In capitalism, land and therefore building and housing are tradable goods that are able to generate surplus value by themselves. A home, however, is not a commodity like any other: everyone needs somewhere to live. In the face of the rapid growth of cities like Berlin in the 19th and early 20th century, free market economy was incapable of creating affordable living spaces and humane housing conditions for the working classes. In many places, the state intervened in multiple ways and invested in social housing programs. In West Germany, social housing implied the public subsidising of investments in the construction of rental apartments as well as single family homes: A system that served to line private pockets. By the 1960s, modern housing projects were to reshape entire inner-city neighborhoods and reached the scale of satellite towns on the fringes. Florian Wüst takes a look at this period of massive urban and social transformation by presenting a selection of historical short films and film excerpts. Through focusing on West Berlin in the early 1970s, the implications of capitalist urban planning and the increasing resistance against top-down policies will be highlighted.
Florian Wüst is an independent film curator, artist, and publisher based in Berlin. His work revolves around the history of post-war Europe and modern social, economic and technical progress. He writes and lectures about topics related to cinema, society and urban politics. In 2016 he co-founded berliner hefte zur geschichte und gegenwart der stadt. Wüst regularily contributes to the Werkleitz Festival and acts as the film and video curator of Transmediale.