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Spring 2023

HSB in Sweden Celebrates 100 Years

HSB, one of CHI’s three members in Sweden, turns 100 years old this year. Congratulations!

Johan Nyhus, HSB’s chairman, and CHI board member, offered the following reflections on the centenary celebrations: “Together we can make a difference. That is what history has taught us, from the 1920s when the severe living conditions with overcrowding and housing shortages formed the idea: what if people got together and built their own houses? Houses and homes of a much higher standard than what was common at that time. Looking back, I am proud of what HSB has contributed to and is continuing to contribute to society when it comes to innovation and commitment. The challenges we face today are different than those of a hundred years ago, but they are just as important. And we have a large responsibility to do what we can to achieve sustainable development and reach our ambitious climate goals. And continue to shape the homes of the future!”

A Decade-by-Decade Look at HSB’s Growth

HSB was founded in the 1920s to tackle the problem of inadequate housing. In the 1930s, HSB worked to remove overcrowding and establish a foundation for social housing policy. By the 1940s, the company had expanded, adopted reforms, and built more homes, leading to the emergence of Folkhemmet and apartment buildings.

In the 1950s, HSB became one of Sweden’s largest companies, with two in-house factories, three carpentry factories, and a marble quarry. The 1960s saw the launch of the “million program,” with HSB becoming Sweden’s largest single-family house builder. The 1970s brought inflation and high interest rates, as well as warnings from HSB about setbacks to fair housing costs.

The 1980s saw a boom in renovations due to a construction crisis, while the 1990s brought a real estate bubble and a halt to housing construction. HSB formed a bank, raised environmental issues, and had its first female chairman. The 2000s saw a booming housing market until the global financial crisis of 2008, followed by HSB’s praised Slottet quarter in Helsingborg and the Turning Torso landmark in Malmö.

The 2010s were marked by difficulties for young home buyers, leading HSB to launch its own solution, HSB Dela. The company also certified all-new production environmentally and ran a climate train through Sweden. In the 2020s, HSB faced the COVID-19 pandemic, took steps towards digitization, and inaugurated Sweden’s largest solar park while setting ambitious climate goals.

Anniversary Magazine
An anniversary magazine that describes the company’s history on 38 pages, highlights its development decade by decade. The magazine also presents a picture of modern Sweden and its emergence over the years.

Anniversary Trailer
What did a kitchen look like in 1923 when HSB was formed? What can a home look like in the future? From April to June, HSB’s anniversary trailer travels through Sweden. The exhibition trailer displays exciting innovations and provides a glimpse into past designs and what the future of home design may hold for housing cooperatives in Sweden.

Anniversary Video
This video tells the century-long history of the Swedish housing organization, HSB. The film is in Swedish with English subtitles.

Member Forum

Join our Member Forum on May 17 at 9:00 EDST (15:00 CEST) by registering here. We will send you a link via email before the event. Member Forums are an opportunity to learn and share innovations and best practices within the cooperative housing sector.

Guests include:

Tim Ross – Executive Director of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada. CHF Canada is a national membership association of housing co-operatives, representing over one thousand members, and home to over a quarter of a million people.

Linda Seaborn – Senior Policy Adviser – Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) in Australia. The BCCM is the peak body for cooperatives and mutuals in Australia.

Tom Ivey – Community Development Manager, DotCoop Enterprises DotCoop is the registry for .coop and .creditunion domains

Welcome BCCM: CHI’s Newest Member

We are pleased to announce that Australia’s Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) is the newest addition to CHI’s membership.

Melina Morrison, BCCM’s CEO, shared the following after receiving the membership news: “We look forward to engaging with CHI and active participation in the movement for growing the cooperative housing sector across the globe.”

Like many countries, Australia is facing a growing housing affordability crisis. The housing cooperative sector primarily consists of government-funded rental cooperatives housing 5,750 people in 3,000 coops, as well as a small full equity and limited equity sector. The rental housing coops are mostly organized into the Australian Co-operative Housing Alliance (ACHA) with the BCCM providing secretariat support. BCCM is also assisting these organizations to engage with government and is lobbying for improved housing policy. Moreover, ACHA has partnered with three universities and secured funding for research into the unique benefits of housing cooperatives with the findings due to be released this year. BCCM is assisting the sector to use the findings from this research to press for an expansion of cooperatives.

The BCCM is also organizing the full equity housing cooperative sector to work together with the rental housing coop sector to increase mixed equity and limited equity models. The BCCM also has members who are finance cooperatives and are exploring models to enable these members to partner with housing cooperatives to grow the sector.

Housing Blueprint
As the Australian government is increasing its interest in solving housing issues in Australia the BCCM wants to ensure that housing cooperatives are a significant part of that solution. Furthermore, the BCCM is calling on all political parties to work with the sector to develop equity and share equity models of coop housing that can give more Australians access to secure and affordable housing. Read the BCCM’s Housing Blueprint here.

CHI is delighted to welcome the BCCM’s contributions to our sectoral organization. It’s exciting to see the expansion of knowledge and experience around the table.

To learn about housing cooperatives in Australia and their connection to the current debates about affordable housing, you can read this overview.

Coop Conversations Podcast

In this podcast episode we talk to MULTIPRO, a professional services cooperative based in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, founded in 2013 by a group of young professionals (engineers, administrators, social developers), working in coordination with CECOVI, the umbrella organization of housing cooperatives in the department of Matagalpa, founded in 2019.

Multipro is currently involved in the development of housing cooperatives in the department of Matagalpa, providing technical assistance to six cooperative groups, promoting political advocacy for access to urbanized land, state financing and legal frameworks that focus on benefiting the popular classes.

You can listen to Coop Conversations wherever you listen to podcasts. Here is the link to this episode on Spotify. You can also watch the video on our YouTube channel.

International Social Housing Festival – June 7 to 9 in Barcelona

Every single country in the world is solving a housing riddle. Join us in Barcelona from 7 to 9 June 2023 to find answers to some of today’s most relevant housing questions together. The city of Barcelona provides a perfect example of the potential to strengthen its housing system in the context of weak market regulations and scarcity of public resources devoted to housing. The festival will also focus on the lessons to be learned from mature as well as emerging housing systems vis-à-vis emerging social and economic challenges across the world, with a particular focus on Southern Europe and extensive participation from the rest of the continent, Asia, Latin America and North America.

You can read the entire bulletin here. Don’t forget to subscribe to our e-bulletin to stay up-to-date with the latest news and developments in cooperative housing.

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