Kiez Burn Land?
Around the discussion of a new site there was the idea of (sort of) investing into our own space and being less dependent on other groups real estate.I'm looking for advice and ideas, and trying to figure out if this is a good time to proceed on that way.
This advice process is about developing option and ideas if and how we would live to have land, and how to use it.
Proposer (name, handle, etc.):
Member of the board of Kiez Burn e.V. (and also Berlin Burner e.V.) . I'm trying to collect the thoughts about that topic at one single place as advice to the verein about possible outcomes from the freiland discussion.
The advice process
The first step in the advice process is to gather input and advice from experts and people affected. (see realities)
Information gathered before posting
We had some discussions within the board about that topic.
We got a (not-to-be disclosed) offer/proposal about supporting us in finding land and funding, and doing projects for us or together on that land.
The borderlands are also currently a role model of running big-ish events on their own land.
I also had a conversation with Ann-Kathrin Rudorf of Kreativ Kultur Berlin about some aspects of and around that topic. She shared a tons of thoughts and links (I've added some deepl-translations for german paragraphs):
The following selection focuses on alternative communities, democracy projects, cultural politics and visual arts. Reflecting my field of expertise. But you find so many more communities and makers from different fields in Brandenburg. The festival scene / rave scene is quite big too. Therefore I encourage you to create your very own mapping and understand this as a starting point to form your vision for KiezBurn with its permanent home and also to start thinking about organisation developement to carry your vision on the long run. I believe speaking to other makers and gathering best practice examples could be a great start. The current offer won't run away and it's legit to pause it to gather more infos and comparison offers.
"Kultur im ländlichen Raum" - Culture in rural areas
There is a big discourse around the development of rural areas in Germany and the role of culture in it. Brandenburg has many great examples in this regard. I believe that learning about it could be inspiring for your vision as well as it will enable you to contextualize what you do within this cultural landscape: why? for whom? with whom? etc.
The Future Places network is committed to turning the current trend of a perceived "urban exodus" into an asset for communities, municipalities and regions that until recently suffered (or are still struggling with) outmigration. We want to support them in shedding the image of the "disconnected province" and becoming an innovation space where many things are possible. The Zukunftsorte network is supported by the Ministry of Economics, Labor and Energy with funding from the European Social Fund and the state of Brandenburg. https://zukunftsorte.land/
(Original: Das Netzwerk Zukunftsorte setzt sich dafür ein, den aktuellen Trend einer gefühlten “Stadtflucht” zu einem Gewinn für Gemeinden, Kommunen und Regionen zu machen, die bis vor kurzem unter Abwanderung litten (oder noch immer damit kämpfen). Sie wollen wir dabei unterstützen, das Bild der “abgehängten Provinz” abzustreifen und zum Innovationsraum zu werden, wo vieles möglich ist. Das Netzwerk Zukunftsorte wird gefördert durch das Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Arbeit und Energie aus Mitteln des Europäischen Sozialfonds und des Landes Brandenburg. https://zukunftsorte.land/ )
Kreativorte-Brandenburg was born from the desire to present Brandenburg in a different light and to give more visibility to innovative places in the countryside. In 2018, Philipp and Susan spent a summer driving through fields and forests in their camper, visiting projects, discovering initiatives, and making friends. Since then, this blog collects success stories from the countryside and presents places and their creators who discover a new (digital) way of living and working in the countryside. -> Here you can also find real estate: https://www.kreativorte-brandenburg.de/immobilien/ -> they also organize meet ups, so you could start asking around...)
(Original: Kreativorte-Brandenburg entstand durch den Wunsch Brandenburg in einem anderen Licht darzustellen und innovativen Orten auf dem Lande mehr Sichtbarkeit zu schenken. Philipp und Susan sind 2018 einen Sommer lang mit ihrem Camper durch Feld und Wald gebraust und haben Projekte besucht, Initiativen entdeckt und Menschen als Freunde gewonnen. Seither sammelt dieser Blog Erfolgsgeschichten vom Land und stellt Orte und ihre Macher*innen vor, die eine neue (digitale) Art vom Leben & Arbeiten auf dem Land für sich entdecken. -> Hier werden u.a. auch Immobilien vermittelt: https://www.kreativorte-brandenburg.de/immobilien/ -> sie veranstalten auch Meet Ups, so könntet ihr anfangen euch umzuhören..)
