Concluding on Monday 2 October, the Sydney Architecture Festival will wrap up with a celebration of World Architecture Day together with a keynote speech by American architect, academic, curator and author Dr Kristien Ring.

Ring will draw on her research into how cities benefit from greater density, and also talk about “people-led” housing solutions for the future in her presentation: “From profit-driven to people-led housing for Sydney.” 

Ring will share a citizen-led housing model based on the idea of baugruppen and its long tradition of self-initiated, community-oriented living and the shared responsibility of building. 

“On the surface, these are practical solutions, where single-family homes are stacked and combined to optimise the use of an urban site,” Ring says.

“Green, open and community spaces have proven vital parts of good neighbourhoods and are important here. Common spaces such as rooftop terraces, function rooms, playrooms, guest rooms, saunas, office space, terraces and even a teenager club,” she notes, adding that, “Every baugruppen project in Berlin has a shared garden, which is often also open to the public.” 

According to festival director, Tim Horton, “In Germany, the mainstream model is citizen-led affordable housing, which can cost between 15 and 30 percent less to purchase, because the buyer is the developer.”

“This is mainstream in Germany, and it’s becoming more common in Australia. This is not a theory. This is practical change,” he says.