation of SF .........................................................................................23 Figure 3.3: Design of ParkHotel ........................................................................................................25 Figure 3.4: Interior view ParkHotel ...................................................................................................26 Figure 3.5: Park Bench House ..........................................................................................................27 Figure 3.5: Bus Shelter House ..........................................................................................................28 Figure 3.6: Kit of Parts assembled.....................................................................................................29 Figure 3.7: Kit of Parts.....................................................................................................................30 Figure 3.8: 5 Different types of Instant Housings ...............................................................................31 Figure 3.9: Instant Housings in use around the world .........................................................................32 Figure 3.10: Homeless Vehicle in use ................................................................................................33 Figure 3.11: Different types of the Homeless Vehicle ..........................................................................34 3.7 Parasite Shelter by Michael Rakowitz (1997) ................................................................................35 Figure 3.12: Parasite shelter.............................................................................................................35 Figure 3.13: Urban Nomads Shelter ..................................................................................................36 Figure 3.14: Tool kit ........................................................................................................................38 Figure 3.16: Hippo Water Roller........................................................................................................40 Figure 3.17: Hand-Powered Lamp.....................................................................................................41 Figure 3.18: Mobile Telephone Charger .............................................................................................41 Figure 6.1 : Approximation of the number of people living on the streets in Germany............................57 Figure 6.2 : Composition of the population of people living on the street (percentage) ..........................58


Figure 6.3 : Approximation of the number of people living on the streets of Berlin ...............................61 Figure 6.4 : Duration of life on the street...........................................................................................62 Figure 6.5 : Emergency Shelter in Berlin............................................................................................64 Figure 6.6 : Night Cafés in Berlin ......................................................................................................65 Figure 6.7 : Wärmestuben in Berlin...................................................................................................66 Figure 6.8 : Soup Kitchens in Berlin...................................................................................................67 Figure 6.9 : Ambulance for homeless people in Berlin .........................................................................68 Figure 6.10 : Emergency Facilities in Summer ....................................................................................69 Figure 6.11 : Emergency Facilities in Winter.......................................................................................70 Figure 7.1 : Aerial View Ostbahnhof ..................................................................................................74 Figure 7.2 :Public areas which function as public spaces at Ostbahnhof................................................75 Figure 7.3 : Places which are used by individuals who spends parts a their day at Ostbahnhof ...............75 Figure 7.4 : Aerial View of Alexanderplatz..........................................................................................79 Figure 7.5 : Public areas which function as public spaces at Alexanderplatzf .........................................80 Figure 7.6 : Places which are used by individulas who spend part of a their day at Alexanderplatz..........80 Figure 7.7 : Arial View Zoologischer Garten .......................................................................................81 Figure 7.8 : Public areas which function as public spaces at Zoologischer Garten ..................................82 Figure 7.9 : Places which are used by individulas who spend part of a their day at Zoologischer Garten..83 Figure 7.11 : Kalle´s home map .......................................................................................................93 Figure 7.12 : Foldable chair..............................................................................................................94 Figure 7.13 : Rene´s home map ..................................................................................................... 101 Figure 7.14 : Thomas´s home map................................................................................................. 110 Figure 7.15 : Begging man ............................................................................................................. 111 Figure 7.16 : Panhandling box ........................................................................................................ 111 Figure 7.17 : Panhandling box attached to a tree ............................................................................. 112 Figure 7.18 : Fred´s home map...................................................................................................... 118 Figure 7.19 : Kalle´s home map, detail............................................................................................ 119 Figure 7.20 : Bottle Collector attached to trash can .......................................................................... 120


Figure 7.21 : Bottle Collector attached to backpack .......................................................................... 120 Figure 7.22 : Comparison of Home Maps ......................................................................................... 121 Figure 9.1 : Bottle Collector: BC1 .................................................................................................... 141 Figure 9.2 : Panhandling Box: PB1 .................................................................................................. 142


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1. Introduction


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1.1 Problem Statement: There are between 1 and 2 billion buildings on our planet. Architects are not involved in the creation of most of these buildings; instead the houses and places of business are constructed by the many self builders inhabiting the world.

It is estimated that the world population is going to rise by an additional 2 billion people by 2030, an increase of thirty- two percent. This growth will take place almost exclusively within the urban population. Every day 190,000 people are added to the urban population, two people every second. In the year 2030 it is expected that 4.9 billion people (60%) will live in urban areas. Furthermore it is said by UN- Habitat, that the focal point of global poverty is moving to the cities. But this growth of the urban population does not take place in every city in the world; Germany, the former Soviet Union and the “Rust Belt” of the United States, all exhibit the phenomenon of “Shrinking Cities”, places where the population is decreasing and structures provided within the city are not used anymore.

These cities offer different kinds of opportunities and distress for poor individuals who already live in the city or came to the city to start a new life.

Scholars like Neuwirth, Mike Davis and Chamber focus on the vibrant places of slums in overcrowded cities and analyse as well as accredit these settlements, many of them done by the poor themselves, as innovative ways of building and claiming space. Other scholars like Morton and Duneier analyze the homeless individuals in New York to present how they organize their society and spaces. So far little or no research has been done about how homeless people in Berlin try to claim space and use the city to their advantage.


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1.2 Aim and Scope: My aim of this research is to understand and present how homeless people in Berlin are organized to live within the city context of Berlin and how they claim and inhabit spaces.

When I returned to Berlin in the spring of 2006 after studying how homeless and poor people in Tokyo, New York and in other cities claim spaces by building illegal dwellings, I tried to find these self built dwellings in Berlin. However I could not find any kind of homeless architecture, built up out of cardboard boxes or plastic sheets. I couldn’t find in Berlin any traces of this kind of architecture done by the homeless in New York or Tokyo. Being aware of the fact that homelessness exists in Germany, I wondered how the individuals living on the streets survive in the city and create and use spaces to their own advantage without building their own.

I don’t want to idealize the situation homeless people find themselves in, but in a world where a billion people are living in slums, informal settlements or “squatting,” I think the individual and the way he or she creates a feeling of home needs to be recognized and better understood.

I want to portray homeless people as active human beings who adapt to and shape their environment to call it home.

1.3 Overview of the study: The second chapter is going explain my process in architectural thinking while studying at Ball State University and explain the development of my thesis topic.

The third chapter critically reviews design projects concerning homelessness done by other architects. It points out the difficulties in designing for homeless individuals and considers which project might be suitable for the homeless in Berlin.


4 Based on the second and third chapters, chapter four develops an appropriate research method and explains where the research on homeless people is going to take place and how the research topic is going to be approached.

The fifth chapter examines the literature concerning the topic of home and homelessness. The redefinition of home and homelessness opens the way for new strategies of how to create home by redefining the definition of home and homelessness.

Chapter 6 gives a short history and current data about the people who make the city their home in Germany, especially in the study area of Berlin, and sets out the background information for the main research.

Chapter 7 includes the main analysis on how people living on the streets of Berlin use the city to make it their home. In this chapter, the research methods are applied in the study area of Berlin, and the outcome of the research is going to be discussed.

Finally, the research is evaluated in Chapter 8, where the findings and reflections are discussed and a reflection on the whole project is drawn.

The outcome of the whole study is then transformed in a design project in Chapter 9.


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2. Literature Review


6 Just a year ago homelessness and architecture did not have anything in common for me. It seemed to me that concerns were as contradictory as they could be: individuals who create houses and individuals who have no home. The only connection at that point of time was the daily routine of going to the architecture building in Berlin and passing the groups of homeless every day. I did not even notice these individuals at that point of time. While studying architecture at TU Berlin my focus during the first three years was based on high style and historically important architecture and design. The existence of homeless in connection to architecture was blocked out of my thinking. On the one hand, there are historical and recently built buildings, designed by world known architects; on the other hand are the self built houses done by the poor and homeless people in Berlin. However I did not consider the last type of building as architecture. Depending on the worsening economic situation in Germany and with the rise of homelessness in the cities, homeless people are becoming more apparent in the city landscape. I recognized these changes without really understanding that there is much more to learn from people who design their environment starting with nothing and I started to consider these types of buildings as architecture.

After challenging myself to be open to the architecture of self-built architects I started realizing that the poor of the world including the homeless in Berlin should be recognized as creators of space maybe even as architects.

The first part of this chapter documents my development and changes in architectural thinking during the last year, while studying at Ball State University. The development of my thesis topic and the adoption of other scholarly thoughts into my way of thinking about architecture is going to be explained in the second part. Finally I am going to describe what these changes in architectural thinking mean for my research in the field of homeless architecture and development of my research methods.


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2.1 Development of my view on architects and architecture

During my undergraduate studies in Berlin, the main focus of education was based on the architecture and design of trained architects. My focus was on high-end architecture and design. In order to improve my knowledge in these fields I applied for a scholarship to study a year in the United States. My intentions were to connect to innovative designs and new technology. I came to Ball State University to expand my knowledge in these fields, which I did by taking several classes. But I soon started to realize that there is a different kind of architecture or “architectures,” present in the world which had not reached my thinking. Before I came to Ball State University I did not realize that there are so many more facets of architecture and that architecture is not only about the building, it is also about people.

When we were asked to come up with “10 things which matter for the design of the Living Box” in my first studio project, my way of thinking about architecture started to change. At this point in time I listed simplicity, adaptability, personality, uniqueness and opportunities as important factors for the design of the living box. All these attributes focused on the design of the living box and about how the box should be and look like instead of focusing on how the box should be developed on the basis of what the person who is going to move into the box needs and how this person would change and inhabit the space.

My first challenge became to put into focus the individual who is going to use the designed space instead of my personal interest in designing something unique and totally new. I started to realize that the person who is going to move into the created space afterwards is going to make it his or her unique space. The uniqueness of every individual is going to make the space unique, the individual is going to adapt the space in his/her own way and the creativity of every individual does build the opportunities to change the box while in use. The design, whether it is simple or not, provides the opportunity to let the design develop a personality, because of the individual which uses the space instead of the design. With this explanation all the above stated attributes which mattered to me at the beginning could be achieved


8 by one individual, even if the living box would just be a cardboard box. It is not the architecture itself or the design by which the goals I stated at the beginning are going to be achieved, it is the individual who is going to move into the design who will achieve the goals.

If that is true and people can adapt to any kind of spaces and make it their own I started asking the question: are educated architects and their design talents still needed? What about the buildings of ordinary people? Should not these ordinary people be called architects as well?

2.2 Architecture for People

Like many architecture students, my architectural education at TU Berlin was focused on examples of the most important buildings in history and a development of my own design ideas. While at Ball State, I started to realize that the personal level, the epistemology of knowing a person whom you are going to design for was missing. In one of my international planning classes, it became clear to me that it is important to understand the people architects are planning for as well as having the architectural background. Leonie Sandercook asks for an addition of epistemology of multicultural planning, in addition to what is usually taught in planning schools. For her, the next generation of planners should also be able to gain knowledge by “knowing through dialogue; from experience; through seeking out local knowledge of the specific and concrete; through learning to read symbolic, non-verbal evidence; through contemplation; and through action-planning.�

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I realized that this should also be true for architecture. An architect needs to understand the individual or individuals and the area he or she is planning for, to be able to design for the people’s needs. The architect has to develop sensitivity to different individuals and carefully, as well as critically, listen to them. He or she has to understand the area and its cultural influences as well as traditional building constructions. The architect should first recognize and acknowledge the communities and cultures that influence the area. The architect needs to analyze how the people who already live there use, live in, and


9 organize their spaces on their own and acknowledge what they have done. Architects need to listen to the people to understand their ways of life, their fears, stories, and emotions. The daily rhythm, the speed and the living circumstances can not be understood through the eyes of an educated architect by just going to the places and people he designs for, for a while.

Architectural approaches, slum upgrading for example, have failed in several attempts, because of the applied westernized standard which slum upgrading aims for. The westernized lifestyle should not be seen as a scale for development in the 3rd world. The architects need to understand what squatter settlements are like and what they can mean. One possibility to get this knowledge is to actually live there. If you really want to understand what squatter settlements are about, the architect actually has to go there, talk to the people and share his or her life with them. He or she has to become a member or has to try to become a member of the group for a certain amount of time to understand what it has already created on its own and what is still needed.

2.3 Architecture by People

I started to get interested in the self-built culture of squatter settlements around the world. Taking classes like International Planning and Planning in Multicultural Societies made me aware of the fact that most of the buildings built around the world are not like the building types architecture education is about. It is the architecture of the self builders, the “everyday buildings� 3, which dominates the rural and urban landscape. i It is the people who know the best what their needs are concerning context, function and materials, specific to their circumstances.

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180000 people are added to the urban population each day. 1 billion people, or 32 per cent of the world’s urban population, live in urban squatter settlements, the majority of them in the developing world. The population in urban areas in less developed countries will grow from 1.9 million in 2000 to 3.9 billion in 2030.


10 These kinds of settlements have grown profoundly throughout the world and are central to the housing needs of many cities, which lead to self-built housing areas. Inside these communities, people design and create their own spaces, often starting out with nothing. Their designs are based on their individual needs and options. They see scavenged objects as opportunities and use this way of challenging conventional uses of objects to build up their environment in an innovative way.

I used to see these areas with a negative undertone. Reports and literature I have seen, mainly showed the most intolerable of urban living conditions, such as insecurity of tenure, lack of basic services, especially water and sanitation, inadequate and sometimes unsafe building structures; problems with overcrowding; a high concentration of poverty of social and economic deprivation; and the only land accessible to slum dwellers is often fragile, dangerous and polluted.4

Scholars like Neuwirth 5, Mike Davis 6 and Duneier 7 present these areas differently. They are seeing these areas as opportunities rather than discarded areas. In their eyes the self builders of the world have developed their own ways of challenging convention to create a built environment, due to their limitation of availabilities. “We can learn from their example. The world’s squatters offer a different way of looking at land.” 8 The goal of improving and upgrading these areas equal to western standards is what most scholars are focusing on, instead of seeing the potential inside these built environments. Squatter settlements need to be appreciated as innovative communities instead of “the threatening symptoms of social malaise.” 9 In his book Rural Development- Putting the Last First, Robert Chambers argues that poverty is often unseen or misperceived by outsiders, as the poor are not like the observers. He contends that “researchers, scientists, administrators and fieldworkers rarely appreciate the richness and validity of rural people’s knowledge, or the hidden nature of poverty.”

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I realized and understood that squatters exist and that their constructions are a form of urban development. It can be said, that the biggest part of building construction is not done by educated architects, it is done by self builders. With their self gained knowledge of the place and knowledge of how


11 to construct shelter, they have developed their own architectures. “In a city that is more than 50 percent squatters, it is not the squatters who are the city within the city. Rather, the middle class and wealthy neighborhoods constitute the small, separatist enclaves. The well-off are the city within the city. The squatters are the majority, so they are the city. When they fully understand that, politics and policies will change for the better”.11 The self builders become architects and planners themselves, because the amount of houses needed in these areas is countless. Because of the fact that there are not enough educated architects available and not needed in these areas, the inhabitants become architects themselves and start building their own homes. Howard Davis states “There are between 1 and 2 billion buildings on earth.” and asks the question “How did they come to be, and how can the knowledge of their origins help to improve buildings in the future?”12

2.4 Architecture with People: Exchange of Knowledge

This learning from local experiments and appreciating of the innovation of local areas should then lead to an exchange of knowledge. Architects, developers, politicians and builders tent to impose their knowledge instead of exchanging their knowledge. On the one hand these groups of people need to implement the planning practices and building design of the self-builders of the area into their building culture and on the other side provide their professional knowledge to guide the people themselves through the design and building processes. The architects need to become building guides on the one hand and a student on the other hand. They need to be open for new knowledge learned from the self builders. “This (building) culture is a collective phenomenon: Thousands of different buildings are produced through shared processes held together by shared knowledge- of what to built and also of how to built- rather than through individual acts of creation.”13 Architects need to understand this culture of building and become a member of it. As architects we need to find our “power” in the people.


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2.5 Homeless Architecture:

Up to this point my thoughts and new gained knowledge has focused on the overcrowded slums in Asia and on how poor people in the third world design their own space and create their own environment. This kind of architecture takes place in the developed world as well. It takes place everywhere around the world. You need to look at poverty instead of blinding out that poverty is everywhere. The areas where poor people live in the western world might not be called slums, but self built construction, and innovative projects are present in western countries as well. The slum dwellers of the western world might not be called slum dwellers; they are the homeless (Germany), roofless (England) or shelterless (Japan), who develop their ways of living because they are poverty-stricken.

The present picture of these individuals in the common opinion and media is mainly focusing on their pitiful live. Scholars like the photographer Margaret Morton, architect Koyohei Sakaguchi, author Mickel Duneier and student Yukitoshi Nagashima are trying to present these individuals from a different kind of view. Instead of showing failure, the persons are showing the potential and the energy of the individuals who manage their life. These artists are trying not only to tell stories about individuals who survive on the street, but to tell their individual live stories as well. The scholars’ goal is to show how the individuals who are mainly labelled homeless live their life in the city and use everything they can find in innovative ways to design and create their own space.

The pictures of Margaret Morton, a New York photographer and author of the book Fragile

Dwellings, try to invert the pathos and aversion usually attached with the word homeless. Her photographs show something beyond the culture of despair; they show the architecture of the homeless. By looking at these pictures, you start to wonder how such shelters are built. One can start to admire these people for their creativity; you can even start to celebrate their passion and enthusiasm as an act of courage.


13 One of the picture stories Morton tells is the story of Pepe Otero.

After a fire in his apartment building in 1990, Pepe Otero lived for several months with dozens of other homeless people in New York City’s Tompkins Square Park. When city officials evacuated the park, he moved to a lot on the Lower East Side where a group of homeless people had constructed a community they called Bushville. Otero took over a makeshift dwelling that a friend had begun to build. Within two years, he had converted if from a one- room shack into a five-room home. “A friend of mine starts this [place]. And I improved it. [Now] everybody wants it.” Otero made his environment more comfortable by adding louvered bedroom doors and furnishing his living room with a sofa and statuaries given to him by friends in the neighbouring tenements. A front yard, fenced with plastic bread trays and old bedposts salvaged from the streets, gave his dwelling the appearance of a suburban home. Each addition that Otero made to his home brought it closer to the architecture of his homeland, Puerto Rico. As more people moved to Bushville, the village expanded to include 14 dwellings. Like Otero, all of the residents were Puerto Rican. Otero took the lead in giving visual unity to the community Houses lined both sides of the lot, and a central pathway ran between them. For Otero and other homeless, creating a home is an ongoing process that is constantly undermined. Bushville was bulldozed by the city in December 1993. With Morton’s assistance, Otero obtained public housing, but many others continued to fend for themselves on the street.14 The architecture of Pepe Otero is an architecture of discarded materials, which he uses in innovative ways. His knowledge of where to find these materials and how to put them together in a really simple way, with a small amount of effort and tools, makes his architecture unique and needs to be respected for what it is; The architecture of a home.

Okawara is another of these homeless architects. His creations of architecture can be found in Tokyo, Japan. His story is told by Koyohei Sakaguchi the Japanese architect and author of the book Zero

Yen Houses. His home: Carefully built, meticulously kept and collapsible for quick movement when the police move in. Elaborate triangular roofs, or intricate networks of metal piping to keep the structure standing. He said he has purchased many of the materials at the hardware store- like the spotlessly clean floorboards in his bedroom. “ It sometimes gets cold, but I like the view of the river,” Okawara said Okawara and his house often get harassed by police, who periodically drive them from riversides and parks. Okawara and the other homeless are used to this situation and deal with it in ingenious ways. Their houses are often collapsible, allowing inhabitants to quickly fold them away, only to rebuild them several hours later in the same place…. 15 The book’s images show cardboard boxes used as a structure for the plastic sheetings, covering the body for weather protection, or placed on the ground as floor material to sleep on. Architects can learn from


14 these people. Looking at and learning from these innovative ideas of self builders can give architects an inside view of the potential to reuse material and lead to a different way of thinking. In this way of thinking, self built structures have a lot to offer.

In his undergraduate thesis “Record of the hidden world of the homeless”

16

Yukitoshi Nagashima

analysed the construction of blue tarpaulin houses done by the homeless of Tokyo. While spending time with the homeless and talking to them Nagashima realised that "Homes of the homeless are ultimate private castles that reflect their unique lifestyles and innate personalities. Both the people and the homes were amazingly attractive. I got hooked."

17

He continued his research and studied 70 homes, 40 of which

are featured in his new book, Danboru House (Cardboard box houses), where he comes up with a guide for building a cardboard box bungalow that, if not quite capable of withstanding a quake itself, may at least provide sturdy post-disaster shelter.18 He analysed the extraordinary construction of these self builders and then generated guidelines for a different kind of architecture. He has learned from the poor.

Other homeless stories, from individuals living in New York, are told in words by Mitchell Duneier and in photographs by Ovie Carter in their book Sidewalk. Duneier did spend several years on Greenwich Avenue attempting to understand the inter-related systems and dynamics which make up urban centers of the homeless. He tried to understand the individual´s life and with it the structures which make it possible to survive on the street as these people do. He tells the story of

Mudrick, Randy, Ismael, Joe Garbage, Grady and Ron (along with as many as four hundred other people) slept two miles uptown from Sixth Avenue and Eight Street- in and around Madison Square Garden and Pennsylvania Station. Mudrick, Randy, Ismael, Joe Garbage, Grady and Ron slept on the 300 seats in the Amtrak waiting area, on the cracked terrazzo floored concourse between the Long Island Rail Road and the New York City Subway, and on several benches outside the station, in front of the adjoining Madison Square Garden, next to grates from which heat would rise in the winter. Mudrick, Randy, Ismael, Joe Garbage, Grady and Ron cleaned themselves each morning in the lower-level men’s lavatory between Nedick´s hot-dog restaurant and McAnn´s Bar. The restroom was the special province of permanent unhoused residents of the station. Many of the fast-food restaurants in the station donated their leftovers to the unhoused at the end of the day. Each of them found additional means of support in the station. Mudrick performed “ services” for Amtrak passengers who came off trains with loads of luggage but were unable to find a “ red cap”- an Amtrak employee charged with carrying bags. So they were often approached by Amtrak police and asked to leave, those who left would simply linger outside for a few minutes and then return ro the station through another entrance.


