The whole world is looking at Berlin with awe: in Art. 15 of the German Basic Law, Berliners have found a democratic, affordable, and lawful way to solve the housing crisis. After a year-long delay, the Berlin Senate has confirmed that the referendum on socializing housing stock proposed by a civic initiative called Deutsche Wohnen & Co. Enteignen is legally permissible.
Joanna Kusiak is an urban sociologist and Research Fellow at King’s College, Cambridge University, and also a member of the socialization working group of the initiative Deutsche Wohnen & Co. enteignen.
Now that socialization has been officially declared both legally and politically possible, the corporate real-estate lobby will try its best to misrepresent it as economically harmful and “authoritarian” in spirit. Indeed, the reverse is true. Socialization is a procedure in the best legal tradition of democratic Germany, enabling sustainable housing reforms and saving public money. It provides a valuable model for managing all kinds of public resources in the era of post-COVID-19 economic insecurity. If we all unite in the effort to collect nearly 200,000 signatures for a referendum on socializing housing, we can take Berlin from being “poor but sexy” to being “sexy, smart, and sustainable”.