In many urban areas families increasingly undergo problems on the housing market. The private market is often too expensive, of too little quality, or both. The public (social) housing sector has too little appropriate stock and thus long waiting lists. In fact, the classic dichotomy between private and public fails. Cooperative housing initiatives fill in structural inadequacies that both traditional housing markets leave. In various European countries there is a growing movement of people forming coops to build and govern qualitative, affordable housing.
As a start-up housing cooperation in Belgium’s second city Antwerp, Collectief Goed aims to provide affordable and adapted housing to large and underprivileged families of foreign descent. Collectief Goed seeks solutions for its target group by buying single family houses and leasing the land from a social housing company. Due to their size and scattered locations, these houses did not obtain priority on renovation schemes and were to be sold privately, of course only enhancing the above-mentioned problem. Over the past few years, Collectief Goed and its future tenants have alternatively set up a housing coop to gather funds and renovate the first 16 houses. A small success is in the making. However, upscaling the project raises various strategic, financial and practical questions.
On 16 September an Urbego representative joins the cooperative housing workshop in Antwerp, organized by the INDIGO research project team. INDIGO is a research project on territorial development, land ownership and governance of land use rights. It aims to understand how landed commons are co-created, and to contribute to the proliferation of innovative forms of shared land use (rights), cooperation and land valuation. The workshop focuses on the above-mentioned case and aims to upscale this socially inspired initiative. Beside presentations on regional housing market mechanisms, pitches will be held by representatives of housing coops from Spain, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.
There is a clear connection with the upcoming study day ‘The Collective and the Vacant’ in Paris the following week on 23 September.