15

To an unhoused person, the station offers all of the amenities for day-to-day survival. It is heated in the winter and air-conditioned in the summer. When Amtrak denied them to sleep any longer in the station, Mudrick, Randy, Ismael, Joe Garbage, Grady and Ron slept on the grates of Madison Square Garden. Then they joined a group of 30 men who would take over an entire subway car, on the A train every evening to sleep. Between 10.30 pm and 11.00 pm every night, they would meet on the platform. The men say that there was an informal agreement between them and the transit police officers assigned to the station that they would been left alone when they were in a single car19. All these individual stories told by scholars around the world, make it even more clear to me how much energy and potential these people present and have. With their innovative ideas of designing spaces and building up shelter, they started to make me think about architecture and homeless people in a different way. I started to realize that there are so many extraordinary individuals out there whose stories have not been told and I began to wonder how I could start hearing stories. One should not underestimate the value of such stories and there are many of them out there. There are Pepes, Mudricks, Randys, Ismaels, Joe Garbages, Gradys and Rons everywhere in the world, but very few of their stories have yet been told.

2.6 Use of the city

You can find leftover spaces everywhere in the world. Leftover spaces which are shaped by objects or buildings which do exist in the city, but are not used by the people. For example: spaces between two buildings, spaces hidden in an otherwise unknown dark alley of a city, roof tops of buildings, spaces around railway lines, fire escapes, sidewalks or parking lots. “They are areas such as a 1-meter width space among many closely placed buildings, a small and subdivided piece of land, or a long and slender city block sandwiched between the road and the railroad. These unusual places are the byproducts of urban development and have been produced abundantly in Tokyo. This undefined space has come into existence in the marginal realm between the different city systems, or it is immanent in the city system itself!�

20

These leftover spaces can be of great value in overcrowded cities as well as other

cities where land is costly and the spaces offer great opportunities to be occupied. One simply has to


16 understand how to use and claim these unauthorized spaces to make them one´s own space and how to use what the city offers.

Figure 2.1: Leftover spaces in Downtown Muncieii

While working on the studio project, the design for a Living Boxiii with Jorie Ann Garcia and Cindy Schroeder, two of my classmates, we did a research in downtown Muncie to see what is available in the city to contain the box we were going to design. The living box, a portable and foldable structure, was meant to become a parasite of the city. While doing the research I realized that the city has much to offer and we were willing to steal it, to contain our Parasite Box. On the one hand we started asking the question what the city has to offer to maintain the box and on the other hand what the box can give back to the city. While crawling through the alleys and avoided spaces of downtown Muncie, we found that there are extraordinary places without any function or that are not fully utilized. Most of these places offered even more than just the space to unfold the Parasite Box.

ii

All diagrams and photographs by author, unless otherwise noted For information about the design competition and the outcomes of the competition see http://www.edilportale.com/livingbox/eng/headlines.asp (accessed October 18th, 2006).

iii


17 Figure 2.2 : What to steal from the city

The city offered several water sources (e.g. water hydrant, coffee shop, water tap, rain water) and electricity outlets (e.g. traffic lights, light pole, plug-in, billboards, electricity-wire), where the user of the Parasite Box plugs in. The city offers these availabilities at many different locations, which are easy to reach and could maintain the box with water and electricity. We started to map these availabilities in the city and came up with the Parasite City Map.

Figure 2.3: Parasite City Map

The analysis of downtown Muncie created a different view of the city. The new “Parasite City Map” shows the potential spaces where the “Parasite Box” could be placed, depending on what the individual needs. More than just occupying leftover spaces, the project tries to use the city and what it offers as a parasite of the city. One has to understand what is available, where one can get it, and what to do with what the city offers.


18

Figure 2.4: Parasite Box plugged in

Taking advantage of the leftover, forgotten, void spaces of the city, the user of the Parasite Box is able to spend his or her day hidden in an otherwise unknown, dark alley of a city or expand their evening as a beautiful glowing blemish on the faรงade of the cityscape. The user has his or her private space as soon as he or she enters the box and, on the other hand, the city becomes the living room when he leaves the box.

Figure 2.5: Parasite Box


19 Taking precedent from the homeless who try to find their own spaces to live, eat, sleep, and perform regular bodily functions all in the same place ( e.g. cardboard box), the Parasite Box is a different way of living by using a minimum amount a space, in contrast to the spacious, separate rooms of a home. While designing the Parasite Box we were trying to learn from these cardboard architects and city users and combining these survival strategies with new technology to extend the level of comfort.

Furthermore taking advantage of what is available in the city and coming up with a different use for these spaces and objects can become a different way of architectural thinking. Ordinary objects are usually labelled with a specific way of use and purpose. A flat piece of wood on 4 steel legs is seen as a table, with different conventional uses. If there is a need for the table to become something else, people become creative and reuse the object in different ways. It can become a bed, a storage place, a roof, a shelter, and much more. This is also true in architecture which follows certain conventions of building processes and the use of appropriate materials. Professional architectural thinking is mainly based on these conventions. Corbusier used to say that “Architects are blind” and that “they don’t look, they don’t see.”

21

He wants architects to look at objects in a more poetic way, challenging them to see the

functional purposes as well as the their phenomenological characteristics, “to see a glass without the desire to drink, the chair without the urge to sit, a door not as an opening to go from one space to another, but as a missing piece of wall.”22 Homeless people look at the city from this kind of view. They are using this kind of looking at object in innovative ways to survive on the street.

Using this way of looking at objects can lead to several new definitions of existing products and their connected purposes. Homeless people as well as ordinary people use things sometimes in a different way than what they are designed for, because they are needed for another purpose. Jane Fulton Suri + IDEO tried to show these phenomena in the book “Thoughtless acts”. “Thoughtless acts are all those intuitive ways we adapt, exploit, and react to things in our environment; things we do without really thinking it.”

23

These acts are done by ordinary people thoughtlessly whereas for the homeless and poor

around the world these acts of reuse of acts are not done thoughtlessly, they are done thoughtfully because they need to come up with creative ways of reusing objects to survive. Maybe the city offers


20 these things thoughtlessly but the people who call the city their home impose a different kind of usage to objects as well as they impose a different kind of usage on public places and hidden spaces.

2.7 Architecture of the homeless in Germany, Berlin

After the literature research about everyday architecture of squatter settlements and homeless people around the world I started wondering on how homeless people in Berlin create their own spaces within the city. How do they use spaces, places, materials and much more offered by the city to create their home? I started to think about where I have seen homeless people in Berlin without really noticing these individuals: Homeless People in the Underground selling homeless magazines, drug addicted people hanging around at dark underground station, the guy whom I used to pass everyday who is sitting at the entry of the underground station.

I started thinking about their stories and how they are claiming space. I got aware of the fact that there are so many homeless individuals who live on the streets of Berlin which I haven’t recognised before. I started to ask questions on how they survive in the city of Berlin and make the city their home. How do these individuals use the city to make it their own? How do they become the architects of their own home?

2.8 Conclusion:

Out of these experiences and newly gained knowledge, I started to question the role of architects, what architects have done so far and the label architecture. Do people have to be educated in architecture and live in the upper society to be considered architects, or if an architect is poor, can his architecture be successful and contribute innovative knowledge to the field of architecture by fulfilling the needs of the people? If this question can be answered with yes, how much and what can an educated


21 architect learn from the self builders around the world to improve the built environment we live in? Barbara Hooper questions architecture and ordinary planning by asking the questions: “How far does planning go? How far is it done by planners? Who are planners? Are they still useful?�24 She wants to put ordinary people into focus because they are the people using and building up everyday buildings and claiming the created spaces.

Furthermore, I started asking the question how much help do self-builders, everyday architects and homeless people need? Can an educated architect help these people, or can they help themselves? Maybe their way of life is satisfying them as it is and they do not need architects to solve their different lifestyle due to his standards?

My view on the profession of architecture changed during my studies about the poor of the world. On the one hand it has widened my view on architecture and showed me that there is not just one kind of Architecture. There are architectures.

On the other hand researching about everyday architects rose the question in me on what extent educated architects are still needed when there are self builders all around the world who can build their everyday buildings on their own. Why and how can educated architects help them?


22

3. Design Review


23

3.1 City Sleepers iv by Donald McDonalds (1987) Design Purpose: Donald McDonalds once saw two men who where sleeping in his parking lot in front of his office. He called the police as every one would do, but when the two individuals came back the next day Donald McDonalds sat down on the ground beside them and started talking to them. After that conversation he started designing a home for them. User: Homeless individuals spending their nights on the street. Location: San Francisco, USA, but it can be built up anywhere. Goal: The City Sleeper provides a private and safe place for the single homeless person to stay. Taking a nonjudgmental, non-reformist attitude towards solving some of the concerns of the homeless, the Sleeper provides them with shelter- while supporting the belief that everyone has a right to a home. The most important component for the construction of the Sleeper is a positive commitment to taking direct action in solving one of our society’s most important social problems at a very basic level. Concept: The city sleeper - 2.4 m long, 1.2 m wide and 1.2m high - stands 45 cm above ground. Constructed of plywood and waterproofed, it stands 18 inches off the ground on inverted car jacks. A sliding glass window with an insect screen and vents assures adequate air circulation when the door is closed. A 4 inch thick mattress provides a comfortable sleeping surface.

Figure 3.1:Specific unit plan Figure 3.2: City Sleepers occupation of SF

iv

For more information about the project see http://www.donaldmacdonaldarchitects.com (accessed October 18th, 2006).


24 Costs: Costs in 1987 around $800

Reflection on homelessness in Berlin

o

They do not need newly built structures because there are already enough built structures which already exist in the city context (e.g. bus shelter, underground station, abundant houses or they share a friends apartment with 6 and more other people). The only thing they need is a sleeping bag which they carry around with them, to have some comfort and warmth wherever they spend the night at.


25

3.2 Das ParkHotel v by Gunda Wiesner und Andreas Strauss (2004) Design Purpose: Design of a hotel which shows a special sign of hospitality in the city of Ottensheim for the bicycle riders using the Donau track which passes the hotel. User: Visitors and bicycle track users who plan to stay over night in Ottensheim. Location: Ottensheim, Germany, but it can be used everywhere where there is an infrastructure to fulfill basic needs close by. Goal: To design a cheap and usable new kind of hotel: A hospitality hotel. Concept: Standard canal tubes are converted into luxurious hotel rooms. The converted canal tubes feature a luxurious comfort (e.g. tall enough to stand in, king size bed, storage, electricity and banquets).

Figure 3.3: Design of ParkHotel

Other facilities for personal daily needs which do already exist in the public environment (e.g. public toilets, restaurants, showers) are located close by and the user of the ParkHotel can use these facilities to fulfill his needs. Booked from the Internet the user is given a personal code to open the door of the

v

For more information about the project see http://www.dasparkhotel.net (accessed October 17th, 2006).


26 ParkHotel room. The code is valid as long as the user has reserved the room. At the end of the stay the user can pay as much as he wishes and leave it in the pay box.

Figure 3.4: Interior view ParkHotel

Reflection on homelessness in Berlin

o

o

This design presents what the homeless in Berlin are already doing. They convert ordinary objects which are labeled with a certain use into their bedroom, and use the infrastructure and everything available from the public environment for their needs. Maybe the designer of this new kind of hotel has learnt from the homeless in Berlin.


27

3.3 Urban Furniture for Homeless by Sean Godsellvi (2002- 2003) Design Purpose: Help and protest Response to the existence of homelessness, he does not want to solve homelessness, because no one can solve homelessness. User: Homeless individuals Location: Melbourne, Australia Goal: Godsell calls on Melbourne to “design the homeless in� to the city rather than try to get them out as some councils in London and Paris do who have installed studs on park benches and placed seats with armrests in underground stations to prevent anyone from sleeping on them. Concept: A park bench or bus shelter does not just have to be a place to sit on while having a rest in the park or waiting for the bus, these objects can also become places where a homeless person can find a space blanket and bed down for a night. Park Bench House (2002) The Park Bench House converts a park bench into a shelter with sloping roof and woven steel mattress.

Figure 3.5: Park Bench House

vi

For more information about the project see http://www.seangodsell.com (accessed October 18th, 2006).


28 Bus shelter house (2003) The Bus shelter house can be seen as a refuge for the homeless, who could find there a space blanket and bed down for a night, as the bench lifts up to reveal a woven steel mattress, and the bin built into the structure holds blankets.

Figure 3.5: Bus Shelter House

Reflection on homelessness in Berlin

o

o

o

o

-Berlin is trying to get the homeless out of the city. Godsell´s designs present good idea regarding the integration of the homeless into the urban environment instead of trying to get them out. -During my research I did spend a day with some homeless in a park close to the railway station Zoologischer Garten. While sitting on the park bench the individuals tried to point out to me why the bench opposite the bench we sat on is the perfect bench to sleep on during night and day -Features of that special bench: Located underneath the tree which can protect the user from rain. The tree spends shadow so that the area does not get to bright. The bench was placed in a not too windy area and it was located a few meters away from the path which runs through the park, so the homeless would not be disturbed by pedestrians passing by. -The park bench house, with its foldable roof, seems to fulfil the features for a good bench to spend the days and nights at.


29

3.4 First Step Housing Units- Kit of Partsvii by LifeForm, Rafi Elbaz, Nana Wulfing and Julia Tade (2003) Design Purpose: The international design competition The First Step Housing viii sought innovative transitional housing for New York City’s homeless and questions the flophouse. The competition was organized by Common Ground Community, a non-profit housing development organization, and the Architectural League, in 2003. To realize their vision of offering clean, safe and cost-efficient housing, Common Ground bought the Andrews House, a partly occupied flophouse in the Bowery. Competitors where asked to design a prototypical, individualized living unit and arrange nineteen such units on a typical floor of The Andrews. User: Homeless: The unit design allows several types of homeless people to use the same kit to create their own individual space. Three prototypes that were identified and specially considered in the design are: the loner, the creator, the collector. Location: The Andrews, New York City, USA. Goal: Innovation of personalization and customization of the room over time and according to the special user. Concept: The First Step Housing Unit is a kit of parts that are prefabricated and are ready to be assembled with a minimum expenditure of cost and time. It is designed to maintain its assemblage qualities after being assembled.

Figure 3.6: Kit of Parts assembled

The overall size of each unit is determined by its ability to store the furnishings required to meet the needs of the inhabitants. The hallway clearance expands at points of access and contracts to conform to the bed requirements inside the unit. The door of each room has a window insert which opens towards the hallway. This opening allows for communication, exchange and display to take place. The hallway becomes a place of community and interaction: a marketplace, and interior street.

vii viii

For more information about the project see http://www.lfmshop.com (accessed October 18th, 2006). For more information about the competition see http://www.firststephousing.org (accessed October 18th, 2006).


30 Materials are light, durable, fireproof, low cost, friendly, clean and colourful items that come mainly from the aviation and marine industry.

Figure 3.7: Kit of Parts

Reflection on homelessness in Berlin

o o o

Costs for the production of the Kit of Parts might be too high to actually be an option for a design in Berlin. City Users would not use the facility because they do not want to be reliant on the help system to much. A structure like that is not necessary for the city user because he creates his own spaces to stay the night and day.


31

3.5 Instant Housing ix by Winfried Baumann (2002) Design Purpose: An art project to advertise homelessness. Help and protest. User: Homeless and other urban nomads. Location: Berlin, Germany, but the Instant Housings can be used in other cities confronted with homelessness as well. Goal: The Project is an art project. It is a medium to advertise homelessness. It tries to change the negative image of homelessness in common society. The goal of the project is that the homeless are not going to be seen without human status any longer. With the Instant Housing Project the homeless individual becomes the user of an item of equipment, which form shows his life existence and life situation. Concept: The Instant Housings are space-saving, mobile and manageable for one person. The box is built out of stainless steel, fabricated by a special firm, the interior is designed by Baumann due to what the individual needs while inhabiting the space. The project creates space which is first of all designed as a sleeping berth, but other adjustments can be attached which make the Instant House also usable for other purposes. Baumann has designed 5 different kinds of prototypes which can be used in different seasons or weather conditions

Figure 3.8: 5 Different types of Instant Housings

The Project is on the one hand fulfilling the needs of homeless living on the street on the other hand it has a sculptural and exemplary character. The box should be seen as an emergency shelter for a homeless; it should not become a solution for a longer term.

ix

For more information about the project see http://www.winfried-baumann.de/instant_housing/home.html (accessed October 18th, 2006).


32

Figure 3.9: Instant Housings in use around the world

Reflection on homelessness in Berlin

o o

Romanticization, of the meaning of homelessness: Homeless people in Berlin walk around the city, but they usually stay at the same places each night which already exist. The city user in Berlin would not take a structure like that with him.


33

3.6 Homeless Vehicle 25 by Krzysztof Wodiczko x (2002) Design Purpose: Art project to help the homeless in New York: Help and protest User: Nomadic homeless. Mainly designed for the group of homeless who works day and night collecting bottles and cans. Location: New York City, USA, but the Homeless Vehicle can be used in other cities confronted with homelessness as well. Goal: Wodiczko wants to show the non-homeless that homelessness exists. Wodiczko wants to provide the homeless with a tool which would not be associated with stolen objects, such as shopping carts, but something that would be especially designed for them (and with them). Through the increasing presence and mobility of this work object it would become both communication and transport, articulating the real conditions of work and life and the resistance of this group. Concept: The design of the Homeless Vehicle is a similar to the design of a shopping cart. It is designed to have two uses, personal shelter and can/bottle storage.

Figure 3.10: Homeless Vehicle in use

x

For more information about the project see http://architecture.mit.edu/people/profiles/prwodicz.html (accessed October 17, 2006).


34 During the design process Wodiczko treated the homeless as the consumers of a product parodying the activities of corporate consumer research. He integrated the homeless, who became the change to critiqued the project and gave advice, into the design process.

Figure 3.11: Different types of the Homeless Vehicle

Reflection on homelessness in Berlin

o

o

o

The homeless I have met in Berlin are trying to hide, that they are living on the street. They try to dress in a clean and proper way and try to act as citizens using the city. They do not want everyone to know that they are homeless. Sometimes it was hard me to distinguish between people who live on the street and people who do not. While doing my internship and walking around the city I started looking for marks of being homeless: An army backpack, sleeping back, often used plastic bags or bad teeth. Critical conversations about the design of the Homeless Vehicle with the user themselves.


35

3.7 Parasite Shelter by Michael Rakowitzxi (1997) Design Purpose: Help and protest User: Homeless Location: Cambridge, USA Goal: Built a functional shelter for the homeless of the city as well as a device to protest against authorities willing to make their cities “Homeless-Proof”. They make even more visible the unacceptable circumstances of homeless life within the city. Concept: Michael Rakowitz´s project proposes to take advantage of the exterior ventilation systems on existing architecture to give the homeless a temporary shelter. The deflated structure can be transported easily by hand or on the back on a person. Once the user has laid out the structure and found an outtake ducts of a building’s HVAC system, the user attaches the intake tube of the structure to the vent. The warm air leaving the building inflates and heats the membrane structure.

Figure 3.12: Parasite shelter

The system by which the device attaches or is anchored to the building is designed to allow the structure to be adaptable. The intake tube can be expanded or tightened to fit the aperture of the vent through an adjustable lip made possible by elastic draw-strings. Hooks are attached to the metal louvers for reinforcement. All of the Prototypes which have been distributed were built using temporary materials that were readily available on the streets, such as plastic bags and tape.

xi

For more information about the project see http://www.michaelrakowitz.com/ (accessed October 17, 2006).


36

3.8 Urban Nomads Shelter xii by Electroland (2005) Design Purpose: The project grew out of the designers´ frustration with the regressive political events in the nation and the failure of the design professions to address social issues. User: Homeless Location: Los Angeles, USA Goal: Re-brand the homeless, with the goal to make the project a humanitarian act and a social provocation. Concept: The Urban Nomad Shelter uses a self-conscious "design culture" aesthetic (think Target or Ikea) to rebrand the homeless and re-map urban real estate. The neon-coloured cocoons work like soft pushpins on a city plan, making it impossible not to see the homeless and not to see them as human. It is easy to imagine the shelters in contexts closer to what most Americans call home. Transitional housing without any kind of personalization

Figure 3.13: Urban Nomads Shelter

The shelter is designed to be inexpensive, portable, and transparent. Why transparent? The designers found that invisibility is bad for Urban Nomads. When you are out of view of the police or other people, bad things happen to you. The design is evolving, and in a newer version using single-stamp construction with no interior baffles the price will be quite low. Quality construction can be balanced with whatever budget is available.

xii

For more information about the project see http://www.idonline.com/adr05/concepts.asp (accessed October 17, 2006).


37 Costs: $ 24 a unit

Reflection on homelessness in Berlin

o

Helps to make people aware of the homelessness but is not going to change anything. This project exhibits homeless people.


38

3.9 Shelter Kitxiii by Ruimtelab and Linders & van Dorssen (1999) Design Purpose: Design competition to design transitional housingxiv for the returning people of Kosovo, hosted by Architecture for Humanity. User: People who return to Kosovo after the war. Location: Kosovo, Serbia Goal: The competition's goal is to foster the development of housing methods that can relieve suffering and speed the transition back to a normal way of life.

Concept: The designers proposed giving a kit that included a mobile phone (to set up a communication network) and tools to help rebuild destroyed home.

Figure 3.14: Tool kit

xiii

For more information about the project see http://architectureforhumanity.org/programs/kosovo/designs/finalist4.html (accessed October 17, 2006). xiv For more information about the competition see http://architectureforhumanity.org/ (accessed October 17, 2006).