The book "Ländliche Verheißung" is a good read about cultural (living) communities in Brandenburg. Here's an abstract: https://www.kreativorte-brandenburg.de/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Verheissung_Buch_kleiner.pdf
Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (federal organisation for political education) offers a scientific well researched read about "Land und Ländlichkeit"
Also interesting is "Lebendige Orte: Eine Reise durch Barnim und Uckermark" https://www.amadeu-antonio-stiftung.de/publikationen/lebendige-orte-eine-reise-durch-barnim-und-uckermark/
Do you know this project? The state Brandenburg is working on a platform to connect and present culture in Brandenburg. You might want to geht in touch: https://www.kunst-in-brandenburg.de/
How can cultural offerings be further developed in rural regions and smaller cities? And how can local cultural institutions open up to new tasks, content and cooperation? The program "TRAFO - Models for Culture in Transition," an initiative of the German Federal Cultural Foundation, supports regions in permanently strengthening their cultural venues and their cultural offerings.
NEUE AUFTRAGGEBER (New Patrons)
In Germany, the Gesellschaft der Neuen Auftraggeber offers support to citizens who launch project initiatives. A nonprofit organization based in Berlin, it cooperates with numerous partners and sponsors and is a key node in an international network. It lays the groundwork for the projects and provides the structures required for their realization from initial idea to finished work.
Here some further links to makers and projects in Brandenburg:
Hof Prädikow https://hof-praedikow.de/
ROHKUNSTBAU (yearly art exhibit always at a different forgotten venue in Brandenburg that brings the Berliners out to the countryside) https://www.rohkunstbau.net/
UM Festival (pretty new arts festival) https://um-festival.de/
E-WERK Lückenwalde https://www.kunststrom.com/startseite.html
In the past I've played with the thought of establishing a county side branch of the Burner Embassy Berlin as a "Kulturlustgarten" , but gave up on the idea because of the distance to the center of Berlin (though reachable in 1h door-to-door from the Embassy), amount of work necessary to clear the space from bushes and other obstacles, and most risky: direct adjacent neighbours.
People/roles most affected by this proposal
Kiez Burn event team/Korg
The whole Kiez Burn community
People/roles with the most knowledge and experience relevant to this proposal:
What is the current situation? What are the problems with this? Are there any assumptions in your proposal?
It's not certain that we will still need to use Freiland e.V.'s land for future Kiez Burns after this summer. The cost of renting the land is getting higher and more fees are being added per person. With rules about sound and limited dates, we might consider other options. We are looking for new locations for 2024, but buying our own land might be a possibility, like the association running The Borderlands did. We could use money from previous years as equity for a loan, and save on rental costs in the future. The space could also be used for other events that align with our values. However, we need to think about how the space will be used all year, not just for Kiez Burn. Ideas include making it a permanent art space, a Burner campground, or hosting other regional burns. We need to decide how the land will be taken care of, whether it's by a community living there, weekly volunteers, or just the legal minimum. This will depend on funding requirements and the need to have a good business plan for the land, which might be required for a loan from a bank.
We should come up with ideas, a concept and a business case first on how to use the land, based on relevant guesstimations of comparable existing spaces, like Freiland, Wilde Möhre, The Borderlands. The proposal should state what is needed from the community in terms of work hours, people moving to or near the land, financial support and projects to use the land. It should also name people interested in supporting the project long-term, and what structures and resources we'll need as a minimum there.
How would the proposal be implemented
Define the process. Think through some of the implications and be ready to incorporate suggestions to change some of these through the discussions.
First, we will need to brainstorm the contents of the document. Depending of feasibility and calculated amounts of money we need to check with the Schatzmeisterin if the necessary funds are available, or within reach by fundraising activities.
Then we'll have to decide if we have resources enough to find funding and land on our own, or if we cooperate financially with consultants. We will also research banks for loans and conditions. When we are able to buy land, we also need to educate ourselves beyond our 11 principles, which laws are relevant for land owners and how to prepare the land for Kiez Burn.
Who would implement this proposal
Most likely you will not be the only one that implements something. Map out who's help you may need or on which areas you need help. Be aware that if you need help from others, they need to give their OK to the proposal.
