The Gängeviertel of today has little in common with the slum that used to cover the inner city. Since the occupation in 2009, the neighborhood has developed to a lively subcultural center right in the middle of Hamburg. Its roots in the “Right to the City”-movement are still visible today. This is especially obvious in the many open rooms on the ground floors, which house cafés, galleries, small shops, venues, bars, bicycle-workshops, a museum, a free-shop, community spaces and the offices of the initiative.
Aside from the public groundfloors, the Fabrique constitutes the beating socio-cultural heart of the quarter. The 200qm halls of the former factory are being occupied by various public projects. Among others, the Fabrique houses the free radio-station FSK, a room for seminars and lectures, a space for sports and dancing, one for screen-printing, one for theater rehearsals and also the biggest art gallery venue of the area, which can accommodate up to 200 guests. Every week, the Gängeviertel hosts dozens of events from concerts and parties to workshops, lectures and exhibitions.
The activists involved in this program all work voluntarily and without pay, trying to create a culturally rich, consume-free space for everyone. For the same reason, the Gängeviertel operates on the basis of “pay what you want”. This means that there are no fixed prices on the bars or doors of the project. Instead, guests are asked to pay in relation to their personal possibilities and goodwill. By now, the initiative has grown into an association and a cooperative, whereas the association takes care of the cultural program, while the cooperative occupies itself with the needs of the inhabitants and the fixing up of the area. However, the grassroots character of the project is most strongly seen at the general assembly (Vollversammlung), which is held every second Wednesday at 7 p.m. – here all relevant decisions are being discussed in an open, direct democratic format. All in all more than 400 activists are involved in the different structures and spaces of the Gängeviertel and with luck, the project will continue to grow in years to come.
The negotiations with the city about the future of the project have been going on almost as long as the occupation itself. Thereby, all parties agree that the old houses need to be renovated after years of vacancy. However, the details and character of the future Gängeviertel are still subject to discussion. Hopefully, we will reach an agreement with the city in the near future that will allow our cooperative to develop the area further. If you liked the tour and our project, you can help us by becoming a member of the Gängeviertel cooperative or by just dropping by and participating as a volunteer. More information is available by writing to:email@example.com
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