39

Reflection on homelessness in Berlin

o o o o

Project sees the power in the people. This kind of energy can also be seen in the homeless community in Berlin. Homeless people do know what their needs are on their own and would be able to create their own space with only tools as well. Homeless people in Berlin do all have a cell phone and the tools they need to design are their own creativity and their hand. Kit for homeless people in Berlin:


40

3.10 The Water Rollerxv by Marjetica Potrc (2004) Design Purpose: The Hippo Water Roller is specifically designed to alleviate the suffering caused by a lack of access to water. User: Neighborhood residences of the shanties. Location: Caracas, Venezuela Goal: Help people in the shanty towns with self-help solutions by combining techniques traditionally connected to the arts with technology and the mass media. Concept: The Hippo Water Roller is a barrel-shaped container designed to transport 90 litres (20 gallons) of water. It comprises of a drum with a large screw-on cap and a clip-on steel handle. The drum is manufactured from UV stabilized Polyethylene and has been designed to withstand typical rural conditions such as uneven footpaths, rocks and even broken bottles. The large opening (135 mm / 5.3 inch diameter) allows for easy filling and cleaning of the interior. The sealed lid ensures hygienic storage of water and the steel handle provides firm control over difficult terrain while pushing or pulling the roller.

Figure 3.16: Hippo Water Roller

The innovative design allows water to be placed inside the "wheel" rather than carried above the wheel. The 90kg (200 pound) weight of water is borne on the ground resulting in an effective weight of just 10kg (22 pounds) on level ground. Children and the elderly can easily manage a full roller over most types of terrain. Extensive field tests over many years and various awards have proven the effectiveness of the Hippo Water Roller. Approximately five times the normal amount of water can now be collected in less time with far less effort.

xv

For more information about the project see http://www.hipporoller.org/ (accessed October 17, 2006).


41

Other Objects:

xvi

Figure 3.17: Hand-Powered Lamp Figure 3.18: Mobile Telephone Charger

Reflection on homelessness in Berlin o o o

xvi

Is a mass production of an designed object possible for homeless in Berlin, what would it be? Maybe an object designed due to the needs of homeless individuals can be enough to make their lives easier. The goal should be to help these individuals by giving them a tool that would improve their living conditions or just make their life a little easier instead of changing it.

For more information about the artist and other projects see http://www.potrc.org/ (accessed October 17, 2006).


42

4. Research Methodology


43 The architectural approach of creating a home by using the city has received limited attention. Few studies have provided ethnographic understanding on how homeless people actually live their daily life in the spatial context of the city. Many studies have focused on what is “wrong” with those who are homeless, ignoring the adoptions necessary to survive their conditions. In my research I am going to focus on how homeless people in Berlin design, claim and create their own spaces in the city by transforming public and hidden spaces and making the city their home.

4.1 Methodology

The analysis of the three different railway stations in the Berlin downtown area is going to be an participant-observation analysis of existing focal points of the homeless. The City-Map of the Everyday

Home is going to be a framework within which to conduct participant-observation research and informal interviews. The method is adapted from a technique used by Oscar Lewis in his 1959 Mexican study “Five Families” and other researchers concerned with homelessness. The Self-Portrait of homeless is going to present the participants´ view of the research.

Introductory fieldwork was conducted in June and July 2006 in order to make contacts social organizations and become accustomed to the study area. While doing the introductory fieldwork, I contacted several social organizations that work together with homeless people and presented my thesis topic to them. Some of the organizations told me that they did not have time to help me because they have enough to do already and want to spend all their energy on helping the hopeless. But there were some organizations interested in the topic and they offered to help me. I decided to do an eight-week long internship at the Treberhilfe xvii in Berlin, a social organisation (founded by the city of Berlin) with nearly 100 employees who work with and for the forgotten poor in Berlin. I worked together with the street workers in Berlin and worked around the city with them to establish contact with the homeless

xvii

See http://www.treberhilfe.org (accessed July 17, 2006).


44 individuals. The street workers of the Treberhilfe focus on the three main Railway Stations in Berlin: Zoologischer Garten (Bahnhof Zoo), Alexanderplatz, Ostbahnhof. Their first goal is to make contact with the homeless, street kids and drug addicted people and then to help them if help is needed. I accompanied the street workers during their tour and they introduced me to different homeless people. Furthermore, they explained the legal status of the homeless and the legal system of being homeless or being in need.

The introductory fieldwork was vital, as it allowed time for homeless men and women to be able to explain their everyday experiences to me, which helped me to become accustomed to the life on the street. Homeless men and women were very skeptical of my motives at the beginning; however after numerous site visits to places where they meet, different social organizations and mobile soup kitchens the participants began to communicate their life experiences to me.

Fieldwork took place in Berlin from July 18, 2006 to September 10, 2006- two months. No formal field notes were recorded during the introductory period, in order to not frighten the participants. After a while, I interviewed the people informally about their ways of living and started to explain my research topic to different individuals who seemed to be open to me and the topic. Gaining an “insider’s� perspective turned out to be more difficult than expected. It was difficult for me to define my research and even more difficult for those experiencing it to communicate their thoughts to me.

My goal was to conduct an ethnographic research study in order to explain the behavior within the contexts of the individuals themselves. Rather than only accepting prior assumptions done by scholars or depending on my own observations and conversations with the homeless, I intend here to let the homeless speak for themselves. Therefore I gave them disposable cameras to document their everyday life within the city context. I gave out fifteen cameras, five at each railway station. Two weeks later I had four cameras back. After two weeks asking for the cameras I stopped bothering them because they came up with different excuses every time. I soon realized that some of the cameras were lost. All of the disposal cameras I got back were cameras of individuals out of the group of the Ostbahnhof which I


45 usually received back four to five days after giving the cameras to them. It turned out that most of participants had a lot of fun doing the photographic documentation of their everyday life and seeing their pictures afterwards.

Returning the photographs gave us the opportunity to talk about the images they took. This was crucial as it helped us to understand each others´ thoughts and build up the basis for a conversation about their everyday city home map. These informal interviews were conducted and recorded. Only one participant did not want me to record the interview.

After these talks some participants invited me to accompany them for a day in their everyday life. These experiences helped me to understand what it is like to use the street in Berlin.

The data was not collected during different seasons. The whole research took place during summer. The outcome of the research might have been different during different seasons. Nevertheless I tried to get as much information as I could about everyday life during the different time seasons and weather conditions. It should be noted that most of the participants in this study do not represent the most isolated of the homeless; those who remained out of sight during the day and were unwilling to be interviewed were not directly part of this study. The only information I have about this group of people is second-hand information given by the homeless I did interview.

All the interviewees were men. I did not get a chance to interview any female individual.

4.2 Conclusion

My goal is to analyze the building culture of the homeless in Berlin by asking the question: What does the building culture of the homeless in Berlin look like?


46

I’m not going to romanticize the meaning of homelessness. I want to tell their stories; I want everyone to know what these individuals are able to do and how they survive on the streets of Berlin. Homeless people should be honored for their works by everyone instead of being categorized as the poor and bad. There is a lot to learn from these individuals. To begin, we have to understand their circumstances, their way of living, and their energy instead of categorizing them and neglecting them. I want everyone to hear the stories of these individuals to understand what it means to live on the street and what a life on the street can offer.


47

5. The Meaning of Home and Homelessness


48 In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the meaning of the word homeless. Scholars often ask: Who has a home? Who is homeless? But they isn’t an adequate definition for these two terms. There is a deep disagreement among authors, scholars, politicians, and homeless people themselves on how to define and analyse home and homelessness. Every scholar uses different approaches and research methods for his or her definition and comes up with different definitions. Some scholars even go further and redefine the meaning of home and homelessness. This chapter is going to give an overview of attempts to define home and homelessness and tries to explain alternatives for the word “homeless.”

It will be suggested that there is some truth in every definition, but it is not the entire story. It is just one story of many. I’m going to argue, that homelessness is more than simply lacking a roof over one’s head. It is about individual live stories and should not be categorised in one word. Using the word homelessness is just an easy way to label these people but becomes meaningless if you look at the individuals closely.

5.1 The meaning of home

Our need to have a place to live and feel at home is an essential need, like eating, sleeping and reproduction. Our dwellings are expressions of our individuality and power, our taste and a tool for selfexpression.26 Society tends to define home as a physical construction. A home is defined as a place with a roof on top and walls which surround the space. While a house (or other residential dwelling) is often referred to as a home, the concept of home is broader than a physical dwelling. Home is often a place of refuge and safety, where worldly cares fade and the things and people that one loves becomes the focus.

In the short story “Last Men Home” the Norwegian writer Tarjei Vesaas tells about Knut, a youngster who is out in the forest to fell timber. The main character of the story understands what it


49 means to “be at home” while working in the forest. Knut experiences what it is to know a place and to belong to a place. He realizes that this place has conditioned his own being, his personality. He knows the forest, he knows how it is to move among the trees, he knows the humming of the wind, and he has seen how the dusk leaks forth. He seeks confirmation of what he spontaneously perceived when the forest whispered: “Here you are at home”.27 Thus he is caught by the forest, and even if he should settle somewhere else later in life, the forest will always be with him. For Vesaas the deep knowledge of a place is what can create a feeling of home. There is no limitation of a space which can be called home.

What the forest means for Knut, does the city mean to the people to call the streets of the city their home. The forest or the whole city can become home.

Frank a homeless person from Berlin defines the space of his home even broader. He defines his home in the ordinary sense of a roof over his head with the difference that his roof is not a physical construction. His roof is the sky. His home is “underneath one thousand stars.” (Frank, Berlin 2006)

The other extreme of home is described by Morgan Brown, a homeless person from Montpelier in Vermont. In his poem “Homeless Sneaker” he describes that “ the only place to then call home 24/7, will be one pair of badly worn out sneakers, long overdue for replacement.”

28

Wherever he goes the sneakers

are with him. The sneakers present his home. So his home can be everywhere. Wherever he goes he has a home or feels at home because of the sneakers. Out of this fact he is never going to be homeless. He takes his home in the form of his sneakers with him. If we define home like this, taking something that is necessary in your life with you and you are dependent on it, then home can be everywhere.

If we see “home” operating at different scales, we need to start asking the question: Are there any people without home? Does every person have a home? Somewhere? Somehow?

5.2 The meaning of homeless


50 Homelessness is ideologically constructed as the absence of home and therefore connected to the ideological construction of home.29 Altman and Chemers say, “In our culture we look very unfavorably on people who do not have regular and stable primary territories. We call them “vagrants” and consider them to be marginal and undesirable people, subjects to arrest and to fine. Thus, it is believed to be important for people to have homes (and places within homes, such as bedrooms) where they can retreat, where they can assume a certain image and status within a family and within a society, and over which they have relatively complete control.”

30

Mainstream society labels the poor of the city who sleep and spend most of their time on the street as homeless. Their view of homelessness is always guided by common assumptions about the homeless. For example, one popular belief is that the homeless “choose” to be homeless and want to be homeless. They do not consider that there are different types of homeless with different life stories. Kevin Bardieux, a man from Nashville, tries to show a different kind of living on the street. In his internet blog “Homeless Guy”

31

which Bardieaux started operating from computers in public libraries before

Macintosh Authority in Nashville donated a laptop to him, Bardieux tells different stories about the individuals living on the street. He wants people to understand there is not just one kind of homeless individual, there are many. For him there are many different types of homeless experiences and thus different types of homeless people. Bardieux wants to change the common opinion mainstream society has about homelessness. In his homeless man blog entry from Friday September 29, he lists “Homeless People Facts”xviii, to teach people what homeless individuals are about. For Bardieaux there are many

xviii

Homelessness is not caused by poverty. Homelessness is not an extension of poverty. People who live in poverty desire to participate in society but are not very successful at it. People who are homeless do not desire to be part of society. Homeless people are not motivated by the same things as other non-homeless people. The homeless population is very diverse. Blacks represent a disproportionately high percentage of the homeless population. Most homeless people do not travel the country. Most homeless people stay near the city they were born. Of those homeless who do travel the country, they do so mainly in search of family or friends, or work. Homeless people do not travel the country in search of services to the homeless. Homeless people do not travel the country in search of better weather. Nobody wants to be homeless. People who say they want to be homeless do so only out of spite. Not all panhandlers are homeless. Most homeless people do not panhandle. Nearly all money gained from panhandling goes toward buying drugs and alcohol. Conversion to Christianity is not necessary for someone to escape homelessness. Forcing a homeless person to accept or practice Christianity in exchange for food/shelter/help with leaving homelessness, may actually cause that homeless person to reject Christianity, and may actually prolong his/her homeless experience. Very very few homeless people escape homelessness by "pulling themselves up by their


51 different types of homeless experiences and thus different types of homeless individuals. There is not only a difference in where and how homeless people live their life; there is also a huge difference in the duration of being homeless.

Talmadge J. Wright states that there is no such group as the homeless. For Wright homelessness is not a characteristic of people, but rather a condition in which some people find themselves at some point in time. The destitute who sleep in local parks, shelters, motels, or spend nights on a friend’s living room floor, with no fixed residence of their own, are people deemed out of place in the eyes of authority. Visible homeless bodies, their comportment and appearance, have replaced invisible abstract notions of "poverty" as a key social concern.32

Shouldn’t the definition of homelessness be even broader than the definitions previously discussed? What about the father who just got divorced and has to move out of his family home? What about the woman who just lost her husband and has to move out of their home because she cannot afford to pay the rent for the apartment? What about the young girl from the rural area who moves to the urban area to start studying there? Can’t a homeless also be a person who got divorced, a person who lost his/ her job?

People whose life situation has just changed and they have to find a new home could also be called homeless, temporarily homeless, whereas the people who are without shelter should be excluded from the category. They don’t own their own shelter but create their home in different ways. Homelessness should not just be referenced only to poor and shelterless people. Homelessness can happen to every individual in the world. Homelessness does not only mean not having a roof above one´s head. It can also be connected to the feeling to be a home at a certain place. By definition homeless refers to persons who is without shelter, but the word can also be used to label people who lack the feeling of home.

boot straps." (Most homeless people don't have bootstraps) Most homeless people escape homelessness by way of someone bailing them out. To be continued…


52

5.3 Redefinition of the term homeless

Homeless people are what the society refers to as outsiders: Outsiders of the society without traditional houses. But are they homeless? If that detail -- being without a home -- makes them outsiders, we need to redefine homeless. Who are outsiders and who are insiders, is dependent on the position of the observer. For people who are branded as outsiders by others, the orientation can be completely reversed: and the people who used to be outsiders become insiders. Due to the situation homeless people find themselves in; they understand their need for a home differently. They have different kinds of homes. They are unhoused or stay in self-built shelters which define home for them. Even if there is no physical house there is certain kind of belonging which creates the home. The relationship and interactions with other people, who are part of creating those impressions, experiences, and feelings that are associated with specific places makes the home for them.

For Norm Carroll, a former homeless man, the common definition of homeless is not valid for people who live on the street. He wants to stop using the word homeless when referring to people like himself. Carroll objects to the word much as an “ethnic minority resents a racial slur.”33 He prefers the word unhoused, which accurately describes the lack of a structure, whereas homelessness implies that he is an outsider without a place. He says that even when he lived on the streets, using downtown’s Lytton Plaza as his official address for voter registration, he considered the city his residence. “I had a home (Lytton Plaza), but people kept walking through my living room.” 34 Carroll definitely sees his plaza in Palo Alto as his place or home, even though he does not live in a house.

The term unhoused is defined by the dictionary as not provided with a house or shelter; houseless; homeless. For the authors of the book Unhoused, “unhousing” describes both the process by which people are displaced and the kinds of situations and structures generated in response to this


53 displacement. For these authors, “homelessness” is dependent on local and culturally specific ways of living and the individual who is unhoused.

5.4 Conclusion:

The analysis above has demonstrated the inadequacy of all one- sided explanations of home and homelessness. All of these definitions above are inadequate on different levels. They tend not to show the whole reality or consider different types of individuals. Their conceptions of homelessness are too narrow, not only in the sense that they focus on the minimal meaning of homelessness but because they isolate the minimal meaning from its wider social and affective context. The definition stated above does not present the whole diverse group of homeless; each presents only several members of the so called homeless or it does not present the whole truth (If there is one?). The lives of these individuals shouldn’t just be reduced to the terms home and homeless; they can not be explained by just one word.

Better explanations of homelessness must therefore take into account of the full range of meanings of homelessness and the full range of individuals which are counted to the group. In the book Urban Planning in a Multicultural Society, Baum argues that multicultural groups are more diverse than for example the five conventional racial categories: Whites or Euro- Americans, AfricanAmericans, Asian Americans, Hispanic or Latinos and Native Americans. Baum argues, that “in reality, people have complex, multiple identities. Many belong to several communities, and they are normally untroubled with different communities.”

35

He argues against a classification of people because of their

different backgrounds. Homeless people should also be seen as more diverse than categorizing them as homeless. They might live under the same circumstances at the moment, but their background, history and feelings are still different. I would argue that the group of homeless, as every group of people, should be seen on the scale of a person. Based on this scale, it can be said that there is not just one group of homeless; there is an infinite amount of homeless individuals who shouldn’t be reduced on belonging to one group.


54

I’m not going to use the term homeless for this research, because these individuals should not be classified by just one term. I’m going to present the people living on the street of Berlin on the scale of individuals instead. Every individual has his or her own lifestyle and needs which lead to his or her individual story. The story needs to be about individuals who are trying to create a living space on their own, dependent on their history, their lives and the circumstances they may find themselves in. Their way of life should be recognized as something positive and not negative in terms of what the individual and his or her way of lifestyle represent. The study of the individuals living on the streets of Berlin is not going to define the term homeless in a different way and is going to make it meaningless. It is going to see the people living on the street individually and is going to show that these individuals present a different kind of lifestyle and create a different kind of home. They are not without a home: they have a home. Their kind of home is just not yet included in common societies´ state of mind.


55

6. Facts about people living on the streets in Germany, Berlin


56 People living on the streets of Berlin have multifaceted problems and appear to change the appearance of today’s cities. However very little is known about the architectural approach of these people who make the city their home and how they use the city to create a home for themselves. This chapter is going to inform about the facts about this group of people.

6.1 Facts People living on the street in Germany are not new: As economic circumstances and demographic forces have fluctuated, so have the size and composition of this population.

The peoples vulnerabilities are experienced within the context of deindustrialisation, welfare reform, fall of the Berlin wall, and the change from Deutsche Mark to Euro. Due to the political circumstances of the fall of the Berlin wall and with it the social and political changes the number of people living on the streets in Germany did go up. In 2004 there were approximately 310,000- 380,000 people living on the streets in Germany. The number is decreasing, but due to the changes in the social welfare system, a lot of these individuals haven’t registered for welfare anymore. This leads to an estimated number of unreported cases which would increase the number of people living on the street. The dark figure is estimated to be high. From estimations done by the Federal Ministry of Work and Social Order, there are additional 30,000 people who live on the street and are not included in the list above.

6.1.1 Approximation of the number of individuals living on the streets in Germany

There are no official statistics about how many people live on the streets in Germany. There are only estimations about how many people live this kind of lifestyle in Germany, done by social organisations instead of the government. Since 1992 the BAG Wohnungslosenhilfe e. V. a social organisation estimates a statistic of the number of homeless in Germany. 36


57

Total number of homeless Homeless living on the street

Differences in estimations +/-10 %

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

920 000

930 000

860 000

680 000

550 000

500 000

440 000

410 000

375 000

345 000

ca.35 000

ca.35 000

ca.26 000

ca.24 000

ca.20 000

ca.22 000

ca.20 000

830 840 770 000 000 000 1.000000 1.000000 950 000

610 000 750 000

500 000 610 000

450 000 550 000

ca.35 000

390 370 000- 336 000- 310 000 - 450 000 412 000 000 480 380 000 000

Figure 6.1 : Approximation of the number of people living on the streets in Germany

These numbers do include people without a rented or legally owned apartment, who live: − non institutional (e.g. at friends or family places) or − institutional (e. g. in hostels or emergency shelter facilities) or − without any accommodation and have to live on the street.

37

6.1.2 Composition of the population of people living on the street

During the last few years, the number of men and women living on the streets decreased, but the number of young boys and girls has increased continuously. The number of young men rose, whereas the number of young women did stay almost as high as the years before. No longer is the population of people living on the street made up solely of older men. Today, they have been joined by the so called “new homeless”, who are more likely to be younger men, women, and single mothers with children, because the contemporary poor are disproportionably composed of these persons.38


58

Figure 6.2 : Composition of the population of people living on the street (percentage)

6.1.3 Duration of living on the street

It is positive that the duration of living on the street is decreasing, but on the other hand the number of people who life this kind of life for 5 years or more hasn’t changed at all, since 1993. They have compensated with their kind of living. Most of these groups of people who live on the street for a long-time are male and over 40. The number of people who live without any accommodation on the street, so called “platte machen�, has decreased after a decline from 1993 to 1998. The number of women living on the street is still decreasing.

6.1.4 Reason that lead to a life on the street

Still the main reason for living a life on the streets are: debits for rent, divorce or break up with a partner, unemployment, illness, drug abusing behaviour (e.g. alcohol or drugs), a lack of re-socialisation after a stay in prison or mental illness.39


59 6.1.5 Help System: With the cooperation of cities, regional districts, communities, social organisations and other associations in Germany, a differentiated help system has been built up. Homeless persons are provided with emergency shelter by either a private of a public agency ( e.g. Salvation Army, Red Cross or a city government), live in institutions on a temporary basis ( e.g. hospital, jail), live in areas that are not designed to be shelter (e.g. parks, bus terminals, abundant buildings, under bridges), or occupy structures without permission (e.g. squatter).

6.1.6 Public view on the individuals living on the streets of the city

Early in the 1980s, the individuals living on the streets were viewed as a tragic and temporary aberration affecting the most vulnerable members of German Society. Today, it appears that Living on the streets of the city is not an aberration: Even in our every day live we cannot flee the problem. Homelessness can be seen everywhere. Not only people who begging for money can be seen, if you look closely you can even see people searching in the rubbish bin for food or people hanging around the railway station, because there they are protected if the weather is bad. You can find traces here and there of people who stayed the night at certain places.