We will form a group of people working on this, with at least another board member working on it and the Schatzmeisterin in close communication (e.g. for financial aspects of proposed concepts). As the legal body a membership assembly of Kiez Burn e.V. needs to instruct in time the board to negotiate and sign the necessary contracts. Running the land after purchase will probably be the task of another group to be formed.
When would this proposal be implemented
Give people an impression of the timeline of your proposal. Potentially linking this with how other projects' timelines.
I see a window of opportunity in combination of with the location scouting ad, so the usage concept and demand calculations will take at least three months. Actual research and anything around funding programs will take another while. Depending on volunteers some parts of it can be done in parallel if we know what we are looking for. But the whole purchase is not to be done in a rush, and even when we own land, making it usable for events will need more time (like: one is not allowed to cut bushes or trees from March to October).
What would be the cost (time, money, effort, etc.) of this proposal
Define how this might impact finances of different people or areas.
This proposal will need a lot of effort and also money. So it is most useful to keep the financial impact and obligations low until we have a concept (and real numbers) how to develop the place in combination with how to develop our community over the years.
What are the advantages of this proposal (relative to the current situation and/or counter-proposals)
How does your proposal relate to the Kiez Burn principles?
We'll have our own land to run Kiez Burn and probably more events on, with the opportunity of more freedom what to create, leaving some infrastructure and/or art permanently there, and also extending our reach into other Burner and non-Burner communities.
We can practice living with the 11 principles in an accountable way, and we could showcase that to people interested in Burner culture.
We can keep our event money more community-owned.
We're following some sort of growing maturity as a community by creating permanent places for experiences.
We're becoming more independent from other groups in our time planning.
We can think about more permanent Burns, like PermaBurn, Burner campground, Circle of regional Burns. We can support more nature based experiences as a part time alternative to the hectic city life. More and longer opportunities to grow together as a community and on a personal base.
We can stop any time along the way until a certain point and still have a way better idea where the community is heading in the long run.
We can try to learn from The Borderlands about their first successes and failures, since they are 1-2 years ahead from where we are now.
What are the disadvantages of this proposal (relative to the current situation and/or counter-proposals)
Be open to self-critique and document feedback people give under this header.
We will need money. We will need a lot of volunteers in all phases of the proposal.
We haven't done anything like this in such a dimension (the Burner Embassy would be a small bush compared to this huge tree).
The future is uncertain, and this is really a long term project. We need to make sure that we can avoid unfortunate developments which happened in other communities (e.g. Netherlands). Power within the project needs to be balanced and bound by internal contracts for responsible decisions.
The whole thing might require the effort of a Kiez Burn year round, plus the normal effort for Kiez Burn and our other events. The community might be too thin to do all this besides their normal activities.
The place we might end up could be far away, since land around Berlin is probably expensive and/or too crowded. It might be to attract major parts of our community often enough to be of good use.
We will have to deal with land owners risks: storms, floods, fire, drought. Those things might need insurances, or money if they happen.
The administrative load on the verein will increase significant. We even might need to think to pay companies for some tasks or have paid staff for the year round operation. That touches power and imbalance questions.
We might need to question us how commercial-grade sound systems might fit with neighbours, and what might be necessary infrastructure to be able to live with them. Since we will depend on the local authorities for permits etc., we will need to find ways which will work for several years.
Buying land means to invest into the future of our community. That also includes people as far as 10 or 20 years away. We will need to find out if we can look way beyond our own activities and perspective and our own current (maybe) intense social life.
Write here when you think a decision can be taken or should be taken. You could set a deadline if other important leads/areas are dependent on a decision here. Or you could take the open-ended view that you will take a decision when all have had the chance to give advice.
When a decision was reached, write on top of the thread:
A decision has been made
Who made the decision: Your name
When was the decision made: Date
Decision Summary: Short version of what you have decided
B r i Tue 7 Feb 2023 11:17PM
Off the top of my head, 1 of the year round uses could be use of sustainability and art and how it can work outside of the city and during each season?
I'd love to help, I've done/do film project pitches, so the art/culture side of things.
