Das Alsenwohnzimmer – the alsen living room
The Alsenwohnzimmer is a community room located on the Alsen street in Bochum Germany. The surrounding is a close to downtown gründerzeit residential area, with green backyards, playgrounds and a soccer places.
In 2011 some local residents were trying to build a bench around a tree to create a meeting place for residents of Alsen street. On this day a landlord walked by and offered them a room in the street. So this people founded a social club named “Das Alsenwohnzimmer”. The founders have known each other from organizing the “Alsenstraßen Fest” a local community festival, with a flea market, food and music offered by local resident. A lot of people living in this street came and supported them to rent the room, created a living room and build a kitchen. Since the founding, there are a lot of events going on in the street. For example, they are building skateboards with the local kids, making dinner together, watching movies, guerilla gardening, setting up a box for food sharing and a box for street book exchange, offering yoga curses and lectures. All of this events are for free and open for everybody to participate. One project is the repair cafe, were everybody can bring electronic devices, bicycles and clothes which are broken. At the cafe are a lot of experts how help the people to repair and fix their devices. These experts call themselves repair helper. They don’t consider themselves as professional service providers, they assist the people so that they are able to repair their device. After two years they repaired over 600 devices and saved approximately 2 tons of waste. Another project is the “Alsengarten” an urban garden which is located close to the room. It took them a while to find a place for this garden, the authorities wouldn’t offer them a place to rent. So the people from the Alsenwohnzimmer did a public intervention and build garden beds on a popular public place down town. After this the authorities offered them a piece of land on the Alsen street. Beside planting vegetable, fruits and flowers they are taking care of a beehive and producing honey. This garden is open to the public and your allowed to grab some herbal for your dinner or just relax their and read a book.
Image credit: (c) Henrik Vervoorts