Neighborhood University: How a Group of Neighbors Turned a Run-down Building into a Community Hub

An abandoned government building in Hamburg, Germany, was scheduled to be torn down this year. But residents in the area thought it could be put to better use. Over the last four years, with little budget and just a group of volunteers, the building was transformed in the Neighborhood University [in German], a place for workshops, classes, research, and living spaces.

The urban design department at HCU-Hamburg helped take the lead, using their expertise in low-budget architecture and upcycling materials to shape the redesign of the building. The space has hosted a huge variety of projects, ranging from a summer camp where kids design their own treehouses, to a bar where diners bring canned food to donate in exchange for a cooked meal. As the name Neighborhood University suggests, it's also a hub for classes of all kinds, and research applied to the local neighborhood.

Now, the project organizers are working to create a new part of the experience: a DIY, community run hotel. The university is using the creation of the hotel as a research project itself, studying how it's possible to create a high-quality hotel at a low budget, and also studying how neighbors can co-design this type of space.

The hotel is being crowdfunded now, but in a twist that's almost as interesting as the project itself, the designers are less interested in financial donations than just getting people to participate:

We want to invite you to support this project with your skill, will, knowledge and participation. We do not ask for money in the first plan to realize the project...our question to crowd-fund it, is more a question on cultural and social capital than on monetary contribution. The money we ask for is only for a printed and well edited book version of the free and open source online documentation...
So we want you to be part of the project, wether you are a carpenter, builder, hotel specialist, cook, PR expert, economist or lawyer, blogger, videographer, community wifi-radio specialist, musician, DJ, wellness expert or what ever you think you could bring into it, in order to build, organize, document or communicate the project on a local and global scale.
Check out the video below for more information on the hotel project.

Hang out with your neighbors on the last Saturday of April (a day we're calling "Neighborday"). Click here to say you'll Do It, and we'll send you GOOD's Neighborday Survival Guide and a bunch of other fun stuff.

Image courtesy of HCU Hamburg

AFP News Agency / Twitter

A study out of Belgium found that smart people are much less likely to be bigoted. The same study also found that people who are bigoted are more likely to overestimate their own intelligence.

A horrifying story out of Germany is a perfect example of this truth on full display: an anti-Semite was so dumb the was unable to open a door at the temple he tried to attack.

On Wednesday, October 9, congregants gathered at a synagogue in Humboldtstrasse, Germany for a Yom Kippur service, and an anti-Semite armed with explosives and carrying a rifle attempted to barge in through the door.

Keep Reading Show less
via Andi-Graf / Pixabay

The old saying goes something like, "Possessions don't make you happy." A more dire version is, "What you own, ends up owning you."

Are these old adages true or just the empty words of ancient party-poopers challenging you not to buy an iPhone 11? According to a new study of 968 young adults by the University of Arizona, being materialistic only brings us misery.

The study examined how engaging in pro-environmental behaviors affects the well-being of millenials. The study found two ways in which they modify their behaviors to help the environment: they either reduce what they consume or purchase green items.

Keep Reading Show less

One of the biggest obstacles to getting assault weapons banned in the United States is the amount of money they generate.

There were around 10 million guns manufactured in the U.S. in 2016 of which around 2 million were semiautomatic, assault-style weapons. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry's trade association, the U.S. industry's total economic impact in 2016 alone was $51 billion.

In 2016, the NRA gave over $50 million to buy support from lawmakers. When one considers the tens of millions of dollars spent on commerce and corruption, it's no wonder gun control advocates have an uphill battle.

That, of course, assumes that money can control just about anyone in the equation. However, there are a few brave souls who actually value human life over profit.

Keep Reading Show less
via Reddit and NASA / Wikimedia Commons

Trees give us a unique glimpse into our past. An examination of tree rings can show us what the climate was like in a given year. Was it a wet winter? Were there hurricanes in the summer? Did a forest fire ravage the area?

An ancient tree in New Zealand is the first to provide evidence of the near reversal of the Earth's magnetic field over 41,000 years ago.

Over the past 83 million years there have been 183 magnetic pole reversals, a process that takes about 7,000 years to complete.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Pixabay

The final episode of "The Sopranos" made a lot of people angry because it ends with mob boss Tony Soprano and his family eating at an ice cream parlor while "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey plays in the background … and then, suddenly, the screen turns black.

Some thought the ending was a dirty trick, while others saw it as a stroke of brilliance. A popular theory is that Tony gets shot, but doesn't know it because, as his brother-in-law Bobby Baccala said, "You probably don't even hear it when it happens, right?"

So the show gives us all an idea of what it's like to die. We're here and then we're not.

Keep Reading Show less