Today, I asked a friend of mine to show us – a housing expert and me – his home at Koch Areal in Zürich. It is a temporary “Zwischennutzung” in the Albisrieden quartier. It is an occupied old industrial area where – a few years now on – people from all over the world live together and share their living and recreational spaces with each other. One part of the area is used by the Zirkusquartier, there are many ateliers – indoor and outdoor – where people work with wood or metal. There are several kitchens and dining spaces in the area which are shared by smaller groups of people.
The whole situation is like a super basic democracy. Maybe a few hundred people share the whole area and organise the daily life as a community. There are meetings and several chats where the users can communicate with each other. The whole visit reminded me to “The Jungle” of Calais where refugees from all over the world organised their survival hand-in-hand with NGOs and volunteers. That small informal “village” – with its around 6-8000 residents – was somehow an ideal city. There was nothing which wasn’t used or needed by somebody. It was a super basic environment for its residents and visitors.
In the Koch Areal there is even a sauna with a hot pool where the residents can have some nice time with their friends and neighbours. Everything is based on grassroots democracy. I guess…
A few more weeks and everyone has to leave. The city has all the plans to build a new quartier in this area. They call it the Koch Quartier.