While preparing the URBACT Biannual report, we found some interesting information regarding sustainable urban development. One of them is Sostre Cívic, a non-profit association that aims to provide planning solutions applicable to our society through non speculative access to housing.
This project sets up a model called ‘cooperative housing use’. These cooperatives, unlike the usual housing cooperatives, do not dissolve after handing over the housing units. They remain active and maintain the ownership of homes, preventing their entry into the market and the increase, therefore, of the speculation.
Like any traditional building society, a down payment is required to access this model, which is nine times less than the usual deposit, followed by a monthly fee for life (an amount slightly less than a rent). Once the construction loan settled, the fee can be used to create a fund for community improvements, for outreach or for the granting of loans to the use of other cooperatives.
As the cooperative is the owner of the housing for life, and since the housing units do not get in the speculative market, contrary to traditional housing models, a permanent stock of affordable housing is created. The fact that the cooperative is indefinite and does not dissolve, gives future residents a long term investment opportunity. Moreover, it helps improving the environmental and energy quality of the buildings thus reducing costs for users and clients, while promoting the existence of shared spaces and social relationships.
The model is working in the city of Manresa, already home to 9 families, and there are two projects underway that will host 33 more families. At the institutional level, the model has been successfully introduced in the Housing Plan for Catalonia, and now it has been brought forward to the state level.