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common equity

New international review shows what Australia can learn from the rest of the world about fixing the housing crisis with co-operative housing

Common Equity (NSW) has announced a new world-wide study to identify the extent and value of housing co-operatives around the world.

The research, commissioned by Australia’s Peak Co-op Housing Bodies; ‘Articulating Value in Co-operative Housing’ was undertaken by researchers from Western Sydney University and the University of Newcastle. It analysed existing research in a dozen countries. The findings point to the significant benefits of Co-operative Housing Models. For example:

  • Cost Savings: up to 14% lower capital and operating costs under the co-operative model
  • Social Capital: Stronger social networks and sense of community – higher than any other form of housing Health & Wellbeing:
  • Widespread reports that living in a housing co-operative provides a greater sense of physical, emotional, mental health and well-being Resident Satisfaction:
  • Widespread reports of lower costs, high quality homes with better security and housing stability.

Their research found that “The existing research indicates numerous potential benefits created by cooperative housing in many countries. This gives us a solid starting point for identifying the extent and nature of the value created by Australia’s housing co-operatives, including the value generated by the people who live in co-operatives” says Louise Crabtree, Senior Researcher, from Western Sydney University.

Click here to read their media release.  The full Research Report for Stage One will be released in mid-late August 2018.  A second stage of the Research is expected to commence by the end of 2018 and will quantify the extent to which co-operative housing delivers value in the Australian context.

Meeting with the Co-operative Department, Ministry of Economy in Dubai

On April 1st 2018,  Ahsan Ali Thakur visited the Ministry of Economy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). Ahsan is Manager of Human Resources & Communications for Karachi Cooperative Housing Societies Union in Pakistan. He is also Chairperson of ICA-Asia & Pacific Committee on Youth Cooperation (ICYC) and a board member of the International Cooperative Alliance and Vice-President of the Global Youth Network. Ahsan was received by Mr. Saeed Mubarak Bin Amro, Director of the Cooperative Department at the Ministry of Economy, and his team, Mr. Ahmed Shrief, Head of Section Monitoring and Controller Cooperative Dept.; Mr. Wali Al Khairi and Mr. Muhammad Yusri, both Finance Controllers in the Cooperative Department.

Photo of Ahsan Ali Thakur

Ahsan Ali Thakur

Ahsan presented cooperative facts and figures in addition to explaining how the cooperative movement began in Pakistan. He also presented the book Cooperation in Cooperatives: Future Solution to Socio-Economic Problems as a memento and for sharing cooperative knowledge.

Further discussion took place with sharing of ideas as well as prospects and success stories of cooperative development in the UAE.  Everyone agreed that further discussion and knowledge sharing should be the way to move forward between the two countries. Ahsan invited his hosts to visit Pakistan for further exchanges and knowledge sharing.

He also informed them about the second ICA-AP Committee on Youth Cooperation Youth Summit in August in the Philippines. The Summit’s purpose is to engage and encourage youth to start cooperative enterprises. Loomio, a worker-owned cooperative social enterprise that develops open source software, was at last year’s summit in Bali, Indonesia. This year, the Youth Summit is looking for entrepreneurs (between 18-35 years of age) from the cooperative sector to speak at the conference. Please contact us at if you’re interested or have any suggestions.

How can a housing co-operative offer affordable houses at below-market costs?

A housing co-operative that last year sold 49 homes in Ballymun at prices starting from €140,000, is to build a new low-cost housing estate in the north Dublin suburb.

An Irish housing co-operative was able to keep the prices below market costs, because it was sold the land in Poppintree, Ballymun, by Dublin City Council for €1,000 per house plot. On the open market, the same plots would have cost €20,000-€30,000. The council also waived the development levies of €86.40 per square metre.

Read the whole article here.

Vive la France! A home for retirees by retirees is officially open!

Coopérative d’habitants Chamarel-les-Barges, Lyon, France

This is a story about a group of people from Vaulx-en-Velin, in the eastern suburbs of Lyon, France where fifteen retirees decided in 2009 to build a building in their image and to live better together. In 2010 they created the Chamarel Association and in 2012 created a co-operative named Chamarel “Les Barges.”

This group of friends decided to create intergenerational housing to allow them to take their aging in hand, in continuity with their personal and professional beliefs: social commitment, associative life, culture and politics, teamwork and co-operation.

The Mayoress of Vaulx en Velin, former State Secretary for Urban Policy in the previous French government spoke at the Chamarel inauguration September 29, 2017 and congratulated residents and Presidents of the Chamarel les Barges Coop and the Friends of Chamarel Association for realizing their dream and vision.


Q&A with Pablo Caballero from FUCVAM

The residents of Chamarel were also very happy to have Pablo Caballero from the Federación Uruguaya de Cooperativas de Vivienda por Ayuda Mutua (FUCVAM) with them for a few days to exchange ideas and experiences. He had previously visited Coopérative d’habitants Village Vertical in Villerbanne, Rhône in 2015.

Some details about the project:

  • Designed by senior citizens for senior citizens
  • The four-story building includes 14 one-bedroom apartments of 45 m², two two-bedroom apartments of 63 m², as well as public spaces on the ground floor, including two guest bedrooms, a common room with a kitchen, a workshop, a laundry room and an office
  • All the apartments are identical (double orientation, similar kitchen equipment etc.) in a concern for equity
  • Wide sliding doors and facilities for adaptation over time
  • Functional for people as they age
  • The building’s location also guarantees ease of access to public transportation, businesses, and services
  • Three loans totaling €1.7 million euros. (Crédit Agricole granted a 275 K€ loan reimbursable over 50 years for the property and a loan of a bit more than 1 M€ for the building for 40 years. Moreover, 612 K€ were borrowed at a zero percent interest rate over 20 years from CARSAT, a bank for retirement insurance and worker health)
  • Elderly people succeeded in borrowing 75% of the total cost over a 50-year repayment period! The mortgage lenders ended up agreeing because the project brought them good publicity
  • Sustainable construction using straw, which is excellent thermal and sound insulation
  • In addition to insulating, straw regulates humidity, and once the wall of straw is coated, it becomes a very good firewall

Read more about Chamarel-les-Barges on their website and read this article and watch the video!

Coopérative d’habitants Chamarel-les-Barges

Inauguration de la Coopérative d’habitants Chamarel-les-Barges

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