Growing public awareness of homelessness is connected to changes in the geographic dispersion of homeless persons, who are becoming more visible in communities and neighbourhoods not effected by homelessness before. One reason that people who are using the shelter system and those who live entirely outside of the shelter system are becoming more visible in the society is that survival on the street compels mobility. The ability to travel from place to place with one’s belongings in an effective manner is a key to functioning successfully. People with no fixed, regular, adequate night time residence, must therefore, constantly move around seeking security, rest, nutrition, and protection from the elements.


60

6.2 Context: Berlin, Germany 6.2.1 Inhabitants/ Population:

Berlin is the capital city of Germany. It is the country’s largest and biggest city with 892 km² of area and a population of 3,395,189 inhabitants. As a metropolis Berlin is an attraction for all kinds of people from other parts of the country and the world. The well organized help system which exists in Berlin makes it an attractive place for individuals who do not have an apartment and live on the street as well. Out of the conversation with people living on the street during the study, it can be said that Berlin offers the most visible and interactive help system of the larger German cities.

6.2.2 Facts about the individuals living on the street in Berlin: At the moment there are around 7000 individuals present on the streets of Berlin, and the tendency is rising again. But the dark figure is expected to be much higher. There are 2000-3000 more people which are expected to live on the street but are not registered anywhere.40

Homeless

overall

West part

East part

1988

5.577

5.577

-

1989

6.386

6.386

-

1990

7.110

7.110

-

1991

8.185

8.185

-

1992

9.840

9.840

-

1993

11.603

11.603

-

1994

10.558

9.787

771

1995

10.497

7.746

2.751

1996

9.872

7.068

2.804

1997

8.950

6.460

2.490

1998

7.273

4.715

2.558

1999

6.653

4.323

2.330

2000 1)

6.513

-

-

2001

6.045

-

-


61

2002

6.647

-

-

1) no further division of east and west part Figure 6.3 : Approximation of the number of people living on the streets of Berlin

Estimation done by individuals living on the streets of Berlin in my research ranged between 30000 and 100000 individuals who use the city as their home. “We are everywhere. You can see groups of us everywhere around Berlin. There is hardly any place here where you won’t see any of us” (Hartmut, Berlin 2006).

6.2.3 Over night stay habits In the research paper Alternative Wohnformen für wohnungslose Menschen Dr.-Ing. Christa Kliemke has intervened 54 people (49 men and 5 woman) about their life on the streets of Berlin, what kind of help facilities they use and where they stay during the night. In these interviews she asked these individuals to give information on the duration on how long they have lived on the street of Berlin and made Berlin’s streets their living focal point.

Out of her research it can be said, that 37% of the interviewees do spend their night outside on the street, 50% do use the emergency shelter facilities and 9.3% stay in night cafés.41

6.2.4 Duration of the life on the street

The duration time of the stay on the street varies from less than one year to more than 10 years. It is important to know that the people who are between 40 and 60 years old are mainly the people who live on the street for more than 5 years.

42


62

Figure 6.4 : Duration of life on the street

6.2.5 Housing conditions:

§ 12 of the Bundessozialhilfegesetz BSHG regulates that every citizen of Germany who wants to have accommodation is entitled to get the money to afford an accommodation, if he doesn’t have the financial resources. The government then takes the cost for either an apartment, or a homeless dormitory. The question then is why are so many people still without a roof over their head?

One reason is that a lot of individuals who live on the street are ashamed of going to an office to ask for accommodation. Another reason is that in Berlin, like most of the German cities, the largest concentration of housing affordable to low-income persons is located in the suburbs of the city where the help facilities are not available. Most of the individuals living on the streets don’t want to move out of the cities, because they are dependent on the help facilities. The third reason is that the facilities to accommodate the people without a place to stay located in the inner city area are not adequate enough to accommodate the individuals who live on the street.


63

6.2.6 Emergency shelter facilities other supportive institutions:

Berlin offers several different supportive institutions for the individuals living on the street of the city. There are 14 Emergency Shelter’s , 11 soup kitchens, 16 night café bars, 4 medical facilities and daytime facilities where homeless can stay inside and warm up . The emergency shelter facilities and other facilities in Berlin are located equally around the inner city area. With the cooperation of cities, regional districts, communities, social organisations and other associations in Germany, a differentiated help system has been built up.

Some of the people who spend their daily routine on the street said that it is easy to survive on the streets of Berlin using the help system. Benjamin, one of these individuals whom I have met at the railway station Zoologischer Garten, said that. “Berlin is the best example with a functional and big help system, it is easy to get access to these facilities and the facilities are visible in the city. If you want help and are willing to accept help in your life situation it is easy to survive in Berlin. But if you are reliant on the help system it is very hard to get out of it and start living on the street without the system again.” (Benjamin, Berlin 2006)

The emergency shelters range widely in size, clientele, and service provided. Some of these shelters have access to a wide range of services including counselling, case workers, and alcohol and/ or drug rehabilitation. Around 80% of the clients in social facilities are people who spend the rest of the day on the street, the others using the facilities are in danger to lose their accommodation, live in inadequate living conditions or/ and are in extreme poverty. Emergency shelter facilities range from small organizations, serving only a few individuals at any one time, to large agencies, serving more than 70 persons per night. These shelters are mainly located in parts of the inner city of Berlin.


64

Figure 6.5 : Emergency Shelter in Berlin

Every Emergency shelter has its own policies. Some are only for men or women, some allow residents to bring animals, some do allow alcohol in their facilities and some do not. Many shelters are religiously affiliated. Most of these shelters are only open from November until April. During these winter months around 249 beds are available for the people who live on the street to stay in, whereas during summer, the offer is extremely reduced to 85 beds in two Emergency shelter facilities. Most of these facilities are only open during night time, some do offer a day program as well but they are rare. The night accommodation in the different shelter facilities varies between dorm rooms for 4-8 people to mass mattress camps in huge halls. The range of services provided varies widely. Most shelters provide limited assistance with clothing and food; some of the larger facilities also provide counselling, a caseworker, and access to health care. Some shelters limit the period of stay and some offer longer stays.

Another option is to stay for the night at night cafĂŠs. These facilities are mainly located in churches. The main church rooms are opened and the people living on the streets can come and stay the night there. The voluntary workers of the church then serve food and talk to the people coming to the


65 church. Most of these facilities are only open one or two nights during the week. Between 73 and 120 beds are available in these night cafés.

Figure 6.6 : Night Cafés in Berlin

During winter time there is also the option to stay in underground stations. Then the city officials open the stations during night time again and offer places to stay on the hard concrete floor of the station. This offer is accepted widely by the homeless because it doesn’t come with any commitment.

There is also a bus called “Kältebus” which drives around the inner city of Berlin during night time to pick up the individuals who sleep on the street during the night and have not enough energy to reach one of these facilities on their own. They usually pick these individuals up and drop them off at one of the emergency shelters of the city.


66

Figure 6.7 : Wärmestuben in Berlin

During the day, there is the option to visit one of the “Wärmestuben” (Calefactory). Here the individual can warm up, spend the day in company and get served food. The offer here ranges from warm meals three times a day to warm drinks or a soup once a day. Most of the time they also offer clothes and mental help. Every one of these facilities usually has their own cliental which come there almost every day. Everyone knows each other but if you are inside these facilities it is very quiet, because no one talks to each other.


67

Figure 6.8 : Soup Kitchens in Berlin

The Soup Kitchen usually offers warm meals once a day. Everyone can come and have a warm meal. In some of the soup kitchens, the food is for free, in others the client has to pay 1 to 3 Euros a meal. The soup kitchens usually get their ingredients for the food from “Die Tafel”.xix This organization drives around Berlin and collects the leftover or overdue food from restaurants, hotels and supermarkets. Then they deliver the food to the different soup kitchens for free and the volunteer cooks prepare the meal from the food they get from “Die Tafel”.

xix

For more information about this project see http://www.berliner-tafel.de/ (accessed October 18th, 2006).


68

Figure 6.9 : Ambulance for homeless people in Berlin

The 4 ambulance facilities are mainly located close to the 4 main railway stations. If one does not have health insurance they can go to this place and get health treatment for free. The opening hours are dependent on how many voluntary doctors and nurses work in these facilities. Berlin even offers a hospital for the homeless which is located near the new main railway station “Lerther Bahnhof�.


69

6.3 Conclusion

Figure 6.10 : Emergency Facilities in Summer

During summer there are limited facilities available, even though it is a fact that during summer more individuals live on the street than in winter. But the living conditions in summer on the street are not counted as hard as during winter by the city officials. The homeless are seen as people who can find their own places to stay in the city during summer. Individuals living on the street are expected to find and create their own space to stay and to use what the structure of the city offers. Dependent on how much help an individual living on the street accepts, it leads to his movement through the city, because he is dependent on opening hours and availabilities.

There is not just one solution and option of using these facilities on a day. That is way every individuals can choose his favourite facilities to spend his day and night at or choose to not use the help at all and create a live without being dependent on the help system. Every individual can design his own lifestyle and use what the city offers to his own advantage, which makes his or her use of the city unique and creates his or her own lifestyle.


70

Figure 6.11 : Emergency Facilities in Winter

During winter, Berlin offers around 300 beds to the homeless and even opens Underground Train stations for them to stay. The Winter Help Planxx which comes out every year shows where beds are available and who is allowed to stay there. But for the estimated over 7000 homeless people in Berlin, the beds available do not suffice. Even if all the 300 beds are occupied and underground railway stations are open during night time, not half of the estimated number of homeless people in Berlin has a bed to stay in. The other half has to stay at friends´ places or spend the night in their own designed shelter somewhere in the city of Berlin. But even these numbers are not enough to accommodate all the people who are staying on the street. Some homeless decide on their own that they do not want to stay in any of these facilities because of their inhuman conditions and the fact that they do not like to be together with other homeless they do not know.

xx

For more information about “Winter Help Plan� see www.berliner-stadtmission.de/Lage/projekte.pdf (accessed October 18th, 2006).


71 Individuals living on the street are expected to find and create their own space to stay and to use what the structure of the city offers. Dependent on how much help an individual living on the street accepts, it leads to his movement through the city, because he is dependent on opening hours and availabilities.

There is not just one solution and option of using these facilities on a day, because the are so many help facilities in Berlin. That is way every individuals can choose his favourite facilities to spend his day and night at or choose to not use the help at all and create a live without being dependent on the help system. Every individual can design his own lifestyle and use what the city offers to his own advantage, which makes his or her use of the city unique and creates his or her own lifestyle.


72

7. The City as Home


73 This chapter documents the daily lives of the individuals who live on the streets of Berlin. Focusing on his or her vulnerabilities and way of live, this chapter will document the city context within which their life takes place, and how several men living on the street creates spaces for himself to feel at home. I’m going to tell different stories about the people who use the city and live within the city rhythm to survive on the streets of Berlin, to understand what it means to call the city home. What are the individuals’ life stories? What is the special activity of the man and woman spending their day and nights on the streets or help facilities? What coping strategies were used by the individuals to survive this marginalized environment? How do they see themselves?

The first part is going to analyze why railway stations become the focal points for the people living on the street during the day. The second part is going to analyse what the additional places are which can be used in the city. The “Life Stories” and “City Home Maps” of different individuals who life on the street is going to show the usage of the city and with it the creation of home in the city. Finally, the documentary “Self Portrait” a picture gallery done by these individuals themselves is going to give these individuals the chance to present themselves within their environment and shows their personal impression of home and being of home mean. Finally, I am going to propose an appropriate design for each person who lives on the street.

7.1 Railway station as a focal point 7.1.1 Ostbahnhof (East Railway Station)

The area around the Railway station “Ostbahnhof” is located in the eastern part of Berlin. The Ostbahnhof itself is a railway station for local and inter-city trains. During the day the station is frequently used by tourists and Berlin citizens as a station to change trains and shop. Underneath the glass and steel construction you can find the shops, toilet facilities and information offices of Deutsche Bahn. This railway station has more to offer than most of the railway stations in Berlin. It is a railway station which includes a


74 shopping area with small shops for the daily needs of the area. Yes, it has overpriced coffee shops and fast food restaurants, but it also features cheap supermarkets and drugstores.

Figure 7.1 : Aerial View Ostbahnhof

At the back side of the railway station, to the north, is an open space which is used mainly as a flea market which is next to a parking lot and a small park-like area The main entry of the station is located on the south side. At this side of the station there are bus lines and taxi cabs available for the passengers of the trains. The main glass entry opens up to the Spree River, which you can hardly see because of the new office buildings and hotels on the other side of the road The parking lot in front of the station is used by the people who drop off or pick up people from the train. This area in front of the station is also a place where people of the lower social group meet. Some of them do stay in self found shelters, some have an apartment to stay in or stay in facilities provided by


75 social organisations or the government for people living on the street and are looking for company during the day; some use this area as a place to beg for money.

Figure 7.2 :Public areas which function as public spaces at Ostbahnhof Figure 7.3 : Places which are used by individuals who spends parts a their day at Ostbahnhof

There are many social facilities offered by private organizations in this area (Figure 7.2). That is an additional factor which makes the Ostbahnhof area an attractive place for low income people. The “Bahnhofsmission� which is integrated in the railway complex at the back side of the station offers shelter for the day, food and help for the people in need. While the facility provides assistance for individuals who use the city as home or poor people during the day, it is also used by people who change their train, and as a place where they can stay and drink coffee until they get their next train.


76 The vending caravan of the homeless magazine “Straßenfeger”xxi is located at the back entry near to the green space. Everyone can come to the caravan to get some magazines and then sell them on the streets of Berlin. This caravan is the only caravan which gives out the homeless magazine “Starßenferger” in Berlin. But there are two other publishers of homeless magazines, “ Die Stütze” and “Motz” which are given out at other places in Berlin. The homeless magazine “Starßenfeger” comes out twice a month, with a circulation of 60,000. The context of the magazine includes current topics of the world, Germany, or Berlin and also talks about the problems, needs and options the individuals who sell the magazine are facing. The homeless magazine vendor can buy the homeless magazine for 40 Euro cents (US $ 50 cent) and then sell the magazine for € 1, 20 (US $1.50). By selling the magazine the vendor can make some money to fulfill his or her personal needs.

On the other side of the station across the road is the social facility “White Cross,” a Christian organization, which is the biggest social daytime facility of its kind in Berlin. The White Cross offers free food three times a day and social consultation every day as well as dental and medical treatments for free for the homeless in Berlin. It is the only institution like this in Berlin where doctors and nurses work unsalaried. According to Christiane Falk, a dentist of the facility: “At the beginning the homeless with dental pain were frightened to see the dentist. But after a while it got around that the borer doesn’t hurt that much. Most of them have only a few teeth left and sometimes we even have to take them out. Then we try to fit them dental plates.” ( Christiane Falk, Berlin 2006) Helping these people is important to Christiane Falk because she knows, that it is hard to get reintegrated into the society without a regular denture. The “Treberhilfe Berlin” also claims this area as one of their focal point. Three times a week the street workers walk around and try to help the people on the street, with consultation and information and show that these individuals are not left alone.

Apart from the social facilities where food is distributed (F) or hygienic facilities are available (WC), the station is easy for the individuals living on the street to reach from everywhere in Berlin, either

xxi

For more information about the Homeless Magazine “Straßenfeger” see http://www.strassenfeger.org/


77 by train, bus or foot. The structure of the station offers a good place for begging (W) and selling the homeless magazine (W), because of the commuters who pass by the station every day. These selling spots of the magazine are usually located at the exits and entrances to the station or close to the vending machines at the parking lot. Furthermore, the station offers cheap supermarkets (S) which sell cheap alcohol and food and are open all week long. There is even a gasoline station (P) close by where alcohol is available twenty-four hours a day. The green spaces around the area can function as meeting places (MP) or places to sleep (SL). The railway station itself offers hygiene facilities (WC, Sc) and storage places (L) for money, which are used by the homeless without paying anything because they know a way to get in the facility for free.

If you try to understand the area from the point of view of a person who needs what the city offers to survive (Figure 7.3), buildings and spaces which seemed to be unimportant before become important, “important� buildings become less meaning for these individuals calling the Ostbahnhof their home. Spaces which people just pass by without stopping, like the entry and the exit to the station, become potential working places; Places which are not used because construction is not completed or locations that aren’t recognised as having potential by most people suddenly become places in which to stay during day and night.

Ten to twenty people use this area and typically sit across the street from the main entry. On that side of the road there is an unfinished, disused staircase with a roof. This stair was meant to be the entrance to the basement garage underneath; the group of people who spend their day at the railway station instead uses it as their meeting place.


78

Picture 7.1: Members of the group of individuals at the Ostbahnhof, photographed by Kalle (September 2006)

There they drink alcohol, eat, talk to each other, read the newspaper, eat, fight with each other, take a rest, or just watch the people and the day passing by. This place has been the meeting point for some of them for the last 10 years. Everyone knows each other and if someone wants to join the group they have to know someone in the group. They are not friends, but they all have a common fate. They would defend each other as a group against other groups, but inside the group everyone knows: it is each man for himself. These individuals share their information about life on the street, but everyone nevertheless has his or her own secrets on how to survive. They share their alcohol and cigarettes, but they don’t tell each other how much money they have to buy more alcohol or cigarettes. If the police order them to leave because someone has done something against the law, they just move to the parking lot, because that is a private space and wait until the police leave. After a few minutes they usually move back. This place is their place and they allow no one to stay there if they do not have the groups approval. The parking lot close to this place and the main entrance to the train station is their space as well. Here they sell the homeless magazine or beg for money and no one else is allowed to sell anything except the people of the group. They even have a timetable which shows who is allowed to beg or sell the magazine at what spot and at what time. Everyone follows the timetable made by Markus (name changed by author), the leader of the group; and everyone respects Markus´s will. Markus is a tall, strong man, known for his strength gained while defending himself in prison. He is not homeless; he has an apartment with his girlfriend Andrea. Nevertheless, both of them spend the day at Ostbahnhof to make some money


79 and meet old friends. Some of the people of the group have apartments or live in homeless dormitories, but they are used to live on the street in the past and now they spend their day outside the Ostbahnhof and won’t change that behavior, because the area around the station has so much to offer.

7.1.2 Alexanderplatz:

The Railway Station Alexanderplatz is located in the downtown area of Berlin “Mitte.” This railway station (p.3) is the station with the most local and underground trains. Underground and local trains from every direction cross here. The station is the middle of the Berlin Train System for local trains. The regional trains do not stop here. That is why this railway station and the area around are popular for people from the suburbs, because it can be reached from every part of Berlin very easily.

Figure 7.4 : Aerial View of Alexanderplatz


80 The green space to the south of the railway station is used frequently by the youth of the city. The television tower “Alex” located in the middle of the open space, is one of the landmarks of Berlin and defines the skyline. This landmark, which makes the area around the railway station a tourist attraction, in combination with a few shops, causes the area around the station to be among the main shopping areas in Berlin. There are a lot of new constructions on the way to create an indoor/outdoor shopping mall. The green area in front of the station is mainly used by “Punks.” It becomes their meeting place during the day. Because of the tourists which are passing through, the outside place often becomes an attractive place for begging.

Figure 7.5 : Public areas which function as public spaces at Alexanderplatzf Figure 7.6 : Places which are used by individulas who spend part of a their day at Alexanderplatz

There are no Social facilities for homeless to get food close by (Figure 7.5), but because of the good train connections it is easy to reach the facilities which are located in the other parts of the city.


81 Once a week the Nikolai Church offers a free breakfast and mental support if needed, but the most important thing about this church is the green space beside the church. “Punks” are usually not liked at these places because of the noise they make and because there are too many of them. That is why the police frequently force them to leave. The green space beside the church then becomes their fallback place because the church is the owner and the police cannot do anything. The place is not only attractive because of the money made by begging, but it also offers public toilets and cheap supermarkets are close by. 7.1.3 Zoologischer Garten, (Bahnhof Zoo):

The railway station “Zoologischer Garten” also known as “Bahnhof Zoo”, is the most traditional place for homeless people to meet.

Figure 7.7 : Arial View Zoologischer Garten


82 Since the book, Kids of Bahnhof Zoo was published in 1978, the station is forever tied to the book’s main character, Christiane F., a 14-year-old girl who became involved in a vicious circle of drugs and prostitution. This station, which in the `70s and `80s was a top drug-selling location, was among her homes. The story about Christiane F. is still very popular and that is why this Station is known for its unsavoury activities.

The station is still the first contact point for people who come to Berlin for the first time and do not have money or a place to go. Here, the men and women living on the street can get first-hand information from other people with the same lifestyle on how to survive in the city or can contact one of the many social organizations which are present with caravans at the back side of the station (Figure 7.8).

Figure 7.8 : Public areas which function as public spaces at Zoologischer Garten


83

Figure 7.9 : Places which are used by individulas who spend part of a their day at Zoologischer Garten

It is not only men and woman living on the street who just arrived who use this station, but it is also for people who have been unhoused or drug or alcohol addicted for a long time who make the back side of this station their main meeting place during the day. The back side, nevertheless, is not used just by one group of individuals who spend their day at the station. Usually there are different people, with different life stories who spend a few hours at the station every day, because the station is the place to go for someone in need. Only a small group of people sitting in front of the railway station are present there every day. Most of the people who use the city as their home stay for around an hour or just walk by on the way to another destination. The toilet and shower caravan, located along the small back road of the station, is the most used facility for these kinds of needs in Berlin. It costs one euro to use it, but it is clean and every one can use it. Combined with the offer of free food three times a day at the nearby “Bahnhofs Mission,� an individual who lives on the street can fulfill his or her basic needs by coming to the


84 station. The back side of the station is also known for its young male prostitutes; during the day boys sit on the sidewalk waiting for clients.

The backside of the station is very anonymous. The social underclass here is usually on their own. There are no tourists on this side of the station. Only students from the nearby Technical University Berlin pass by once in a while, but most of them don’t use this short track to get their train. They usually go another way. On the other hand the east side of the station is a busy place used by tourists, inhabitants and students to get some food or as the starting point for a shopping tour at the most famous shopping street in Berlin “Kurfürsten Damm.”

