In the Mini-Maker-Fair last Saturday people met in Colabor in Cologne-Ehrenfeld that are addicted to the Do-it-youfself trend.
In panel discussions and workshops it was about the topics of Open Workshops, Repair Cafes, Urban Gardening and Bicycle Repair. Thus, the do-it-yourself movement in public space. Since a while new forms of DIY have come up. Given the resources and energy crisis, but also the prosperity crisis mainly in the cities occurs a new lifestyle that focuses on DIY, Sharing and Exchanging, Upcycling and Yourself Growing.
During the very constructive exchange at the fair once more one thing became clear: Doing things yourself is the major trend of our time. A time in which everything is always available in our affluent society and there is no longer a challenge to look for things, to find them and consume. Because everything is available, it has lost its appeal. It is apparently growing a sense of wanting to get something up. One is no longer a against something, however, but would like to be active yourself, apply yourself. Questions that one would put on the Internet in a forum will be transferred to the analog space. There is no longer one who is above all and knows everything, instead all bring their knowledge and skills. For the Digital Natives and Generation Y the DIY institutions have the charm that they meet up with real people. Social interaction and public dialogue regain importance.
Activities such as sewing, knitting, preserve or repair, had long been a dusty and stale, experience a revival and are hip nowadays.
By your own actions you start reflecting about the production process behind the production of consumer goods. The DIY people, that are often critical consumers, question and find out that many things simply can not be. Because it just takes a while until you have sewn a shirt ready. Is it to buy such in the textile discounter for three euros, then it can only be because someone was treated bad or at least not fair during the product immersion process, otherwise such low prices would simply not be possible.
In Repair cafes and open workshops you can play a trick to planned obsolescence by simply unscrewing and repairing defective equipment. For you would otherwise either rummage through internet forums looking for the solution or try out quietly in your own little room and probably give up eventually irritated, you meet at these public places other people who come here with similar concerns. So you can exchange ideas, share knowledge and experiences and help each other.
But how does that work now with the do-it-yourself? In the Mini-Maker-Fair one could inform how you bring an open workshop or a public garden into being. By networking with each other and helping each other, hurdles and challenges might be overcome. During the workshop the active participants presented their experiences and recipes for success of projects. Even the city authorities appear to be open-minded about the subject.
There are open workshops in many German cities. Information can be found here. If you want to try urban gardening in Cologne you can do so at Neuland or Gartenwerkstadt Ehrenfeld and check with QuerWaldEin eV.
The vision of green cities that are car-free, driven by solar-powered bicycles and self-built cargo bikes and have left mass consumption behind, may seem to be quite unworldly. But it’s fun to think about it. And as always, the principle is to start yourself, otherwise nothing happens.
And to people who have professionalized the do it yourself or give a second life to old objects, Greenpicks offers a sales platform with an international focus.
The event was organized by the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production ( CSCP), Wuppertal, and the Colabor | Space for Sustainability, Cologne, and is part of the networking of the project “it’s me! sustainable in NRW “( www.ichbins-nrw.de), which is funded by the Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Conservation and Consumer Protection of NRW.