Public-Social Partnerships for Democratic Housing Innovation

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Pat Conaty:

"An interesting collaborative economy development has emerged in Wales over the past two years that is already advancing locally and practically co-operative housing solutions.

Most people and politicians are unaware that Democratic forms of housing come in many shapes and sizes. These examples below give a flavour of the rich diversity of tenure and system models.

• Tenant management co-operatives (where tenants manage their housing but do not own it)

• Tenant co-operatives (that includes both ownership and control of housing collectively by tenants)

• Tenant-ownership co-operatives (that includes limited equity ownership where rental payments convert to equity stakes for individual tenants)

• Co-housing (where housing units are individually owned but common facilities are co-owned including a ‘community house’ and mutual help networks)

• Live and Work housing co-operatives where workspace and housing are combined and co-managed

• Community self-build housing involving co-operative ownership of the units developed

• Community Land Trusts that support a diversity of co-ownership and co-operative solutions including housing to rent, housing for shared ownership and can include co-operative energy, local food growing space, community buildings and co-operative energy systems. To expand the development of co-operative housing across Wales, a dialogue in 2012 was kicked off between the co-operative movement, the non-profit housing organisations and the Welsh government. A new vision was developed through these conversations and key support in 2013 from the Welsh Housing Minister, Huw Lewis led to a growing public-social partnership network to support on the ground and implement through peer-to-peer learning a diverse range of co-operative housing innovation.

This report highlights what is being achieved in Wales. From the first five co-operative housing pioneer projects now being built, a further 20 projects right across Wales has been inspired in diverse communities and is emerging. Indeed practical action work is now underway and right across the examples of democratic housing in the above list. Seeing is becoming believing." (

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