Another attractive place for people who live on the street of berlin in this area is the “Breitscheidplatz.” The trees and available benches make it a comfortable place to spend the day. This place is also known for its drug sales. The dealers are around all day long. The place around the station is attractive for many, because it offers so much — showers, shopping, drugs, male child prostitutes, a university, the Tiergarten -- it is all within easy reach.

7.1.4 Conclusion:

Out of the analysis of the three railway stations “Ostbahnhof,” “Alexanderplatz” and “Zoologischer Garten,” it can be said that the railway station is a social focal point for different groups: the people living on the street, youth prostitutes, tourists, travellers, inhabitants of the city and students. The railway stations become focal points and very important for the individuals living on the streets because they have a lot to offer for these individuals to fulfill their basic needs.

Firstly, the railway connection makes it accessible for lots of people from the Berlin area but also from every part of Germany. Because of the fact that lots of people from different social groups use these places, the railway station is a good place for begging and selling the homeless magazine. The choice of


85 supermarkets and drug stores which are open at all hours is important for access to alcohol and drugs. All of the places have a well known history in the milieu of people who live on the street as traditional and social meeting places. The social facilities which are located at these places make it even more attractive to stop by on the daily tour of a person, who lives on the street, through the city. It’s a connection between special situation and individual interest (earning money), and the opportunity to gain social contacts in between the different scenes. The railway station becomes a location of refuge where the individual can create his own space of actions and entertainment. It is also important that there is a privately owned place close by to find refuge. This place then is the place to go if the police force them to leave publicly owned places.

This attraction of the place can sometimes work against the usage of the place and its norm. The non-conforming behavior of individuals out of the group or the group itself because of the influence of alcohol and drugs can lead to conflicts of interest between the individual and the operator of the station, the inhabitants of the area close by and tourists. The individual has to know these borders and follow certain rules to maintain the privilege to make the public space his own.


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7.2 City map of everyday home

In this study the daily lives of single persons who spend their life on the streets of Berlin is explored within the framework of everyday actions. In documenting and analyzing the everyday ways of operating in relation to the context of the city, I intend to focus on the relationship between the individual and the city structures. For this purpose I developed a city map of the every day home of the unhoused, the “Home map of the unhoused,� focusing on how the city is used by homeless people.

Everyday life is a reality which is taken for granted. It provides the framework of meaning for the individual. It is a social construction which becomes a structure itself and causes the individual who lives on the street to be available for observation and comparison. Because they live from day to day, everyday life is their reality. Time and space are considered fundamental organizational categories of a geography of the everyday. Time is viewed as the rhythm of everyday life. Space is viewed as constraining the possibilities of everyday life. Place and home are seen as profound centers of human experience for those in society defined as having a home that is protected by law. But those who do not, enjoy such protection are a socially constructed category that upholds the insider and outsider division.

The city map of the everyday day home seeks a nuanced, contextualized, indeterminate explanation of place and experience. The ways in which and the reasons why four men use the city as they do are the focal points of the remainder of this document.


87

7.2.1 Kalle: A life on the street xxii

Kalle sits in front of the Ostbahnhof every day. He is a member of the group at the Ostbahnhof. The Ostbahnhof has been his home for seven years. That’s why everyone knows him. Everyone of the group cares for him. If people passing by leave some sandwiches, there is always one reserved for Kalle. The others do care for him, because he has problems with his legs and can’t walk properly. The close proximity of all the facilities which are important for him to survive make Ostbahnhof his favorite place to live.

Picture 7.2: Kalle, Picture taken with Kalle’s disposal camera

The “White Cross” where he can get food three times a day is above the street. They also have showers, toilets and a facility for second-hand clothes which he can use. There are supermarkets to buy cheap alcohol inside the train station building and the parking area in front of the railway station is a good place for begging and selling the homeless magazine. That’s why he likes being at the Ostbahnhof: everything is just a few meters away. At fifty-five, he isn’t the youngest anymore and because of the alcohol he has problems with his legs and has to use a walking frame to walk around. Every step hurts.

xxii

Information was gained during an informal interview at the car park entry at Ostbahnhof, with all his friends sitting around us as well. He did want to go to a coffee shop with me. Everything I wrote comes from memory because Kalle did not want me to record our conversation.


88 There is a private parking lot in front of the train station. That’s where Kalle does his business. Every day from 5:00PM until 10:00PM it’s his turn to sell the homeless magazine “Straßenfeger.” He usually stands in front of the ticket vending machine, because that’s where everyone has to go at least once who wants to park on the parking lot. He explains the price board to the passengers and after that he asks if there is a little money left for him. He usually uses two different statements to address the passengers. One of them is better. But he gets bored if he says just the one. If he gets too bored, he starts using the other one and so on.

He doesn’t beg, he helps the people, and then tries to sell them a magazine. That’s hard work if you are not used to it. He buys his magazines at the caravan behind the Ostbahnhof every day for forty € 0, 40 a piece. He has to invest first, before he gets the profit. He is a salesman, that’s what it says on his license, which he carries around with him. The people passing by do pay € 1, 20 for a magazine. Kalle can keep profit of € 0, 80 and the tip, usually € 0, 30 cents. People who pay € 1, 50 usually don’t want the change.

He doesn’t need the money for food; that’s free. He usually buys alcohol and tobacco. There are two Supermarkets in the basement of the railway station that sell cheap alcohol. They are open from 8:00AM-10:00PM. If the alcohol is not enough for the whole night there is a gas station near by. The alcohol there is a little more expensive, but it is open twenty-four hours a day That’s another reason he likes the area.


89 He goes to the “White Cross” Facilities three times a day. There he gets his daily meal. The food is a little boring, because it is almost the same every day. A sandwich in the morning. A soup for lunch. A sandwich in the evening. But the plates are big. It’s enough for everyone.

There, he also has the opportunity to use the restroom and shower for free. The restrooms are clean, but not very nice. Otherwise he just uses the bushes. There is an ambulance and a dentist as well.

When he started living on the street seven years ago, he lived at the Alexanderplatz. He didn’t speak to anyone and just lived on his own. After a few months, someone took Kalle to Ostbahnhof. This person introduced Kalle to the others. That’s how he got into the group. Since that day he lives at the Ostbahnhof.

The only time he left the Ostbahnhof in summer was when he had to go to the homeless hospital because his legs got worse. He couldn’t walk anymore; otherwise he wouldn’t have left the Ostbahnhof voluntarily. After the stay at the hospital, he even gets his own room in the homeless hostel next to the hospital. But he didn’t like it there and left after a few days. The room is still available for him, but he doesn’t want to go back. He doesn’t know anyone there and feels lonely if he stays in his room all day long.


90

In winter, if it is really cold, he sometimes stays in the emergency facility. He usually goes there with the other guys from Ostbahnhof. There they share a room with fifty or more other homeless people. They sleep on a camping mat and get a blanket. They are not allowed to take their own sleeping bag. But that’s just a temporary solution depending on the outside temperature. He prefers to stay at the Ostbahnhof 365 days a year.

There he stays underneath the trees on the green area in between the main railway station entrance and the street: sometimes on his own; because then it is calm; sometimes with a few others, then he is safe. He usually leaves his sleeping back and his backpack underneath the tree. Everyone knows that it is his stuff lying there and that no one is allowed to touch it. He can look at the green area from the place where he spends the day. His friends watch out for outsiders as well, so nothing can happen to his stuff.

In the last week he got attacked twice by young people during the night. He who doesn’t have anything. Because of his legs he couldn’t get up and defend himself. Usually he doesn’t close his sleeping bag when he is asleep so that he can get out of the sleeping bag quickly to defend himself if someone attacks him. This time he wasn’t fast enough. For the next few nights, some of the others of the group stayed the night underneath the tree to defend him if the young people came back.

If it rains, he usually lies underneath the parking garage entrance or he stays in the underground train for the night. Usually he only does that if he can afford to buy a ticket.


91 Then he can just show the ticket and stay all night long in the same train. If he has a ticket, he doesn’t have to change trains a few times during the night; then he can just stay in the same one. If he doesn’t have a ticket there is no need to try to stay in the train, because the train conductor would wake him up and he wouldn’t get enough rest for the next day.

His life on the street started after his wife died. She died because of cancer and without her, life didn’t make sense for him anymore. He gave up his old life. He didn’t want to and couldn’t live his old life as a family father and a security man anymore. He always cries if he starts thinking about his dead wife. He still loves her. The only time he leaves the Ostbahnhof during daytime is to go to his wife’s grave. He usually goes there once a week. His son comes to the Ostbahnhof every two weeks, like all sons who visit their dad, once in a while.

If he wants to be on his own or if he has to think about his wife he usually stays underneath the tree all day long. The others leave him alone. They know that he wants to be alone if he stays there. They only bring him some food.

He doesn’t get any money, because he doesn’t go to the office to pick up the money once a week. That is too far away for him. He earns the money he needs for the day by selling the homeless magazine. Then he can do with the money whatever he wants to do. If he doesn’t work for a day, he usually gets beer from the others. He shares whatever he has as well.


92

The Group is there for each other. They are not friends. They have the same problems; that’s what they share. They can count on each other if someone is in trouble. They are there, because you can get lonely on your own if you live on the street.


93

Figure 7.11 : Kalle´s home map


94 7.2.2 Appropriate Design Idea for Kalle

Kalle has to work 5 hours a day standing beside the car park vending machine to make enough money to buy alcohol and tobacco. His legs are weak, that is why it is hard for him to stand beside the vending machine. But he does not have an option; he needs the money.

What can help him to make his life a little easier?

A chair which can be attached to the vending machine can make his life easier. Then he would not have to stand beside the vending machine selling the homeless magazine. He can take the portable and foldable plastic structure with him when he is not working and attach it with two strings to the vending machine. If he is not working he can take the foldable chair with him and place it on the wall he usually sits on to make sitting on the wall more comfortable. If he unfolds the chair, the chair provides space for two people sitting on it so that he can offer his friends to sit on it as well while spending the day at the Ostbahnhof. Figure 7.12 : Foldable chair


95

7.2.3 Rene: A life on the Street xxiii

He sits at the Ostbahnhof train station every day. An unused parking garage entry (closed because of construction problems) is at his back, the naked floor his seat, the overhang of the entry his shelter from rain. He uses the three sides of the overhand depending on the weather conditions or time of day. Sometimes he has to move from one side to the other, because of the drunken Polish homeless who stay there as well and like to make trouble when they are drunk. Usually he reads the newspaper, which he gets from the newspaper seller for free. Picture 7.3: Rene, Picture taken with Kalle’s disposal camera

If no one bothers him he is satisfied with the life at the Ostbahnhof. He is the most quiet of the group, nevertheless everyone respects him. During his stays in prison he learned how to defend himself and how to gain respect. These attributes are important if you live on the street. Everyone knows that he has been in prison several times and because of that they respect him.

He came to Berlin in 1993. He had to leave Cologne, because the police were looking for him. He wants to go to the Netherlands, but the border control was too hard to pass.

xxiii

Information gathered in an informal interview which I taped at a Turkish Fast Food Restaurant at the back side of the railway station Ostbahnhof and while I accompanied him for a day.


96 He didn’t know where else to go at first, but the police wouldn’t have expected him to go to Berlin, because he didn’t have any friends or contacts there. That’s why he left Cologne to go to Berlin. He had been to Berlin once before. That’s why he knew how to get around in the city. It was easy in the beginning because he still had the Traveller’s Checks for the first few weeks. But after the money was gone his life started to become a little bit different. He didn’t say difficult, because he was smart and hardened to the life on the street.

Since then he has had different homes. Prison, street, prison, street… Thirteen years on the street. That’s long enough to know all the good sleeping places the city offers, the places to get food and to do laundry. Everything you need to survive.

He has slept everywhere. In the underground train. Behind the train station lockers. In abandoned houses.

Usually you can stay at one sleeping place for around two months. After that you have to leave, because the owner has found out that someone is staying at that place. That usually means that he has to leave. But that doesn’t matter because he usually has another place to stay in his mind. He always has a Plan B. You never know how long you can stay at a place.


97 There is always a place you know about. Usually he walks around Berlin and has a look at a few places he has heard of and then he finally decides which one might be the best. He doesn’t take every place he knows of. He likes to stay at places with at least one more person. Otherwise you are not safe. That’s why he can’t take every place he knows about. It always has to have room for two or more.

At the moment he takes the Regional Express from Ostbahnhof to Bahnhof Schönefeld, the railway station of the main Berlin airport. He usually takes the one at 7:31PM. There he knows the ticket controller. That’s why he usually doesn’t need a ticket. If he has to take another train he usually has a fake ticket. Or he just uses the one he still has from the morning. There is one ticket machine at the Bahnhof Schönefeld which stamps the ticket with a light black colour. The one at the Ostbahnhof stamps much darker. So he just stamps his ticket twice, or even more, it depends on how the stamp turns out. One advantage of the Regional Express 342 at 7.31PM is the fact that you can use the restroom for free and there is a cabin where smoking is allowed. If you go to the restroom at the Bahnhof Schönefeld, you have to pay 50 cents. That’s enough money for a beer.

When he arrives at the train station he usually goes down to the kiosk to meet his friends. They usually play cards there all night long, or until there is no one left with money who wants to play against them.


98 Usually he wins. That is how they make their money to survive.

One of his friends cleans up the kiosk during night time. That’s why they are allowed to drink their own beer when they are sitting there, which they buy at the supermarket. Only the boss doesn’t like it, if they are sitting in front of his kiosk. When he is working they have to go to their lounge and start playing cards over there. Before the kiosk closes they get all the leftover sandwiches. That’s usually enough for the next day. Sometimes it is enough to take some sandwiches with them to the Ostbahnhof to give it to the others. That’s why Rene usually doesn’t go to the soup kitchen at the other side of the street. He doesn’t like the food over there, because it is always the same.

The only time he goes to the Weisses Kreuz is to take a shower. He is not allowed to go there to take a shower, because he doesn’t have a certification from the medical center, that he is free of bugs or other animals. But he knows the guy behind the counter. And it is always good to know a lot of people if you live on the street.

At “Bahnhof Schönefeld” he stays in a lounge between platform 3 and 4. It’s a lounge for passengers who are waiting for their trains. Passengers typically only use it in winter or when it is raining. In summer it is free most of the time. Usually two to four other people stay there. But there is enough space for eight. They all know each other from the Ostbahnhof. At the beginning he was staying in the lounge on platform 1 and 2.


99 But his friend had to move out and he didn’t want to stay there on his own. That’s too dangerous. He is afraid of getting attacked, even though nothing has happened to him so far.

That is why he has decided to move to the other platform. He has asked two other guys who used to sleep there to move, because they were too messy. And they left. He doesn’t know where they are at the moment, because he didn’t know them anyway.

At the new lounge he has found his place to sleep on the floor, next to the heater. He doesn’t even use a camping mat. The new lounge even has a heater. His place is right beside the heater. It is good to sleep directly beside the heater. That means he can regulate the temperature. Usually they don’t need the heater. If six people are sleeping in the lounge it gets quite warm. He has a blanket for the summer and a sleeping bag for the winter. That’s all he needs.

He used to store his belongings in a plastic bag in the bushes. But now he has found a different place. At the moment he is keeping his belongings in the box behind the lounge where they store the de-icing salt during wintertime.

Rene usually gets up at around 8:00 or 9:00AM. That’s when most of the others are already gone. Before he leaves he cleans up the lounge and arranges the doors to stay open to ventilate the room.


100 That’s why he puts the garbage can in between the door and the wall. If they wouldn’t do that the security guy wouldn’t allow them to stay there anymore. Rene knows what they have to do to maintain the opportunity to stay in the lounge. To clean up the place where you stay before you leave is a golden rule if you live a life like his.

He doesn’t know for sure how long they can stay in their lounge. The winter is coming soon and that means that the passengers will need to use the lounge to warm up if they are waiting for the train. But they all hope that they can stay there for a while. It is a good place to stay. It’s warm. You can close the door behind you. And a security man is there for their safety twenty-four hours a day.

In the winter he will try to get an apartment, but he doesn’t take every apartment he can get. He has tried it for the last few years and he still lives on the street. He would never go into a hostel for homeless people. That’s too dirty. And he wants to live on his own. The right apartment has to meet all his needs. And that’s hard. If he doesn’t find one, he just stays on the street. There are a lot of places to stay. Even in winter.


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Figure 7.13 : Rene´s home map


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7.2.4 Thomas: A life on the street xxiv

Thomas sits in front of Kaiser’s, a discount Supermarket in Berlin-Charlottenburg, every day. He sits on the sidewalk in front of the store, his backpack beside him, and a plastic cup in front of him. He sits there staring at the floor. He doesn’t do anything, except sit there. Nevertheless he makes enough money to buy beer and drugs. He gets enough free food so that he can spend even more money on beer and drugs.

Everyone who lives in the area knows him pretty well. The people who work in the store know him. They worry about him if he is not there for a day. The people who go shopping there know him. Usually they give him some money, or some food purchased at the supermarket. He has his special clients who give him money once a week.

There is one elderly woman who once gave him € 30 ($ 38US) in a week. Usually she gives him € 5 ($6, 25 US) when she comes by. That week she came by quite a lot. They don’t talk to each other. Thomas doesn’t even look up when she is there. She just puts the money into his cup and leaves. He knows that it was her, because he knows her shoes.

A month or so ago he got two raw pieces of meat. xxiv

Casual conversation while accompanying him for a day and visiting him at the homeless hospital. I was not allowed to take a picture of him because he wants to stay unknown.


103 He just laughed when he saw the meat beside the cup. Sometimes he wonders if people know what it means to be homeless. For him it is quite obvious. But if you get two pieces of meat: you start wondering. He had to throw it away, because he didn’t have a place to roast the meat. He loves meat, but he doesn’t get meat that often. Usually he gets some cookies, a cake, fruits, or a sandwich.

The supermarket doesn’t mind him begging in front of their shop. He is a good customer. He spends all the money he earns while sitting there for beer which he buys at Kaiser’s. That how he pays his “rent” for sitting there. And all the customers who give him some food buy the products in the store as well. The supermarket makes a lot of money because of Thomas.

He usually only sits there for a few hours, until he has made enough money to buy beer and drugs for the day. The rest of the day is free time.

Time is not an issue. He has enough. That’s why he usually walks around the neighbourhood very slowly. Why hurry? The only times that are important to him are the closing hours of the supermarket. They usually close at 8:00PM. He has to check before 8:00PM if he has enough beer left for the night. Otherwise he has to hurry to get some more. But he has a unique routine in buying beer.


104 He knows exactly how much he needs on a normal day.

Sunday is usually the only time he comes to Bahnhof Zoo! Ulrich, another supermarket, is the only supermarket in that area which is open on Sunday. And while he is there, he also stops by at the Breitscheidplatz, a public space, to buy his drugs for the week. He doesn’t need to use the other facilities for homeless people which are located there.

He gets enough food from the Kaiser’s customers. He uses the free toilet in a restaurant complex in an older shopping mall. He cleans his body in a water fountain near the place where he stays over night. Or he takes a shower at a friend’s place, who he visits once in a while.

He can care for himself. That is what he has learned to do for the last twelve years. He came to Berlin in 1994. He grew up in Dortmund. There he found the wrong friends and got addicted to drugs. When he was seventeen his parents issued an ultimatum: either move out of their house or go to detox in Berlin. Berlin used to have a famous detox center called “Synanon” for young people. He decided to go to Berlin and try to detox. It didn’t work out. He escaped the facility two and a half months later and ended up on the streets of Berlin. He tried to detox at the facility a few times. But he gave up each time.

Thomas is not in contact with his family anymore.


105 He doesn’t even know where they live at the moment. They moved away from his hometown a while ago.

When he first ran away from “Synanon” he was alone in the big city of Berlin. He had never been to Berlin before, and he didn’t know anyone. So he decided to go to the social welfare office to find some help. But instead he talked to some other homeless people and started to hang out with them. They used to live in a hostel for homeless people. That’s how he became alcohol addicted. Everyone drinks beer in these facilities even if you are not allowed. No one cares. The alcohol addiction got worse and worse.

For the next few years he ended up in a hostel for homeless people during winter time and stayed on the street during summer. It’s not a problem to find a place to stay in summer. You just have to walk around and open your eyes and you can find one. He prefers to stay in Charlottenburg. That’s where he makes most of his money. But sometimes he just leaves Charlottenburg to see what is going on in the other parts of Berlin.

He usually walks from one place to another, because he doesn’t have a train ticket. When he wants to go a little farther he takes the train without a ticket. He usually gets imposed a fine of € 40 ($50 US) each time they catch him and he doesn’t have a ticket. He has a lot of fees to pay, for travelling without a ticket. But he doesn’t mind. He usually waits until winter to pay back the fees with a stay in prison. If you have debts around € 300 ($375 US) you have to stay in prison for almost 60 days.


106 That means two month in prison, a bed and food 3 times a day included.

For the last two winter seasons, he didn’t stay in prison. He stayed at “KudammCaree” an old shopping center, with bars, several theatres and a few small shops. There are three parts in this shopping center. Each part has a different floor color. This color not only points out the different parts of the shopping centre, it also shows the three different security companies and their security standards. Two of the three parts are monitored and the security guards are impolite. The third part at the rear part of the mall is not video-monitored and the security guards are polite. They allow Thomas and his friends to stay the night there. They sleep on an octagonal stone which frames a column. There is enough space for four people on the stone and there is another shop entry where another guy sleeps. The toilets in the mall are for free. They get used a lot by the homeless in the area. Usually they are very messy. That is why Thomas prefers to pay a few cents to use a fast food restaurant close by. Close to their stone, inside the mall, there are a few bars and restaurants. Sometimes the people leaving the bars at night time leave some money on the stone. That’s an opportunity to earn money while they are sleeping. There is no easier way to earn money.

The security guards usually wake them up at 8:00AM. That gives Thomas enough time to pack up his backpack and clean up the stone, before the first shops open. Then he leaves the mall and walks around the city with his backpack on his back, until he can come back to the stone for the next night.