Henrik 🤖 Wed 8 Feb 2023 2:41PM
Have you done pseudo calculations with some fake-but-reasonable numbers? Would love to know when you'd expect to break even (i.e. after 10, 25 or 50 years)
Saskia Thu 9 Feb 2023 9:36AM
I would like to address less "material" but rather "psychological" concerns and how the owning of land could impact the structural backbone of the community. I see a lot of those concerns reflected in Owls beginning statement.
Mind you, there are many positive possible psychological outcomes of this plan as well. I am not going to focus on them in the reply to this advice process tho, as I think it's a place to bring up concerns.
What I think is the biggest issue is what owl describes as "thinness of community" and I have reasonable doubts that we're currently anywhere near a level where we could pull this off. But then again I am not known for optimism and "dreaming big".
The first things I thought about were the following bullet points and maybe somebody can LMK if I am seeing things a bit too bleak here?
The recruitment of board members and leads might become more problematic with an increase in responsibility of such a scale. It is a bigger commitment. It increases the threshold for new community members to get involved.
Given that there is so much chaos sometimes (in documentation, in transference of important information, etc. etc. pp.) I kinda see the need to evolve more "bureaucratic maturity" before we want to handle land-ownership in germany
If there happens to be a small group being more responsible for the space year round, structures of power-imbalance through involvement might evolve. A certain "elitism" of people who are "really in" and people who are just "guests". Let's say: a phenomen that is similar to the "weekend-warrior" / "who is participating and who is spectating" / "freecampers/campxyz/etc does not contribute properly" discussions but more pronounced.
Owning and holding and cultivating land in the container of a community is - I think - a dream of many. The motivation for people to be involved in the community could shift from the "burn" and its' every-changing form to "maybe this place could become my 2nd home". From other community building projects I have gathered the impression that people become attached to that dream and might overextend themselves - not because they're still in it for the burn, but because they're in it for the land and entirely burn-unrelated future hopes
Currently, I think, the allure of getting involved in KB is the flexibility that comes with it. I might be super involved in 2019, step out of it completly in 2021 because I burned out, come back in 2022 and I do not feel shame or guilt or fear about it. I can experience the burner-burnout and then come back. But assuming that the last two points are the reality to some degree: Hope for a "home" + an implicit social hierarchy... well, this would exceed a psychological kind of pressure which puts a strain on this freedom.
Tl;Dr: The buying of land has the potential to fundamentally change the way the community works and how one relates to the community and why. One outcome might be, that the costs of stepping back from the community are increased (due to loosing something like a cool area you might get attached to), - and - the costs for stepping into the community might be increased (due to higher commitment/time/experience/knowlede requirements). And if that happens I think it would chip away on one of the things that makes the communtiy so amazing.
Martin K Thu 9 Feb 2023 6:40PM
Hi Owl, Hi everybody,
Thank you very much for this initiative. I have been thinking and planning similar things over the last three years. I have already been working on a concept, but aside from the Burning community on a wider and more general scale regarding social change. I am currently involved in a project called Gravitation Grabowsee (https://www.grabowsee.com/). I wanted to present this project to members of the burn community soon anyway, so I just drop this here. Please contact me, if you like to know more.
Some thoughts regarding your proposal:
First, again, thanks for your detailed, humble and careful approach. I can't add much, since you said it: this needs a lot of research first. Generally I would love to have a permanent space for cultural, political, social activities. It's what we and society needs. We need to completely reinvent how we live and work and produce and think and act and we need spaces to experiment.
So I guess for now the question is just about: would the community want this (which is kind of rhetoric, because yes) and is the community strong enough and willing to carry the shitload of work?
Let's admit it: we wouldn't just use it for some events, we will live there and go crazy. This is a huge endeavour and we really need to ask ourself if we are mature enough (yet) and if we want to develop the community like this and bring it to another level. I am all up for it, but we need to understand, what this means. Because this goes way beyond our loose (but strong) community which only needs to get organized for the events during the year, which is comparatively "easy". It would also mean a whole lot more and different responsibilities for the board. We need more than just a team. We would need to get organized professionally. People would need to step up and really make this their thing for the next years. For this our Burn community needs to reinvent itself and seek for longterm organisation to establish financial security. Radically decentralized orga structures would be at stake/ would need adjustment.
