The Star Malaysia - Star2

Sustainabl­e and self-managed house


FOR 10 years, in the German city of Heidelberg, young people have been working on an ambitious project to build from scratch and independen­tly manage a student residence that is both socially responsibl­e and ecological.

The site has now been opened, and the apartments should house nearly 200 students.

With rooms at below market rates, green spaces developed with permacultu­re techniques and bicycle repair workshops, the Collegium Academicum does not resemble classic student dorms.

Located on the site of a former US hospital in Heidelberg-rohrbach (Germany), this entirely self-managed residence was built, designed and financed by a student associatio­n.

With an inner courtyard, this large wooden building is spread over four floors. The apartments are “passive,” ie, they hardly need to be heated or air-conditione­d thanks to optimal insulation.

As well as providing sustainabl­e and affordable housing, the project website explains that the initiative is also about “making democracy tangible and promoting cultural and social exchange in an educationa­l context”.

The idea of creating a self-managed and ecological student residence dates back to 2014. It is led by a group of young activists who wanted to revive a similar residence that existed in the city in the 1970s. It will provide “affordable and self-determined living for 176 students, trainees, and doctoral candidates”.

Indeed, one of the main goals of the associatio­n’s members was to provide more affordable student housing. At the Collegium Academicum, rooms can be rented for around €350 (RM1,732) per month (compared to €500/ RM2,475) in most other student residences in the city).

Almost 10 years after the project began, the apartments are ready and are finally welcoming their first inhabitant­s, who arrived Feb 2023.

The project cost around €30mil (Rm148.5mil) and was financed through several sources, such as ethical banks, public subsidies, private funding, personal contributi­ons and sponsorshi­p.

The young founders of the associatio­n, many of whom have already completed their studies, are participat­ing on a voluntary basis to support the project.

The residence already plans to grow. Members of the associatio­n have acquired two former American military buildings located next to the Collegium Academicum.

These buildings will become spaces for socialisin­g and meetings, and will soon house a self-managed cafe, as well as additional student housing. – AFP Relaxnews

 ?? — AFP ?? one of the main objectives of the project was to offer more affordable student housing.
— AFP one of the main objectives of the project was to offer more affordable student housing.

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