107

During summer he stays at an abandoned one-story wood barrack which used to belong to a car-selling company. The barrack is hidden behind bushes. Thomas and Rene sleep on the porch. The barrack itself is locked. They would never break the lock, that’s against the law. It is located in between living units, but their neighbors don’t mind that they are staying there. One can hardly see the barrack from the road. The traffic is a little noisy because it is located close to a main road. But Thomas doesn’t hear the noise anymore. It is more annoying that people from the neighborhood use the green space around the barrack to walk their dogs in the morning. Thomas can hear every step of the dog and his owner, that’s more annoying then the mice who stay in the barrack as well.

Thomas wants to get away from the street. The older he gets the harder it is to have a chance to leave the street. He has to leave soon; otherwise he’ll never leave because after years on the street you accept that you live on the street. To compensate means to die on the street. He doesn’t want to die on the street.

He doesn’t want to live on the street forever. That doesn’t seem to be possible to him. He just wants a safe room at night. Even with an apartment or a room, he would walk around the city all day long. Go to the same places as he does at the moment.


108 Meet the same people. He needs to walk around the city. He needs the fresh air outside to stay alive.

Two weeks after I interviewed him someone told me that Thomas was in the hospital, a hospital for homeless people. Everyone seemed to know that I was in contact with Thomas. Almost everyone I saw that day at Zoologischer Garten, even the ones I hadn’t talked to before told me about what happened to Thomas. I decided to visit him in hospital, just to see if he needed something. He had had problems with sores on his left foot before, but this time it was so bad that he had to see a doctor. Not even alcohol and drugs could keep the pain away. He decided to go to the health center for homeless people at the train station Zoologischer Garten. And they sent him to the hospital with the ambulance. But at least they gave him medicine to stop the pain. I didn’t even recognize him when I first saw him. He had a bald head and had shaved his beard.

He seemed to be pretty upset with the situation because they wanted him to stay for at least four weeks. Four weeks is too long, considering the fact that he hasn’t been in prison for the last two winters and he is still in debt on his police file. If the police found out where he is, they would arrest him. That’s why he is worried. It usually takes two weeks until all the hospital documents reach the police office. That’s why he cannot stay for four weeks. That is two weeks too long.


109 It is not winter yet. There is no need for him to go into prison right now.

(The last information I have about him is that he left the hospital after thirteen days. I haven’t heard anything from him since then.)


110

Figure 7.14 : Thomas´s home map


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7.2.5 Appropriate Design Idea for Thomas

Thomas sits in front of a Kaiser´s Supermarket every day to beg for money and food. He usually sits on his sleeping bag, close to the tree, his backpack beside him, and an old plastic cup in front of him. This spot is his spot and no one else is allowed to sit there even if he is not there. That is an unwritten rule within the group of people who beg for money. Pedestrians and others who pass by during their daily routine usually Figure 7.15 : Begging man

donate something if they see him. Everyone in the neighbourhood knows him. Some people donate something on a regular basis.

He doesn’t have a regular schedule to go to the place to beg for money. He just goes with the day. If it rains he doesn’t go because he doesn’t like to work in the rain. Sometimes he is too lazy or too drunk to go there. But this spot is the only opportunity for him to get money and food. He doesn’t take any money from the government. He is dependent on the food and money he gets from the people he knows in the neighborhood.

What can help him to make his life a little easier?

The Panhandling Box can make his life a little easier. It is designed to be a donation box for food or money. The food part is going to be opened by everyone, so everyone can donate.

Figure 7.16 : Panhandling box


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On days when Thomas does not have the energy to sit in front of the supermarket he could just leave the box at the spot were he usually sits, so that people who know him and donate food or money on a frequent basis can just put everything they want to donate in the box. He can attach the Panhandling box to the tree where he usually leans on and secure it with a lock, so that no one can take the box away. On his way home or during his walk through the city Thomas can just pick up what people donated, eat the food and buy beer from the money he got. On the one hand everyone is able to donate food, but on the other hand everyone Figure 7.17 : Panhandling box attached to a tree

who is in need of food can also open it and take the food. It is not just Thomas who can take the food out. He usually gets so much food donated that it is enough to share with his friends. So every one in need can take the food.


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7.2.6 Fred: A life on the streetxxv

Fred sits on the bollard at the back side of the Railway station Zoologischer Garten every day. His backpack is filled with tetra packs of wine and his sleeping back. He always takes his backpack with him, because he doesn’t have a place where he can leave his stuff. He doesn’t sit on the bollard begging Picture 7.4: Fred and the author, picture taken by Harry

for money. Some people just assume that he is sitting there to beg for money, but that’s not true. That’s why people passing by on their way to work or Technical University Berlin students sometimes give him something to eat.

Usually he is waiting for the Bahnhofsmission to open when he is sitting there. That’s where he gets his food. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. He even sometimes uses the showers around the corner. But he doesn’t like to shower that much. He wears the same clothes every day. He cannot remember when he last changed. If he changes, he goes to the Bahnhofsmission and asks for new clothes.

xxv

Informal interview at the barrack and at his place at the Zoologischer Garten railways station.


114 Instead of washing the old clothes he just throws them away.

This is his fourteenth year on the streets of Berlin. He has never had a bed in a hostel for homeless and he has never been in prison. He has been in the hospital once, but he would never go there again. He sleeps on the street every day. The streets are his home. Summer and winter. Sunshine or rain.

He came to Berlin eighteen years ago. He used to be a boatman. He lived in, worked on, and loved his boat for 14 years. Then he got dismissed and was standing on the street with nothing left except his memories. He came to Berlin because someone wanted to offer him a job. But he didn’t get the job. That’s why he ended up on the street. He didn’t know anyone. He didn’t have anything. He had nothing to do. He started to drink out of boredom.

And that’s what his life is still like. He is known by a lot of people, but he doesn’t know anyone. He doesn’t have anything, but he doesn’t need anything anymore. He has nothing to do, but he is fine with it. He still drinks, that’s all he has.


115 He has had several places to stay during that time. Some were better, some were worse. But guys like him are hard enough to sleep wherever they are, whenever they need to have a rest.

Years ago he lived in an office building. That building was his home for almost two years. The security guards used to let him in every night. In the morning he left the building on his own. He lived underneath the basement staircase. It was warm and quiet. And he was on his own. He was even allowed to leave all his belongings there. It was the best that had happened to him so far. Last year the building was torn down. The security guards informed him two weeks before they were going to tear down the building. They wanted him to have enough time to find another place. They did tore down the house and with it his place during the night, to build up the new Korean Embassy. That’s why he doesn’t like the Koreans anymore.

At the moment he is staying at the barrack in Charlottenburg with Thomas. They are not friends. They respect each other and share the barrack. But that’s all. He doesn’t know anything about Thomas’s life and Thomas doesn’t know anything about him. Fred likes to be on his own. He doesn’t mind Thomas staying in his barrack, but would prefer to stay there on his own. But he knows that when the winter comes and if gets really cold, he could stay at Thomas´s place in the mall as well.


116 That’s where they met. They take care of each other.

Last winter it was -10°C (14F) in Germany and even Fred’s winter sleeping bag was not warm enough. Usually he stays in front of his barrack all year long. But that day Fred decided to go to the mall and stay on the stone with Thomas and two others for a few days. It was too cold to stay at the barrack. And he didn’t want to freeze to death that night. After the hard winter Thomas started to come to his place. That’s why they are sharing the barrack at the moment. If he is too tired to go to the Railway station, he just stays at the barrack all day long reading books and having some wine.

During winter he usually goes to the bookstore. He stays there all day long. It is warm in there and he can read as many books as he wants. The only disadvantage is that he is not allowed to bring wine. But that’s fine. At least it is warm in there.

On his way from the barrack to the railway station he usually collects bottles with refundable deposits at Kurfürstenstraße. He only walks around Berlin. He cannot afford to buy a ticket for the train anyway. While walking to and from “Bahnhof Zoo” he can make some money. On his way home there are more than twenty trash bins along the road. The Kurfürstenstraße is a tourist shopping street and it is a good place to collect the bottles.


117 The tourists just throw the bottles away because they are to lazy to bring the bottles back to the supermarket. He collects the bottles and exchanges them for money. He buys wine and tobacco, with the money. That’s how Fred earns the money he needs to survive.

He doesn’t need more than that. He used to save money when he was living a civic life. But his money has been cut in half twice in his life. Once after the Berlin wall came down, from Eastern Mark to the Deutsche Mark. And the second time from the Deutsche Mark to the Euro. He doesn’t want to experience that a third time. That’s why he only tries to earn the money he needs for the day. He lives from one day to the next.


118

Figure 7.18 : Fred´s home map


119

Figure 7.19 : Kalle´s home map, detail


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7.2.7 Appropriate Design Idea for Fred Fred collects refundable bottles while walking around the city. He usually searches inside the trash bins which can be found everywhere in Berlin.

What can help him to make his life a little easier?

The bottle collector is a design that can be attached to one of the public trash cans. The people who throw away refundable bottles can put their bottles in the bottle collector instead of throwing the bottles into the trash can. When Fred passes the trash can, on his daily trip through the city, he can see the bottles available very easily and put them into his backpack to take them to the next shop to exchange them for money. He doesn’t have to look for the bottles in the trash can anymore. Figure 7.20 : Bottle Collector attached to trash can

The bottle collector can also be attached to Fred´s backpack. If he walks around the city the people who want to give their bottles away can just put the bottles in the bottle collector and Fred can take the bottles and return them.

Figure 7.21 : Bottle Collector attached to backpack


121 7.2.8 Comparison of the different home maps:

The comparison of the different home maps shows that the area of the use of the city changes a lot. Kalle´s and Rene’s area is only 0.14km². These two individuals stay at the same place all day long and just change the location for a short time a few times a day to get food. Kalle (1) can not walk any further because he is injured and Rene (2) is to lazy to walk around. Both of them always return to the same meeting point at the Ostbahnhof wherever they go. Rene’s area gets larger by considering that he takes a 23-minute long train ride in the morning and afternoon to get to his place at another railway station where he stays the night. But he only varies his night time location; he usually spends the day at the Ostbahnhof.

Whereas Thomas (3) and Fred (4) use an area of 1.1km² of the city by walking around the city to collect bottles

Figure 7.22 : Comparison of Home Maps


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to make some money or to fulfill their needs. Their home maps show round trips through the district. Thomas usually never goes to the same location twice a day, whereas Fred stays at Bahnhof Zoo most of the time and collects bottles on his way to and from his cottage.


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7.2.9 Conclusion

The city home maps of these four individuals show that every individual uses the city differently and that the city presents each man with different opportunities and potentials. Kalle, Rene, Thomas and Fred create their own way of living within the city, due to their street knowledge, experiences and mental and physical health. One way of living wouldn’t suit all of them because of their personal preferences and needs, but all of them share the same need of achieving security while living on the street. Nevertheless every individual deals differently with the problem of security. The solutions vary from staying in a group at certain places during night time, to staying on his own, or changing the night time domicile frequently. It all depends on the mentality and preferences of the individual.

Furthermore there can be seen different options in dealing with the help system. On the one hand the individual can survive totally without any help and organize everything needed during the day on his own. This is only possible if you have your living environment and stay at places where you can depend on people with whom you share the environment. It is dependent on the experiences which you have gained while living on the street for several years. On the other hand there are individuals who are totally dependent on the help system and the individual can barely live without it.

The individuals tend to follow a certain daily routine. Places and spaces become important at different times of the day and night. The city which offers these places takes an important role; it becomes the focus point of these people. The individual gets dependent on the city because the spaces, locations and people who share these places with them can only be found in the city.


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7.3 Self Portrait:

For the Home Self Portrait I handed out disposable cameras and asked the people I have met on the streets of Berlin to take pictures of their daily routine and the places where they spend the day and night. I soon realized that they got confused about what I asked them to do and decided to ask them to take a picture of where they are once every hour.

I handed out the cameras to the individuals whom I or any of the street workers were in contact with, to get more information on how the individuals live their life. Some individuals were willing to take a camera and take pictures of their personal life, some refused to do it. I also gave two cameras to women whom I met at the railway station Ostbahnhof, but they did not get the chance to talk to me about their pictures because they were too busy to talk to me when I returned the images. I did not get a chance to talk to them about their photographs.

Whenever I met the individuals again I asked if they were done with the photographs. Most of the time they told me that they still needed some more time. I developed the pictures with double prints. I kept one stack of the developed pictures on my own and gave the other one back to the photographers on the next day. Everyone was excited looking at the pictures. The images where distributed around the group at the Ostbahnhof for the next hour and some of the individuals even asked me to bring some more copies for them as well.

After handing back the pictures I asked the individuals to explain pictures to me: why they photographed what they photographed. It didn’t quite work out as I expected. They didn’t know what to say, but the conversation about the pictures always led to a conversation about their history, life on the street and personal experiences.


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7.3.1 Self Portrait Rene

Picture 7.5: Pictures from Kalle´s disposable camera


126 7.3.2 Self Portrait Kalle

Picture 7.6: Pictures from Rene´s disposable camera


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7.3.3 Self Portrait Bianca

Picture 7.7: Pictures from Bianaca´s disposable camera


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7.3.4 Self Portrait Babsi

Picture 7.8: Pictures from Babsi´s disposable camera


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7.3.5 Conclusion The pictures show what is important for these individuals. They show their friends and their group at the Ostbahnhof, where they enjoy spending their day. The group and the place seem to be their main focal point. That is where they spend most of their time at. The group is an important factor of their life

Rene (Picture 7.5) is the only one who photographed the place where he stays the night, including the shelter on the railway station Flughafen SchĂśnefeld and his friends with whom he shares the shelter with.

Looking at the photographs one can see that the individuals are not trying to hide who they are and what they do all day long. The pictures show their reality at the meeting point at the Ostbahnhof. Sleeping, drinking, eating, smoking, and resting people in the photographs show that this place has become a place for different activities. The individuals in the photographs did not clean up the space where they took the pictures and did not try to hide the beer bottles to look socialized in the pictures; they stayed naturally as they are. They do not want to change their life because they like it as it is and these pictures show what it is like at the meeting point at Ostbahnhof.

The pictures mainly show moments of the individual’s life when he or she is not disturbed by any influences from outside the group. It does not show all the places where they spend the day (e.g. social facilities, places they sleep, working places) and does not present all the distractions they have to face during the day (e.g. police, pedestrians passing by, work). It shows their way of life at a particular spot at the railway station Ostbahnhof taken whenever they got the chance to take a picture without being disturbed by different influences.


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7.4 Conclusion: The City User People who live on the street might be called outsiders, and they might be seen as being excluded from the social welfare system, without any legal status and invisible by the people who pass them every day. On the other hand they have all the inside information they need to understand and use the city. They are the real insiders. They know the city’s rhythm. They know the city’s help system. They know every light and dark corner. They need to know everything the city offers, because without the city they couldn’t survive on the street.

As seen in the analysis above, these individuals are not homeless or without a home. They have created a different kind of home within the city. They use the city to their own advantage and see the city as an opportunity to live within the city instead of just in the city. The places and spaces where they spend their time become, likewise, their home or give them a feeling of home. Within their ordinary daily rhythm, they create a routine of presence at different places and with it a certain belonging to the place. The place becomes important for a certain amount of time to the individual and the individual becomes also a part of the place which would be totally different without the individual. These places, which are chosen because of specific reasons like company, atmosphere, belonging and convenience, become the individuals´ space: a space which becomes important to the individual.

The city becomes the home and as a result these individuals are not homeless. I would propose to call the individual City User, because that is what he or she is: a user of the city within a daily routine to survive. The lifestyle they live creates a different kind of home, one that is as acceptable to them as the ordinary kind of home. Within the lifestyle of a city user all attributes which define home can be found. The daily return to these places makes these places a usual residence for a person. Here he or she shows all his or her domestic preferences even if these places are centerd in the public realm. The people with whom the individual spends time will become the family and where he or she spends most of the time becomes the place where the person is comfortable being. These stations of the daily routine become the


131 place of refuge and safety, where worldly cares fade and the objects and people that one loves and likes to spend time with become the focus. “Home is where the heart is� is a common saying. For these individual’s, the heart beats to the rhythm of the city.

The city is the place where the city user spends the day, night and sometimes parts of their whole life. Everything that the individual has to do during the day is done within what the city offers. The knowledge about the rhythm of the city and how the city changes during the day, seasons and years is important for the survival for these individuals. This knowledge contributes to the possibility of surviving within the city by using what the city offers and improving upon what the city offers to their own advantage. The secret is to accept the city and its people as they are and to use whatever is available to make life liveable. The city from the point of view of a city user, becomes totally different, because of the changes in focal points. It is not important to know things which seem to be important as an ordinary inhabitant of the city. Other things become more important because these things are important to survive in the city. The locker available for free in a shopping center becomes more important than the shops which are located in the mall itself. A small street becomes an important street which is frequently used because it is a short cut to one of the soup kitchens. An underground line does not function as a train to get from one place to another; it becomes a place to warm up and have a rest. Objects which are designed for a certain purpose become something else if the user and the needs of the user changes. The object is meant to be designed for a certain purpose but is reused in an innovative way depending on the needs of the individual. The city user, who is dependent on what the city offers, rethinks places and actions and sees them from a different perspective. These views have to develop and out of experience improve over time. The openness and creativity which emerge out of the aim for survival becomes an opportunity for new experiences.

These examples show that there are places in the city which have more to offer than the expected and ordinary use. If places and usage are rethought in a different way from a different point of view, places which seem to be unimportant to the masses can become the most important places for individuals, places which are difficult to replace when they are gone. These places are chosen specific


132 reasons, which are always dependent on the individual’s situation. For example, public spaces which are used as places to meet, eat, drink together, sleep, work, rejuvenate and relax. The choice of place is dependent on specific reasons, including reachability, atmosphere, availability and usage.

Public spaces also convert to private spaces. Public spaces are used as home. The relationship and interactions with other people, who are part of creating those impressions, experiences and feelings, are associated with specific places. The importance, interpretation and relevance of neutral zones established by the people that occupy them; for some it is just a place to be, for others it is home. Underground station entries or exits become places to sell the homeless magazine because many people pass through these places and are willing to buy a magazine to have some entertainment while sitting in the underground train. For the city user the railing of the stairs becomes the back rest so that it is less exhausting to stay there all day long. Usually the magazine sellers have certain spots where they sell their magazines and the other sellers know about that and do not sell magazines there. People who pass these places frequently feel awkward if the city user is not standing there, because they are used to seeing him every day. The seller himself becomes a part of the place and contributes his personality to the atmosphere of the place. Other places are not suitable for these kinds of business but are predestined for becoming something else. A city user would never use a place like this to have a rest, because he knows of a huge number of places close by, where it is better to have a rest.

The combination of these different spaces and their relatively close proximity within the city creates a feeling of home. The personal City Home Maps show that every individual has created this own home within the city. The size of these city homes varies but they all have the aim to fulfill the city user’s personal basic needs.

With the background of street knowledge the individuals have the opportunity to choose their own places to spend time in and design their own daily routine always dependent on what kind of help the individual is willing to accept and his or her health condition. The help system (e.g. city shelters, dormitories, soup kitchen, night bars and medical centers) is available and frequently used by the city


133 users. The help system sometimes even defines the daily routine of a city user. Out of this situation they develop a certain kind of creativity to fulfill their needs.

Furthermore there are things which are offered by the city itself and are not counted by city officials as help for the poor, because these facilities, places and objects are redesigned and made usable by the city user himself. These include water fountains which are used for the cleaning of the body after waking up. The things are made available thoughtlessly by the city but rethought by the city user. This thoughtlessness of city officials can also become a problem. City users do need different kinds of places with different atmospheres. The places have to be as diversified as the activities the city user does every day. The dark and dirty places at the back sides of houses, small alleys and abandoned houses, trash bins and dumpsters are as important as neat shopping streets and tourist attractions. But with the privatization of places city users are forced to leave certain places and certain kinds of places are becoming rare as city officials set out to develop a perfect city. The authorities who are trying to make the city clean and presentable are simultaneously stealing the individuality of different places by making them look the same everywhere around the city; they don’t see different places as opportunities and they don’t appreciate the significance of these places for different social groups. Their view of the city focuses on what their social group is aiming for without appreciating what different social groups have created out of the aim to survive on the street. The street and everything it offers at the moment is crucial for these people living in the city and on the streets of the city.

The city itself guides them through the day. Everything the city offers to them defines their rhythm. Every individual city user uses what the city offers in a different way, but all of them know and understand the city and how the city can be used to be able to live their life. The city gives him or her motivation that his or her life is worth something and that he or she can use and live within the city as the city user wants to. Here they are free to develop their own lifestyle and use the spaces and places the city offers in their way. They are the designers of their way of life. They are the creators of their home.


134

8. Conclusion


135

8.1 Findings Shelters facilities and a functional help system for people living on the streets are available in the city of Berlin and furthermore it is stated by law that the people who do not have an apartment to stay the night at and sleep on the street individuals the right for financial help to get an apartment. Nevertheless there are individuals in Berlin who choose not to be totally dependent on these facilities because they are able to look after themselves and manage their life on their own.

The city user’s way of life is based on what the city offers. They understand the city and know how to use the city to their advantage. They do not build new structures out of cardboard boxes or plastic sheets; they use structures which already exist to make the city their home. They walk around the city guided by their basic needs. The city and the places within the city become their living rooms, and spaces.

These individuals do not see themselves as pathetic characters or hopeless cases. They see themselves as individuals struggling to survive in the city by living a different kind of lifestyle.

They know how to look after themselves and how to manage their way of life on the basis on what the city provides. If something does not work out as it should they try to find a different solution. Everything they do is based on their own knowledge and energy to get through the day. I am not in the position to say if they enjoy their lives or not, but I can say that they are satisfied with their lives at particular moments. They have accepted their way of living as it is and try to improve their lifestyle by changing different factors which are important for them. Their way of using the city and living within the city works for them. These individuals can manage their life on their own. Maybe they are even more capable of managing their life than I am. I would be helpless if something in my lifestyle would not work because I am dependent on so many other people who make my daily routine possible. These individuals are not.


