Despite a lot of interest, there’s only a small amount of co-op housing in the UK. Most non-profit housing is charitable housing associations. Large housebuilders have a hold of the market overall.

"the Swiss example shows how these non-state and non-capitalist actors can build quality housing at a mass scale, if they’re encouraged — and that they can create a model of housing provision that moves beyond speculation into something more democratic and innovative."

This article points to Switzerland and Zurich in particular as examples of more active housing co-op markets.

Although it doesn’t give much insight into how to get to that point from our current position in the UK.

@neil my friends run a housing co-op in Ipswich. It took them a *lot* of time, effort and pooling resources (including doing a lot of their own building work) and unfortunately the amount of time and energy it takes means they rarely have time to update their online presence (or do anything other than simply surviving). I might try and visit them again some time this year as I haven't seen them for a while..

@vfrmedia I can imagine... It seems like there's not much support provided at an institutional level (either local or national) to grow housing coops.

@vfrmedia They sound great

"We are a group of Ipswich residents who got together to buy a property in which to live communally, in an ecologically sustainable way so we can take action for positive social change. We are Ipswich’s first housing co-operative."

Huge respect to all the effort that went in to starting it up!

@neil they had to get some kind of shared mortgage which allows the members to be changed (as and when some come and go), it wasn't an easy thing to do at all.

Even in 2013/2014 they were trying to avoid corporate social media, which has the issue that a project like this can easily disappear into the background.

They used to host regular gigs/parties and events, I've not heard of one for a while this might be for security reasons in the post-Brexit climate..

@neil i have a major problem with this article: It assumes that Housing Coops in general are neither capitalist not state-driven actors. Here in germany that is really wrong, the very much liberalised the conditions under which housing coops can act, so a few big ones do act as normal profit driven actors in bigger cities. It matters what is written in the Coop Laws and in the statutes of the coops...

@neil What? Wait a second - which bastards managed to get a law passed barring govt from helping its own ppl with low cost housing @vfrmedia ? When did that happen?

@gemlog @neil

it happened when people voted for Thatcho, most Council Housing got replaced by semi-privatised housing associations in the 1980s. Even when I was a boy in the 1970s people in council houses were looked down on as "scum" or worse, and housing builders would make two sets of houses on estates, the Council ones were smaller and used cheaper materials (my own estate is like this and if I lived just 1km away in the "council" bit my car insurance would likely be higher)

The unholy trio of thatcher, reagan and mulroney strike again.
I did not know there were no more council houses until today. Thanks for filling me in.

@gemlog @vfrmedia

And Thatcher also brought in Right to Buy, which transitioned council housing stock in to private ownership.

* 1980 – 42% of the population live in council housing – Right to buy scheme introduced
* 2017 – Less than 8% of the population live in council housing – 40% of ex-council flats sold via Right to Buy are now rented out more expensively by private landlords

@gemlog @vfrmedia I saw an exhibition recently that summed it up:

"with the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979 the housing sector underwent rapid privitisation. Local authority architects’ departments were disbanded, public land was sold off, and millions of council homes were bought"

@neil @vfrmedia @gemlog My grandparents were the "respectable poor" and lived in a council house. I still remember it quite vividly from childhood, and my grandfather who worked for the NHS took great pride in maintaining the small garden. afaik that whole area was privatized in the 1980s/90s under Right to Buy.

At the time Right to Buy seemed like a good idea - the theory being that ordinary folks could "get on the property ladder" and not need to pay a landlord. No longer renting from the council must have been extremely attractive and empowering, but it was also a trap for the working class. Bought council houses were not offset by new council builds and now council housing is rare and almost impossible to get.

@bob @neil @gemlog @vfrmedia when Swiss coops get featured even in the Monocle magazine, hopefully it means mainstream acceptance won't be far behind?

Agreed with Bob that the legal frameworks are important though. When I found out what the terms are for rent-controlled housing in SF I was not amused.

@michel_slm What's Monocle magazine? Not come across that.

@neil it's a "global affairs and lifestyle" magazine (in their own words). Print only, expensive (it's my guilty pleasure for airport reading).

Sorry, brainfade, meant to link to their story (the magazine article itself is not available, I think, but here's the companion movie)

@bob @gemlog @vfrmedia Same, my Mum grew up in a council estate in Wales and said that Right to Buy was seen as a potential benefit to her grandfather at the time.

He also took pride in a small garden, which at some point was made smaller by the council to make space for more houses I think, to some chagrin.

A feeling of ownership and autonomy was the bait I suppose. A shame that community and affordable housing was lost in the process.

@neil @vfrmedia
Oh for goodness sakes!
The usual transfer of public value to the rich! :-(
Notice they always name it using 9184-style double-speak to make it sound appealing? 'Right to buy' indeed!

I wish I had seen that article on Switzerland's Housing Co-ops this morning before I did this:
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