Booklet: Future of Living

Published April 2018

From Dialogue to Action: Since 2016, CITYMAKERS supported the realization of selected project ideas in the context of liveable city making. During that time, 3 focus groups received seed money from the Robert Bosch Foundation as well as mentoring for idea development.

One focus groups was about the theme “The Future of Living”.  The team explored alternative ways of living, working and sharing in Chinese cities. It discussed and conceptualised a novel resident-centred building type in China. The project explored how elements and characteristics of German cases can be employed to make housing and living in Chinese cities more socially inclusive, environmentally sustainable and financially affordable. The group work resulted into an in-depth study on co-housing models in Germany and China.

Read below more the ‘CITYMAKERS-Future of Living’ project and about the team of experts behind.

CITYMAKERS Future of Living – Focus Group

Existing housing projects offer few options with regard to cost, size and demographic mix both in Germany and China. Conventional project planning pays little attention to the aspirations of urban residents and their desires to live in urban communities that are inclusive and inspiring. The Future of Living Incubator Group (FOL) asks what it takes to make housing more inclusive, sustainable and affordable.


Based on the vision that co-housing is not only one of Berlin’s secret success factors to liveable city making, but also holds a potential for application in China. How could co-housing be developed into a business model to make the future of living a place where you can share your time and skills, where neighbours inspire and help each other? A place with shared spaces and costs where life together is better than living alone.


Kicked off in the context of the CITYMAKERS China – Germany program and supported by funding from the Robert Bosch Foundation, a focus group of German and Chinese academics and practitioners approached the topic using three formats:

  • case studies: the team analysed existing German and Chinese collective housing cases
  • an online survey: the team polled 1,000 residents of Shenzhen
  • expert workshops: the team organized a focus group event in December 2017 and asked 17 experts from real estate development, urban planning, policy making, architecture and urban design and social activism about their opinions on the future of living.

The results were presented at AEDES Architecture Forum in Berlin in April 2018 and at the Annual Mainland China Meeting of the Urban Land Institute in June 2018, and also made into a 130-page bilingual manual introducing 10 case studies from Germany and China:

Future of Living Booklet (PDF)


After this first phase, the topic of co-housing was continued as a Joint Studio ‘Future of Living: Together’ between Tongji CAUP and Bochum University of Applied Sciences, where two of the project initiators, Dr. Iris Belle and Dr. Erhard An-He Kinzelbach, teach. The studio involved students of both universities and ran from March to July 2018 including a one week workshop in Shanghai, funded by the Chinese-German Campus, CAUP and Bochum University of Applied Sciences.

The next possible step would be to create a prototype with real estate developers in China.

Future of Living Studio // Beijing


  • Dr. Iris Belle, architect, geographer, PhD Geography, since May 2019 project partner at Drees & Sommer, Stuttgart
  • Dr. Erhard An-He Kinzelbach, architect, member of BDA, professor, architecture department, Bochum University of Applied Sciences, principal, KNOWSPACE ARCHITECTURE + CITIES
  • Binke Lenhardt, architect, member of BDA, founder & partner of CROSSBOUNDARIES, Beijing
  • Hao DONG, architect, creative thinker, founder & partner of CROSSBOUNDARIES, Beijing


DONG Hao – The Architect as Creative Thinker

6 Questions to LU Ying – Future Urban Living