136 How can I, as an educated architect, who wants to practice the profession after finishing my thesis, help these clients who spend their lives on the streets of Berlin? I have analyzed their way of life and how they use the city, but what comes next? The question now has to be: What can an architect do to help these people? Or, what it is that an architect knows that is relevant to individuals who live on the street?

Maybe a way to address these questions is to find different clients to design for, because the city user is not in need of an architect to create another new kind of space. All the spaces the city user prefers to use already exist within the city context. The city user would not want any help from other individuals, because over time he or she has developed his or her own way of creating space appropriate to his or her needs and using the “city system” that provides the basics to create a home in the city.

The city user is not dependent on or in need of a new design done by architects. The architect has to understand and appreciate the city users’ way of life instead of designing a structure or a new kind of homeless shelter. The city user seems to be satisfied with how his or her life is. Architects and common society need to honor their way of life that fulfills their needs: A different kind of lifestyle that works as it is.

People living outside the city users’ environment are not in the position to judge these people on the basis on what common society thinks is an appropriate lifestyle. They are the outsiders in this situation, because they do not know what the homeless need or are not able to understand that the city users’ needs are different from the needs of common society. One should not apply his or her standards onto other peoples´ lifestyles and seek to make them change their lives, because it is not appropriate for the common society. These individuals, whether they have chosen to live that kind of lifestyle or were forced into it, need to be accepted by everyone as what they are.


137 The city user is the insider and knows what is important for him or her, has lived this life for years and has a way to manage, has improved and changed life when forced to and has his or her own solutions to solve problems.

These individuals have an understanding of how to live their life. Only if we start to see their conditions based on their standards and lifestyle will we be able to understand the advantages, disadvantages, problems and opportunities this lifestyle offers.

If every individual who lives in the city starts to appreciate other lifestyles´ the living conditions for these individuals will become easier. Small changes in thinking done by city officials, police and other inhabitants of the city can make a big difference for the individuals who call the streets their home. For example: the city needs to stop forcing the homeless people out of the city by not allowing them to stay at certain places and fulfill their basic needs. Instead they need to open underground stations for homeless to stay the night and stop designing park benches and other urban furniture which are not usable by these individuals. The police should stop forcing them to leave certain places during the day and night time. House owners should stop barricading abandoned houses and open them for these individuals. Pedestrians could stop looking at them as if they are outsiders. Maybe these small changes in peoples´ thinking can be the starting point. These small changes can make a huge difference for these individuals.

After accepting this kind of lifestyle and honoring these individuals for how they manage their lives on their own, I need to ask the question again on what do I, as an educated architect, have to offer and what could be relevant for them? Maybe it should not be a new design for another even more innovative homeless shelter, maybe it is just something small that can make their lives a little easier, instead of changing their whole lifestyle. Maybe that is all I can do. Maybe that is enough.


138

8.2 Reflection

While working on my thesis I started to see that there is something going on in the world that I was not aware of before. The living box helped me to develop a new view on design, architectural thinking and looking at the city. I started to focus on things which are usually not seen and not used by people. With the design of the Parasite Box we tried to fulfill the needs which we thought could not be fulfilled by the city at that point of time. It was designed to provide shelter and privacy, and provided possibilities to fulfil ones needs.

While working together with Fred, Kalle, Rene Thomas and other people who use the city as their home, my view of what the city offers developed even further, and I wonder if a design, such as the Parasite Box, is still needed. There is much more the city offers that can be used for free. The individuals I talked to during my research on the streets of Berlin have developed strategies and options of reusing space and reinventing objects to their advantage. Why not use these kinds of strategies for the design of the Parasite Box? Being together with the individuals living on the streets of Berlin and listening to their stories made me wonder if a design such as the Parasite Box is even necessary.

Maybe a minimal design such as the parasite box is not needed; maybe the design can be much smaller, because the features the living box offers are available on different standards in cities already. The modern city nomads can stay and live in the city with even less. The user of the Parasite Box only need to understand the city and use it to his or her advantage, to make it possible to live in the city.

A well designed sleeping bag, a bag to put ones´ belonging in, a converter for electricity, a map with marks for the places which fulfils modern urban nomads needs, and a direction of uses on how to use the city to make a living, are enough. Everything else already exists in the city and is waiting for the user.


139

9. Design


140 With the appropriate design for the individuals I talked to during my research my goal was to make their life just a little easier instead of changing it, now the question is if the designed object are also suitable for other individuals who life on the streets of Berlin? Is a mass fabrication of these objects something one should think about? Is there a demand for the Bottle Collector BC1, the Panhandling Box PB1 or the Hanging chair HC1? How can small adjustment on the design make the design usable for everyone? These objects do not have to be only useful for people living on the street it can also be used by different individuals including you and me, if it would make everyone’s life a little bit easier. With the design and mass production of the Street Line many individuals can get access to the design and use it to their own advantage.

The bottle collector BC1 designed for Fred and the panhandling box PC1 designed for Thomas are possible designs to be mass produced.


141

Street Line 2006_ BC1

The bottle collector BC1 can be attached to trash cans in the city. The people wanting to give away their bottles can put them into the bottle collector. The individuals who own the collector can easily see the bottles available for collection, take them and exchange the bottles at the next supermarket. It would be desirable if the BC1 would be provided by the city and would be attached to every trash can in the city.

Figure 9.1 : Bottle Collector: BC1


142

Street Line 2006_ PB1 The panhandling box is a designed to make panhandling possible even if the individual who owns the box is not able to be at the place to beg for money. The box is going to be mass produced. The individuals have to create his own adjustments to attach the box to the place where he wants to leave it. Are we going to see boxes like this everywhere around the city? Or is the personal factor important for donators to donate?

Figure 9.2 : Panhandling Box: PB1


x

Appendix Homeless Research Diary Homeless Research Diary _ 1st week (07.03.2006- 07.09.2006) Monday:

4 pm : Meeting with Mr Fischer of Heilsarmee in their Soup- kitchen Café Treffpunkt, Heilsarmee, Kuglerstraße 11, 10439 Berlin (http://www.heilsarmee-ost.de/) Contact: Bahnhofsmission Warmer Otto Notes: My first time in a soup-kitchen was weird. It seemed like I was confronted with the topic of homelessness for the first time for real. All the people sitting at the table looked at me when I came in. I felt insecure, because I didn’t know what to do, how to behave, what to say, where to look at… Mr Hirsch showed me around their facility and told me about the individuals using their facility. No clients of this facility live on the street!!! He advised me to contact different institutions. My first meeting with poor people in the soup-kitchen of Heilsarmee made me wonder if I picked the right topic for my thesis and if I can handle the topic.

Tuesday:

Research on the Internet about facilities available for homeless people: - http://www.brotundhoffnung.de/links.htm - http://www.notruf-berlin.de/./component/option,com_mtree/task,listcats/cat_id,83/Itemid,57/lang,de/ Research about street work in Berlin: - Gangway e.V. http://www.gangway.de/cms/asp/user.asp?client=gangway - Treberhilfe Berlin e.V. www.Treberhilfe.org

Wednesday:

9 am: Presentation of my thesis topic at the monthly meeting of Arbeitskreis Wohnungsnot William-Booth-Haus, Hanauer Straße 63, Berlin Wilmersdorf Entry fee: € 2,30 Notes: 2 members of different organizations contacted me after the presentation and offered to help me.

Thursday:

Research about the different organizations: Treberhilfe Berlin e. V. ( www.Treberhilfe.org)

Friday

11 am: First meeting with street workers Ingo Tucke and Beate Jost from Treberhilfe Berlin e.V. in their office. Yorkstraße 53, Berlin ( Undergroundstation Yorkstraße, opposite Gas-Station, left office). Notes: The street workers seemed to be pretty interested in my topic and are willing to help me with my research. We had a nice conversation and they told me their stories about what they have experienced so far and where homeless spend their nights at, and thought about how to introduce me to them.

Saturday

City walk downtown Berlin.

Sunday:

City walk downtown Berlin. Notes: Wherever I went in the city I started to look for traces of people sleeping on the street. I was looking for cardboard and any other constructions in the downtown area of Berlin.


xi

Homeless Research Diary _ 2nd week (07.10.2006- 07.16.2006) Monday:

City walk downtown Berlin.

Tuesday:

City walk downtown Berlin. Ingo from the Treberhilfe Berlin e. V. called me to confirm our first meeting at Zoologischer Garten on Monday.

Wednesday: Thursday:

City walk downtown Berlin.

Friday:

City walk downtown Berlin.

Saturday: Sunday: Notes: Is there a kind of architecture of the homeless present in Berlin? I couldn’t find any kind of cardboard boxes, plastic sheetings or found material arranged to shelter a person. Where do the homeless sleep? Where do they spend their days at? There are a lot of homeless magazine sellers around and I felt bad for not buying any of their magazines, maybe one day I’m the one asking them for information and they remember me for not buying any magazines and won’t give me any information. But I cannot buy 3 homeless magazines a day.

Homeless Research Diary _ 3rd week (07.17.2006- 07.23.2006) Monday: Tuesday:

My first day walking around the city with the street worker of the Treberhilfe. 4.15 pm: Meeting with Ingo and Beate in front of the fast food restaurant Nordsee at the railway station Zoologischer Garten. Notes: I accompanied them on their daily tour around the railway station Zoologischer Garten and Breitscheidplatz. They introduced me as an intern to their clients. Afterwards we went to the meeting place Die Hardenberger, a facility where the Treberhilfe serves a small dinner and the clients have the chance to take a shower, do their laundry or get legal advice from Ingo and Beate. The food there looked actually really good, they served pizza pockets, fruits, cookies and cupcakes. There where around 15 people using the facility. A couple of them played cards and some of them just talked to each other and had some food. Most of the people I was introduced to while walking around the railway station were present at Die Hardenberger as well. See appendix First Impressions

Wednesday:

12.30- 3 pm: Meeting at Die Hardenberger First talk with: Hajo: he used to do interviews about the homeless for TV shows and newspaper magazines Frank: the guy with the bike Benjamin: the guy from Enningerloh Ricky: a homeless from Munich who came to Berlin on vacation Rene: no further information


xii Notes: The facility serves a small breakfast with croissants, cereals, milk, fruits and hot pizza pockets. I wondered why it is still called breakfast at 12.30 and Ingo told me that the individuals coming there have a different daily rhythm and it is still breakfast time for them. The breakfast they serve at this facility is better than the usual breakfast I have every morning. 4 pm - 6 pm: Alexanderplatz, meeting with Alex and Ingo First talk with: Schnarchie and Frankie: They were more interested in my life than telling me about theirs. Notes: I accompanied Ingo and Alex on their round at Alexanderplatz. At this railway station the clients seem to be mostly younger clients, mainly punks. We only talked to one group of people sitting there which the street workers are in contact with. All of them were punks except Schnarchie and Frankie. It was hard to listen to them because they were so drunk on that day that they could hardly talk.

Thursday:

After the experiences of the last two days I needed a day off. It is really exhausting for me to be around these individuals, even if no one talked to me. But seeing all these individuals made me feel very sad and uncomfortable.

Friday:

Research.

Saturday:

Shopping. Notes: I bought tissues to disinfect my hands, so that I can disinfect my hands after being around the homeless individuals. Alex gave me the advice, because you never know what the individuals have touched before they touched your hands. Furthermore I bought new clothes which looked more conservative because I felt insecure in my old personal clothes. I bought a cheap pair of jeans, a one collared t-shirt and cheap sneakers.

Sunday:

City walk downtown Berlin.

Homeless Research Diary _ 4th week (07.24.2006- 07.30.2006) Monday:

8 pm meeting at the Treberhilfe caravan at Zoologischer Garten, here the streetworkers Alex, Ingo and Christian offer advice to the homeless, hand out needles and condoms, and serve coffee and tea. Notes: Most of the people coming here are new to me, I haven’t met them before.

Tuesday:

4.30 pm: Meeting with Ingo and Beate in front of the fast food restaurant Nordsee at the railway station Zoologischer Garten. Walk around the meeting places of their focus group at Zoologischer Garten and Breitscheidplatz.

Die Hardenberger.

Wednesday:

12.30- 3 pm: Meeting at Die Hardenberger. 4 pm - 6 pm: Alexanderplatz, meeting with Alex and Ingo I give disposal cameras to Schnarchy and Franky. Notes: The individuals finally start talking to me. They started to trust me and are willing to communicate. Even though I didn’t get the chance to ask the questions I’m interested in yet, it felt good not just standing alongside the other street workers without doing anything.

Thursday:

5 pm: Meeting Beate in front of the fast food restaurant Nordsee at the railway station Zoologischer Garten. Walk around the meeting places of their focus group at Zoologischer Garten and Breitscheidplatz.


xiii Friday:

Went to the office of the street workers to pick up some books about what homelessness is about and with information about the legal status of homeless people.

Saturday:

Taking pictures of the area around the Zoologischer Garten and Breitscheidplatz.

Sunday:

Taking pictures of the area around the Alexanderplatz. Notes: I decided to take pictures of these places on Saturday and Sunday early in the morning, because I thought no homeless would be there that early, but the two places were as busy as during the week and evening; the men were walking and sitting around this area.

Homeless Research Diary _ 5th week (08.31.2006- 08.03.2006) Monday:

1 pm: First meeting with street workers Alex and Steffi at Ostbahnhof, walking around the Ostbahnhof area. First talk with: Kalle Rene Fischy Notes: The first day at the third focal point of the street workers: The Railway station Ostbahnhof. Here the clients are older than people who are living on the street for a long time. The group of homeless I meet there are together for more than 15 years. Most of the people who come to this place during the day do actually live on the street or in hidden places somewhere around Berlin. Most of them looked like the homeless you have in your mind when you think about being homeless. The old man with the moustache, a bottle of vodka in his hand begging for some money or selling the homeless magazine to make some money to afford to buy some more alcohol. They were pretty open and started talking to me right away. Trying to show me where they live and tell me about their life. 4 pm: Meeting with street worker Alex and Ingo at Alexanderplatz I gave disposal cameras to Schnarchy and Franky and one of their friends. 8 pm meeting at the Treberhilfe caravan at Zoologischer Garten First talk with: Manfred Notes: - Spending the whole day together with the street workers and the homeless is really exhausting. Next week I’m going to reduce the program on Monday, because I’m still dealing with handling the information and stories I get told.

Tuesday:

4.30 pm: Meeting with Beate at the Breitscheidplatz. Walk around the meeting places of their focus group at Zoologischer Garten and Breitscheidplatz.

Die Hardenberger

First talk with: Harry: He used to be homeless and is in contact with quite a few other homeless. I gave him a disposable camera and asked him to take pictures. He offered me to accompany him for a day so that he can introduce me to some of his friends. Notice: - Beate introduced me to Harry because he knows everyone in the scene. He used to live on the streets of Berlin as well but has an apartment at the moment. Even that he has an apartment he still spends days with his friends at the Zoologischer Garten. We made an arrangement to meet at Die Hardenberger the next day, so that he can show me around and show me different places where he used to go, sleep, and spend his day while he was homeless. - The best thing that happened to me was to get to know Harry. He knows the people on the street and accompanying him was a great opportunity to get in contact with homeless people. Being introduced by a former homeless man, to the group of people of homeless, the homeless started to talk to me and Harry told them straight away what I was going to do and looking for. Everyone was willing to talk to me while we were standing around the railway station Zoologischer Garten.

Wednesday:

12.30- 3 pm: Meeting at Die Hardenberger I gave disposal cameras to Rene, the guy from Düsseldorf, Hajo, and the guy with the grey hair. 3 pm: Meeting with Harry at the Zoologischer Garten Notes:


xiv Manfred walked around in the city with me in the district Charlottenburg where he used to stay and pointed out to me what is important for homeless people if they live in the city. He explained to me how to earn money by just walking around the city: Vending machines are places to look at for left behind money. Lockers at the railway station are places to look for left behind money. Rubbish bins for bottles with refundable deposit which the tourists throw away. Many homeless make their money by collecting bottles. He showed me where the restrooms are that homeless people can use for free: Mall at the Kudamm Karee BMW headquaters in Berlin, the exhibition area Public toilets in parks, but they are to dirty Furniture store Places to store one´s belongings: Free lockers at the furniture store While walking around with him he introduced me to Fred and Thomas, two homeless who stay in the streets of Berlin all year long. Fred did not talk to me at all, I think he got scared because someone foreign just came into his living room. Thomas was quite open and he accompanied Harry and me for a while. I got the chance to ask Thomas the questions I had in my mind due to my research topic and I asked him if I could accompany him for a day.

Thursday: 2.30 pm: Meeting at Ostbahnhof with Alex and Steffi First informal interview with Kalle. I gave a disposal camera to Kalle. Notes: Kalle started talking right away. He seems to be the leader of the group and was willing to give me all the information I was looking for. From where we were sitting during the interview we could overlook all the places which are important to him on a normal day. While telling me about his personal life he always pointed out the locations of these places he is talking about. Out of these information I created his Home City Map. I asked him to come with me to the coffee shop around the corner to do the interview, but he preferred to stay with the group. I wasn’t allowed to tape the converstation. I wrote down all the information I got right away, after we left the group.

Friday:

12 pm: Meeting with Thomas in front of Kaiser´s supermarket; Thomas usually sits in front of the market in order to make some money. I accompanied him from 12 pm till 6 pm. Out of this information I designed his city map.

Saturday: Sunday: Taking pictures of the area around the Ostbahnhof

Homeless Research Diary _ 6th week (08.07.2006- 08.13.2006) Monday: 1 pm: Meeting with street worker Alex and Steffi at Ostbahnhof, walking around the Ostbahnhof area. Steffi gave two disposal cameras to Bianca and Babsi. First informal interview with Rene: I asked him if he would be willing to take a disposal camera and take some pictures. I gave him the camera. 8 pm meeting at the Treberhilfe caravan at Zoologischer Garten Notes: I didn’t accompany the street worker at the Alexanderplatz this time due to the experiences I made the week before.

Tuesday: 10 am: Meeting with Hajo to do a bicycle tour around the city I rode the bike with him around the city for around 6 hours. 5 pm: Meeting Beate in front of the fast food restaurant Nordsee at the railway station Zoologischer Garten. Walk around the meeting places of their focus group at Zoologischer Garten and Breitscheidplatz. Notes: See appendix From soup-kitchen to soup-kitchen on the bike

Wednesday:

1 pm: Meeting with street worker Alex and Steffi at Ostbahnhof, walking around the Ostbahnhof area.


xv Got the camera back from Kalle, Babsi, and Bianca. 4 pm - 6 pm: Alexanderplatz, meeting with Alex and Ingo Schnachie and Franky were not there.

Thursday:

2 pm: Meeting with street worker Alex and Steffi at Ostbahnhof, walking around the Ostbahnhof area. Gave the developed pictures back to Kalle and Bianca. Informal interview with Kalle. Informal Interview with Rene at a Turkish fast food restaurant at the back side of the Ostbahnhof.

Friday:

9 am: Meeting with Fred to accompany him for a day

Saturday: Sunday:

Homeless Research Diary _ 7th week (08.14.2006- 08.20.2006) Monday:

1 pm: Meeting with street worker Alex and Steffi at Ostbahnhof, walking around the Ostbahnhof area. Got the camera back from Rene. 8 pm meeting at the Treberhilfe caravan at Zoologischer Garten

Tuesday:

12 pm: Meeting with Harry, to go to the Homeless Hospital, a facility that can be used by homeless individuals without a health insurance, to visit Thomas. 5 pm: Meeting Beate in front of the fast food restaurant Nordsee at the railway station Zoologischer Garten. Walk around the meeting places of their focus group at Zoologischer Garten and Breitscheidplatz.

Wednesday:

1 pm: Meeting with street worker Alex and Steffi at Ostbahnhof, walking around the Ostbahnhof area. 4 pm - 6 pm: Alexanderplatz, meeting with Alex and Ingo Schnachie and Franky were not there.

Thursday:

9 am: Meeting with Rene to accompany him for a day 5 pm: Meeting Beate in front of the fast food restaurant Nordsee at the railway station Zoologischer Garten. Walk around the meeting places of their focus group at Zoologischer Garten and Breitscheidplatz.

Friday:

4 pm: Meeting with Babsi to give the camera back to her

Saturday: Sunday:

3 pm: Meeting with Thomas at the Homeless Hospital

Homeless Research Diary _ 8th week (08.21.2006- 08.27.2006) Monday:

10 pm: Meeting with Harry to go to the Ambulance for the Homeless, which can be used by the homeless without a health insurance for basic treatments. 1 pm: Meeting with street worker Alex and Steffi at Ostbahnhof, walking around the Ostbahnhof area. 8 pm meeting at the Treberhilfe caravan at Zoologischer Garten


xvi Tuesday:

5 pm: Meeting Beate in front of the fast food restaurant Nordsee at the railway station Zoologischer Garten. Walk around the meeting places of their focus group at Zoologischer Garten and Breitscheidplatz

Wednesday:

1 pm: Meeting with street worker Alex and Steffi at Ostbahnhof, walking around the Ostbahnhof area. 4 pm - 6 pm: Alexanderplatz, meeting with Alex and Ingo Schnachie and Franky were not there.

Thursday:

1 pm: Meeting with street worker Alex and Steffi at Ostbahnhof, walking around the Ostbahnhof area.

Friday: Saturday: Sunday:

Homeless Research Diary _ 9th week (08.28.2006- 09.02.2006) Monday: 10 pm: Meeting with Harry to go to the Ambulance for the Homeless 1 pm: Meeting with street worker Alex and Steffi at Ostbahnhof, walking around the Ostbahnhof area. 8 pm meeting at the Treberhilfe caravan at Zoologischer Garten

Tuesday:

5 pm: Meeting Beate in front of the fast food restaurant Nordsee at the railway station Zoologischer Garten. Walk to the meeting places of their focus group at Zoologischer Garten and Breitscheidplatz.

Wednesday:

1 pm: Meeting with street worker Alex and Steffi at Ostbahnhof, walking around the Ostbahnhof area. 4 pm - 6 pm: Alexanderplatz, meeting with Alex and Ingo Schnachie and Franky were not there.