It feels, somehow all this goes way beyond a "regular" advice process. It's correct to bring it up here, but, as you said, it needs a lot more discussion, research, facts to even decide if this is a feasible proposition. Thus it's hard for me to say much here, sorry for the blabla.
If we decide, we are not ready, maybe it would make sense to wait a couple years, develop Kiezburn on the new site and the whole Berlin Burn bubble with this prospect in the back of our heads, research and build a team, then thinking about buying land in 5 years again? This would be the slow approach.
So how do we find out, if the community is ready for this?
If we can arrange some basic info material with the main questions, prospects, problems, opportunities, we can facilitate workshops plus info table at events (Burn night, scavenger hunt, KB)? We would gather interested and dedicated people, check the response, then we could have an info evening to form a first strucure to work on it? Aside from this direct, personal part, we should set up a channel, better an own discord server for this matter to check for feedback and input. For now, here on Talk, it would indeed be nice to hear, what other people who have been in this community longer think: are we ready for this?
Generally, from experience, everybody wants it, and to find people who would want to live there, do art, workshops, partys, a garden and whatnot is easypeasy. Money... It's all doable somehow. Work? Together it's possible if done properly. - But to find enough able, motivated, dedicated people who realize a project like this in their free time aside from friends, partners, capitalism, life, without getting stuck in fighting about details, with the will to professionalize: that's the reallyreally hard part.
thanks, cheers, hugs, kisses!
Owl Sat 11 Feb 2023 3:52PM
Thanks for your thoughts and concerns so far! Let me disclose here: I'm sceptical whether the community is already ready for it. Nevertheless it seems to be the right time to figure out how to do it right.
Its easy to like the idea itself because of the flexibility it might deliver to Kiez Burn, but as Saskia stated: owning land could to bureaucracy, power inbalance, needed volunteer work and people giving up their city lives to make things happen (year-round?). We have some examples for other countries and other communities of permanently used spaces outside of cities, like Borderlands, Wokule, and even Freiland and Martins proposal. But the beginning discussion convinced me even more that it will be necessary to transform the excitement over the idea into a development concept which is stable for many years. That is sort of independent of which land it would be, though the original concept will probably needed to be adapted to a specific setting.
My feeling is now that even the concept will take more than 3 month, and that it will have to run totally independent of any short-term relocation discussion for Kiez Burn. So my suggestion and next step will be to form a group of people interested in that topic on discord. I would rather focus on how to finance and run such a piece of land (and less on how to find it and when to buy it). If we can dig into the initial concepts of Borderland (there are probably sone), that could provide a good starting point for our own concept.
It might also be thinkable that even though Kiez Burn started the discussion, that the legal body for such a project might be independent of Kiez Burn e.V.. Our organisation is already busy (if not overstretched) by organising Kiez Burn and all smaller events and community activities, and such a year round responsibility combined with all the financial obligations calls for a different structure. Also the non-profit topic needs to be discussed, is a project like this better done as a for-profit organisation (which Kiez Burn e.V. is in financial terms) or as a non-profit? Or: how much control do we as the Kiez Burn part of the Burner community about such that project? And if we don't have all the control, do we still like the project in a few years?
P.S.: when I look into way other communities like e.g. family-oriented nudist communities, things can be pretty long-living. My grandparents were active in Western Berlin on a nudist campground within the city limits. The name of my grandma is still listed as the person creating and running a singing circle for decades. And even twenty years after her death her memory is still present there. (http://www.vfk-suedwest.de/home/singkreis-im-vfk.html)
Do we as a community want to move into a direction of permanence, and take over responsibilities and provide ground for generations to come (so to speak)? Or is what we do so likely to change into something else soon that these thoughts are unnecessary und misleading? This is as well psychological as philosophical. But I can also imagine that these thoughts are far away from people just joining the community or are focused on how Kiez Burn appears to be.
Owl Thu 25 May 2023 10:52AM
@Martin K is planning a workshop at KiezKon in June, where we'll try to bring together the different aspects and options for Kiez Burn land.
Kris · Tue 7 Feb 2023 12:08PM
My camp would like to reserve one floor in the apt building we're buying.
Joking aside, how would fundraising work, and what would the resulting ownership model look like? I assume we can borrow some money and pay it back through leases, but not all of it. Is putting this in the existing e.V. wise, or are there other structures more fit for purpose?