The first scene concerns the demolition and transformation of GDR mass social housing in Leinefelde-Worbis. By introducing a political project that puts the housing issue and the shrinking process at the centre of the urban agenda, the city of Leinefelde-Worbis started operations to reduce and transform its large housing surplus. For about ten years, the architectural firm Stefan Forster Architekten privatised the public space, expanded the private one, interrupted the monotony and seriality of mass social housing, diversified the typologies and reduced volumes. These transformation projects were intended to overturn the principle of the prefabricated housing typology by introducing a vast repertoire of devices and degrees of transformability. Although the disruptive force of its change justified the celebration of the Leinefelde miracle the temporal distance allows us to consider the experience as a single episode in a specific historical moment that is difficult to reproduce. The first scene observes the attempt to govern the shrinking process through architecture and speculates about the meaning of the space project in the face of relevant socio-economic structural problems. The Leinefelde-Worbis experience also allows us to grasp what it means to govern the medium–long shrinking process through strategies based only on extraordinary programmes. Although for some, the transformation of mass social housing into a spectacular and commercial building represented an improvement in the quality of life, for others this catalogue of renewed spaces and materials was filled little by little with the same objects and the same problems.