Thursday:

1 pm: Meeting with street worker Alex and Steffi at Ostbahnhof, walking around the Ostbahnhof area.

Friday: Saturday: Sunday:

Homeless Research Diary _ 10th week (09.03.2006- 09.10.2006) Monday:

1 pm: Meeting with street worker Alex and Steffi at Ostbahnhof, walking around the Ostbahnhof area. 8 pm meeting at the Treberhilfe caravan at Zoologischer Garten Notes: I decided that I’m not going to accompany the street workers any further because I didn’t get any new information. But I’m still going to join them at the caravan on Monday nights, so that I´m still in contact with the homeless for a least one day a week. I didn’t want to break up the connection with the homeless right away because I enjoyed talking to them.


xvii Tuesday:

9 pm: Volkswagen Bibliotheca on the TU Berlin campus Notes: see My personal analysis of a location with my new gained knowledge

Wednesday:

9 pm: Volkswagen Bibliotheca on the TU Berlin campus.

Thursday:

9 pm: Volkswagen Bibliotheca on the TU Berlin campus

Saturday: Sunday:

Notes: o

The conversations were more informative after 3:00PM because the individuals were more open to talk to me with more alcohol in. But it also got more difficult to understand them. In the morning it was easier to talk to them but they were not as willing as in the afternoon to talk with me.

o

The information the homeless gave me might have been different if I would not have been a tall blond girl. The men got excited to talk with me whereas the women didn’t want to talk with me.

o

I don’t know why, but I never got in contact with woman, and I never got the chance to talk to them. They seemed to be very reserved when I was there. The only female homeless I have met were the two woman at the Ostbahnhof who took some pictures with disposal cameras. But I never got the chance to talk to them. They were present at the Ostbahnhof every day but always talked to the others instead of me. I didn’t even give them the camera in person. They asked Alex, one of the street workers, if he would take a picture of them with his digital camera. On that day I wanted to explain my project with the camera and Alex then asked me to give him two cameras and gave them to Babsi and Bianca. I never got the chance to talk to them about it. I don’t know why, but it was easier for me to get in contact with homeless men. One of the street workers explained to me that men feel proud (maybe that is not the right word) if I would talk to them, because I’m a blond tall girl and women get jealous (not the right word either) because the men where more curious talking to me and about me then talking to the woman. There also was a feeling inside myself, which is hard to describe, which made it harder to start talking to a men. Maybe I felt sorrier for them, maybe I thought in a different way about them than I did about women. The bias towards homeless women was different then the ones I had towards men.

o

I have experienced these kinds of feeling also towards young people, who were sitting at the places I went to. They were sitting around at these places drinking beer and taking drugs as well, but I never dared to talk to them.

o

Furthermore I have to admit, that at the places where I made my first contact, the number of men was much higher. There was no homeless woman at the Zoologischer Garten or Alexanderplatz, while I was there and there where only a few at Ostbahnhof.

o

Another observation is that whatever question I asked during the interviews the interviewees tended to not answer the question directly. They usually picked up a word from the question and started talking about that topic.


xviii

Personal experiences First Impressions I was standing in front of the railway station “Bahnhof Zoo,” waiting for Ingo and Beate, two street workers, who work with and for the homeless in Berlin. I couldn’t exactly remember what they looked like, even though I had seen them before, so I was standing in front of the railway station guessing who they might be. “Could it be him, or her?” Ten hours later I have met with some of the people passing by who I thought might be Ingo and Beate. But they were the homeless. I hadn’t expected homeless people to look like you and I. They could have been friends from my university, my neighbors in my hometown or just the person who sits besides me in the underground station. After my first day I was overwhelmed by the impressions I got by just walking around a small area around “Bahnhof Zoo.” I struggled to find out, who lives on the street, who has an apartment, who is drug or alcohol addicted, who is clean, who just sits on the park bench to take a rest, or who might stay over night on the bench and use it as a bed. I heard lots of stories, already on my first day. Drugs, prison, alcohol, violence and prostitution were the main topics at this place. No one did talk to me in person, because I was a stranger. It seemed to me that everyone sitting around the “Breitscheidplatz” knew each other’s story. I only got a small view into their lives by just standing there introducing myself as a street worker intern. I always wondered why they ended up like that, how many bottles of beer, wine and cheap sangria they have already had, what these young girls do here, or how they can afford to have expensive cell-phones, and mp3-players which I can not afford to buy. After walking around Bahnhof Zoo for two hours, we went to a meeting point organised by the Street Workers and the health department. It’s an apartment on the first floor in an apartment building where the homeless can go to eat, take a rest, take a shower, do their laundry, play cards and talk to the street workers. Some of the people we met before came, but there were lots of others whom I hadn’t met yet. So I introduced myself again, so that everyone knows who I am and what I’m doing. Sometimes I just said I’m doing an Internship. Sometimes I told them that I’m an architecture student who is going to write a thesis about the homeless and how they use the city, just to test what they think about it. But no one really showed any reaction to what I said; it seemed they were not interested. While introducing myself to them, I always had to shake hands with them, to show them that I am not afraid. But even though they looked neat, I was afraid to touch any other part of my body with that hand. It is stupid but something inside me told me to wash my hand as soon as possible. Exhausted after my first day on the street, I went home, still wondering if the people I was passing on my way home are in need of help or not. On my second day of accompanying the street workers, we met at the apartment we went to the day before. Once a week the street worker and the health department offer breakfast and with it another chance for the people to talk to the street worker and ask them for help. The first thing I recognized on that day was that their day starts very late. It was called breakfast, but it wasn’t open before 1:00 PM. Some of the people I introduced myself to yesterday were there as well. They actually remembered me and asked me how my thesis is going. I was pretty surprised about that considering that they had ignored me all day long yesterday. But I was also somehow too afraid to start asking them what I’m interested in because I didn’t wanted to frighten them. So I just started to talk about unimportant things, not exactly knowing how I could start talking about the city. Feeling a little bit insecure, I sat down besides Ingo, one of the street workers who was willing to help me with my thesis. He started telling me a little bit about the people’s history. Who they are, what they do…. And I suddenly started to understand, that most of the people coming here have an apartment or do live in residential accommodation. Not everyone who comes here is homeless. Most of them do have an apartment, but only go there during night or when it is cold outside. They are used to life on the street and cannot give up all of their freedom. During the day they usually come together in their common places to socialize, drink, work on the street and sell some street magazines, and meet some friends. After a while, Ingo one of the street workers introduced me to Haio. Haio has lived on the street for seven years now and was willing to talk to me about his life. He is known as the TV-Guy because whenever any television company wants to make a special about homeless in Berlin, they ask him to be part of it. That’s why he wasn’t shy to talk to me either. But it seemed to me that he was telling his standard story about being homeless. He did not answer any of the questions I asked him. He told me his story and after that he left. It sounded like the homeless story,what everyone thinks homelessness is being about. He used to work in an agency. Then he decided to leave the company to be free. At the moment he is travelling around. During winter-time he goes to places where it is warm… He was telling the romanticized story of being homeless. There are two other people that Ingo and Beate told me about. I would like to talk to them but they are very quiet and don’t like to talk. But with time, I hope that they will trust me and tell me their stories.


xix

After that I accompanied Ingo to the next focus point of their social work: The railway station Alexanderplatz. Ingo and Alex are the street workers in this area. At this place the clients are totally different. Most of the people who hang around at this place during the day are punks. They are very drunk and it is really hard for the street worker to work together with them. Sometimes they don’t even remember the street workers, whom they meet three times a week. Ingo took me to that place to meet Franky and Scharchie, two older punks who have lived on the street for almost eleven years by now and who met each other seven years ago. They didn’t ignore me at all. They started talking with me about myself as soon as I came there. However it was not because they wanted to tell me about their life but because I’m a tall blond girl. They wanted to know everything about me. And I had to come up with a story about me, because Ingo and Alex have told me not to tell anyone anything about my personal life. Then, my first day at the railway station Ostbahnhof. Here the clients are older people who have lived on the street for a long time. The group of homeless I have meet there has been there together for more than fifteen years. Most of the people who come to this place during the day do actually live on the street or in hidden places somewhere around Berlin. Most of them looked like the homeless you have in your mind when you think about being homeless. The old man with the moustache, a bottle of vodka in his hand begging for some money or selling the homeless magazine to make some money to afford to buy some more alcohol. They were pretty open and started talking to me right away. Trying to show me where they live and tell me about their life.

Believing everything, believing nothing. At the beginning I didn’t know what to count as the truth or what to count as fantasy while talking to the individuals. Sometimes when I just got a new information which seemed to be really interesting , I told it to Christian, one of the street workers I worked with, and he usually looked at me in a weird way which told me, Kathrin don’t believe anything. I still don’t know how to differentiate between what is the truth and what is fantasy of the individuals I have talked to. Sometimes it happened that the same person introduced himself to me at one day with three different names. But for me it is not important to figure out the truth or the untruth: I am interested in the life of the individual and how he reacts and acts in the environment of the city due to the circumstances.

New knowledge My first day in the new Technical University Berlin library four weeks ago: When I first entered the building, I realized how close this public building is to the frequently used railway station by the city user. This building could be a shelter if it starts raining, it has comfortable couches and it is warm inside. The library is a public building and everyone is allowed to enter. When I walked on I needed to put my belongings into a locker. They were free. The locker at Zoologischer Garten cost €3 a day, so the lockers in the library could be a cheap opportunity to store one´s belongings during the day. Some of the lockers were even big enough to store four suitcases. This was a detail often mentioned by the homeless, that it is hard to find a safe storage place during the day. In this public library there are lots of free storage places. Furthermore the library offers free internet access for everyone. There is no code necessary to log in. The homeless could use it to get information, find a place to stay at night or just spend a rainy cold day inside. The restrooms are clean and for free. This place for me seemed to be an optimal place to spend the day. For breakfast, dinner and lunch you just use the Zoologischer Garten facilities which are two hundred meters away. With these thoughts still in my head, I started working on my thesis at one of the many computers which are located in the different levels and I suddenly realized that one of the homeless I had talked to during my internship was sitting across from my study table searching the net. From then on, I started seeing him every day.

What has changed for me walking through the city? During my internship with the street workers of “Treberhilfe Berlin”, I met a lot of wonderful people with extraordinary lives. Some were open to talk to me about their life; some were more interested in details about my life; some just wanted to talk about the day and the weather. I have enjoyed talking to all these individuals whether it was about my research topic or not. They have changed my point of view about homeless people in Berlin and I would say some of them even became my friends. On the one hand I felt sad for them because of the situation they are in and I wanted to help them. On the other hand I accuse them, in my mind, of being too lazy to go the social office to ask for money or an apartment, of wasting all their money on alcohol and drugs. I honor and accredit the way they manage to live the way they manage to survive.


xx Every day when I pass them on my way to the University, which is close to the railway station Zoologischer Garten, I stop by and talk to them. A few months ago I would have crossed the sidewalk when I saw them sitting or standing on the sidewalk, so that the distance between them and me got wider. Now I stop by and talk to them. Working on the city map and focusing on how to use the city changed my view of the city and different buildings. Objects and places which seemed to be uninteresting or unimportant for me before, started to become important. My view started to focus on things which can be important for city users.


xxi

Bibliograpy

Books:

Altman, Irwin, and Martin Chambers. Culture and Environment. Cambridge, CB: University of Cambridge, 1984. Burayidi, Micheal A.. Urban Planning in a Multicultural Society. United State of America: Praeger Publishers, 2000. Caritasverband Rheine e.V., in Wohnbilder. Menschen und ihr Zuhause, Germany: Didot Verlag, 1994. Davis, Howard . The Culture of Building. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press, 1999. Duneier, Mitchell. Sidewalk. New York , NY: Farrar, Straus und Giroux, 1999. Gans, Herbert J.. The Urban Villagers, Group and Class in the Life of Italian- American. New York, NY: The Free Press of Glencoe, 1962. Chambers, Robert. Rural Development- Putting the Last First London, England: Pearson, Prentice Hall, 1984. Morton, Margaret. Fragile Dwelling. New York, NY: Aperture, 2000. Neuwrith, Robert. Shadow Cities- A Billion Squatters, A New Urban Form. New York,NY: Routledge, 2005. Ostwalt, Philip. Shrinking Cities—Volume 1: International Research. Berlin, Germany: Hatje Cantz Publishers 2005. Sakaguchi, Koyohei. 0 Yen houses. Tokyo, Japan: Little More, 2004. Sandercock, Leonie: Cosmopolis II: Mongrel Cities of the 21st Century Continuum International Publishing Group, London - New York, 2003. Suri, Jane Fulton + IDEO. Thougthless acts Observations on Intuitive Design. San Francisco, California: Chronicle Books, 2005. Turner, Joscelyn V. Charlewood. Housing by People- Towards autonomy in Building Environments. London, England: Marion Boyars, 1991. Un-Habitat. The Challenge of Slums- Global Report on Human Settlements 2003. London and Sterling, England: Earthscan Publications Ltd, 2003. Wright, Talmadge J.. Out of place: Homeless Mobilizations, Subcities, and Contested Landscapes. New York, NY: State University Press, 1997.


xxii

Articles: Novilio, Constantino. “Le Corbusier: Research Directed Towards Poetry” JAE, Vol. 32, no. 4: 30-31 (1979), http://www.jstor.org/ (accessed May 01, 2006). Sommerville, Peter. Homelessness and the Meaning of Home: Rooflessness or Rootlessness International Journal of Urban and Regional Planning Vol. 16 (1992): 529-539.

Web Sites: Brown, Morgan. “Walk A Mile In A Homeless Man’s Shoe’s Web pages: The Homeless Guy- There is more to homeless people than being homeless.” (Tuesday, September 19, 2006). http:// the homelessguy.blogspot.com (accessed, September 27, 2006). Hill, John. “File under Amazing Web pages: A Daily Dose of Architecture” Monday, December 13, 2004, posted by John. http://archidose.blogspot.com/2004_12_01_archidose_archive.html (accessed October 1, 2005). Takahashi, Misako. “Record of the hidden world of the homeless Web pages: Asahi Shimbun. ” 10/15/200. http://ilocker.bsu.edu/users/kloer/WORLD_SHARED/ (accessed, October 10, 2005). Connell, Ryann. “Amazing architect explains how to build your very own cardboard castle Web pages: Mainichi Daily News.” April 12, 2006, http://mdn.mainichimsn.co.jp/waiwai/archive/news/2006/04/20060412p2g00m0dm007000c.html (accessed, October 10, 2006). Bardieux, Kevin. “The homeless Guy- There is more to homeless people than being homeless Web pages: The homeless guy. http:// the homelessguy.blogspot.com (accessed, September 20, 2006). Linde, Christian. “Entwicklung der Wohnungslosenzahlen ( Development of the Number of Homeless) Web pages: Wohnunglos in Berlin ( Homeless in Berlin). http://www.wohnungslos-in-berlin.de/material/zahlen.htm (accessed, August 8, 2006). BAG Wohnunglosenhilfe e.V.. “ Schätzung der Zahl der Wohnungslosen (Estimations of the Number of Homeless) Web pages: BAG Wohnunglosenhilfe e.V.” (Februar 2006) http://www.bag-wohnungslosenhilfe.de/index2.html (accessed, August 8, 2006).


xxiii

Notes

1

Posted by John “ File under Amazing, pages: A Daily Dose of Architecture” Monday, December 13, 2004 http://archidose.blogspot.com/2004_12_01_archidose_archive.html (accessed October 1, 2005)

Chapter 2: Literature Review 2

Leonie Sandercock. Cosmopolis II: Mongrel Cities of the 21st Century ( London, England: Continuum International Publishing Group 20003).

3

Howard Davis. The Culture of Building (Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press 1999).

4

Un-Habitat. The Challenge of Slums- Global Report on Human Settlements (London, England: Earthscan Publications Ltd 2003).

5

Robert Neuwirth. Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters. A New Urban world (New York, NY: Routledge 2005).

6

Mike Davis. Planet of Slums (London, England: Verso 2006).

7

Michell Duneier. Sidewalk (New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux 1999).

8

Robert Neuwirth. Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters. A New Urban world (New York, NY: Routledge 2005).

9

Joscelyn V. Turner. Housing by People- Towards autonomy in Building Environments (London, England: Marion Boyars 1991).

10

Chambers, Robert. Rural Development- Putting the Last First (London: Pearson, Prentice Hall 1983)

11

Robert Neuwirth. Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters. A New Urban world (New York, NY: Routledge 2005).

12

Howard Davis. The Culture of Building (Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press 1999).

13

Howard Davis. The Culture of Building (Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press 1999).

14

Margaret Morton. Fragile Dwelling (New York, NY: Aperture 2000).

15

Koyohei Sakaguchi. Zero Yen houses (Tokyo, Japan: Little More 2004).

16

Misako Takahashi. “Record of the hidden world of the homeless,” Asahi Shimbun 10/15/2005, http://ilocker.bsu.edu/users/kloer/WORLD_SHARED/ ( accessed October 10, 2005)

17

Misako Takahashi. “Record of the hidden world of the homeless,” Asahi Shimbun 10/15/2005, http://ilocker.bsu.edu/users/kloer/WORLD_SHARED/ ( accessed October 10, 2005)


xxiv

18

Ryann Connell. “Amazing architect explains how to build your very own cardboard castle,” Mainichi Daily news April 12, 2006, http://mdn.mainichimsn.co.jp/waiwai/archive/news/2006/04/20060412p2g00m0dm007000c.html (accessed October 10, 2006).

19

Michell Duneier. Sidewalk (New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux 1999).

20

Atelier Bow-Wow. Pet Architecture Guide Book (Tokyo, Japan: World Photo Press 2002).

21

Constantino Novilio. “Le Corbusier: Research Directed Towards Poetry” JAE, Vol. 32, no. 4: 30-31 (1979), http://www.jstor.org/ (accessed May 01, 2006).

22

Constantino Novilio. “Le Corbusier: Research Directed Towards Poetry” JAE, Vol. 32, no. 4: 30-31 (1979), http://www.jstor.org/ (accessed May 01, 2006).

23

Jane Fulton Suri + IDEO. Thoughtless acts Observations on Intuitive Design (San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books 2005).

24

Leonie Sandercock. Making the Invisible Visible ( Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press 1998).

Chapter 3: Design Review 25

Graham Shane. “Street Performance; The Homeless Vehicle Project” JAE, Vol. 43, no. 4: 37-42 (1990), http://www.jstor.org/ (accessed October 17, 2006).

Chapter 5: The Meaning of Home and Homelessness 26

Caritasverband Rheine e.V, in Wohnbilder. Menschen und ihr Zuhause (Homeimages. People and their homes)(Essen, Germany: Didot-Verlag, 1994).

27

Tarjei Versaas. Last men home.

28

Morgan Brown. “Walk A Mile In A Homeless Man’s Shoe’s Pages: The Homeless Guy- There is more to homeless people than being homeless,” ( Tuesday, September 19, 2006), http:// the homelessguy.blogspot.com (accessed September 27, 2006).

29

Peter Sommerville. Homelessness and the Meaning of Home: Rooflessness or Rootlessness International Journal of Urban and Regional Planning Vol. 16 (1992): 529-539.

30

Irvin Altman and Martin Chemers. Culture and Environment (Cambridge, CB: University of Cambridge, 1984).

31

Kevin Bardieux. “The homeless Guy- There is more to homeless people than being homeless http:// the homelessguy.blogspot.com (accessed September 20, 2006)

32

Talmada J. Wright. Out of place: Homeless Mobilizations, Subcities, and Contested Landscape (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press 1997).

33

Jocelyn Dong. “Homeless or Unhoused?” Palo Alto Weekly Online Edition, Wednesday, August 24, 2005, http://www.paloaltoonline.com/weekly/morgue/2005/2005_08_24.homesidea.shtml


xxv

(accessed, October 8, 2006). 34

Jocelyn Dong. “Homeless or Unhoused? ”Palo Alto Weekly Online Edition, Wednesday, August 24, 2005, http://www.paloaltoonline.com/weekly/morgue/2005/2005_08_24.homesidea.shtml (accessed, October 8, 2006).

35

Micheal A. Burayidi. Urban Planning in a Multiculural Society (United State of America: Praeger Publishers 2000).

36

BAG Wohnunglosenhilfe e.V.. “ Schätzung der Zahl der Wohnungslosen“ pages: BAG Wohnunglosenhilfe e.V. (Februar 2006) http://www.bagwohnungslosenhilfe.de/index2.html (accessed, August 8, 2006).

37

Caritasverband Rheine e.V, in Wohnbilder. Menschen und ihr Zuhause (Homeimages. People and their Homes) (Essen, Germany: Didot-Verlag, 1994).

l 38

BAG Wohnunglosenhilfe e.V.. “ Schätzung der Zahl der Wohnungslosen (Estimations of the Number of Homeless) pages: BAG Wohnunglosenhilfe e.V., “(Februar 2006) http://www.bagwohnungslosenhilfe.de/index2.html (accessed, August 8, 2006).

39

Christa Kliemeke. Alternative Wohnformen für Wohnunglose Menschen (Alternative Accomodation for Homeless People) (Berlin, Germany: TU Berlin 2002).

40

Christian Linde. “ Entwicklung der Wohnungslosenzahlen ( Development of the Number of Homeless) Pages: Wohnunglos in Berlin ( Homeless in Berlin)“ http://www.wohnungslos-in-berlin.de/material/zahlen.htm (accessed, August 8, 2006).

41

Christa Kliemeke. Alternative Wohnformen für Wohnunglose Menschen (Alternative Accomodation for Homeless People) (Berlin, Germany: TU Berlin 2002).

42

Christa Kliemeke. Alternative Wohnformen für Wohnunglose Menschen (Alternative Accomodation for Homeless People) (Berlin, Germany: TU Berlin 2002).

At Home With The Unhoused: Conversations With Men And Women Living On The Streets of Berlin  

Kathrin Loer, author. Master's Thesis completed November 2006.

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