University of the Neighbourhoods - Hotel as Method?


This book explores the visions, actions, tools and impacts of ‘alternativ-ists’ who are applying creative practices to forge plausible, alternative ways of working and living. It presents an integrated framework for navigating a collection of essays, interviews and case studies from well-known international contributors and local activists. These originate from diverse fields, including design, the arts, architecture, education, politics, economics, urban planning and city administration, social enterprises, non-governmental organisations, and experts on the Commons. They show how to engage with the locale, communities and distributed diasporas. Through their voices and actions they enable professionals, amateurs and citizens to understand the rich possibilities of creating and designing together in open, participatory and imaginative ways.

The contribution by the Research and Teaching Programme Urban Design assembles experiences and issues that arose in the context of the six-year live project University of the Neighbourhoods (2009-2013). The project provided an 'institutional shelter', a socio-spatial construct unfolding between the City of Hamburg as the owner of the property, the International Building Exhibition IBA 2013 Hamburg, HafenCity University and its Urban Design Master Programme, Kampnagel Cultural Factory and the construction company Max Hoffmann GmbH & Co. KG. These partners provided the conditions to produce an educational space framed as and named University of the Neighbourhoods (UoN). As an experimental setup the project focused on the reciprocity of usage, programming, learning, design and building processes, whether concerned with the minimal use of material resources, the experimental testing of re-cycling and upcycling strategies, or the testing of unusual constructions and reassemblage of material according to radical low budget and do-it-yourself strategies. A working methodology was created that sought to combine teaching, research, design and practice in one place.



Becker, B., Gernert, S., Kniess, B., Pohl, B., Richter, A., 2015. University of the Neighbourhoods - Hotel as Method? In: Fuad-Luke, A., Hirscher, A., Moebus, K., eds. Agents of Alternatives: Re-designing Our Realities. Berlin: Agents of Alternatives, 408-429.

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