Collaborative Housing Day by CoHabitat Network at ISHF 22


CoHabitat Network organised the Collaborative Housing Day at the International Social Housing Festival (ISHF 2022) in Finland.

Taking place at the Central Library Oodi, in Helsinki on June 15th, 2022, the Collaborative Housing Day hosted a day long programme combining discussions, roundtables, workshops and networking.

The Collaborative Housing Day kicked off with a few introductory words from representatives of Housing Europe, the City of Helsinki, World Habitat and the Habitat International Coalition.

Bent Madsen, President of Housing Europe, started his intervention by saying that when it comes to collaborative housing, the start is the most difficult moment. Where to start is the most important question. In Denmark, this began as a movement of the unions together with the socially responsible part of the society, a movement which later became part of the welfare state. It is then very important to keep inventing and reinventing the housing sector. ‘We need to give everyone the chance to decent housing’ Bent Madsen said.

Ulla Kuitunen from the City of Helsinki presented a short history of more than 100 years of collaborative housing in Helsinki. She mentioned the three existing models: family-based, consultant based and the one of creating organisations for the purpose of building collaborative houses. She emphasised that this must not become just raw business, but collaborative housing should be fun and people-based.

Lastly, Adriana Allen, the President of Habitat International Coalition insisted that housing is just a beginning and not the end, as policy changes are needed to secure access to land and affordability, to protect the tenants and not only the sector, and to recognise the wide diversity of the homeless. Watch her speech

Several roundtable and networking activities followed. During the lunch-networking activity, attendees could meet and exchange with residents of project and organisations promoting collaborative housing in Belgium, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom.

The enthusiastic discussions with old friends and new people interested by Community-Led Housing didn’t stop outside the library. Seventy people from 19 countries (including Australia, Canada, Cyprus, Greece, Taiwan) gathered a bit later at Malta House, an emblematic co-housing project in Helsinki.

Salla Korpela and 30 residents gave a warm welcome to each guest. At each table, enthusiastic discussions, laughs, contact exchanges happened during the evening, while the residents led small groups of guests around the building and its shared facilities. With new friendships facilitated by this intense and emotional human interaction, we hope that concrete partnerships and cooperation’s will happen on the short term. Meanwhile, we are already looking forward to the next ISHF, in March 2023 in Barcelona!

Watch the short aftermovie

More photos here

Resources (PDF)

Present organisations

Cooperative Housing International CHI promotes cooperative housing as an economic and social solution to the problem of providing shelter. It aims to demonstrate the successes and best practices of housing cooperatives throughout the world and raises awareness about the potential of housing co-ops as widely as possible.

Co-Lab Research Located in the Department of Management in the Built Environment, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, at the Delft University of Technology, Co-Lab Research is a research group working on the development, discussion and valorisation of knowledge on Collaborative Housing.

European Community Land Trust Network The network gathers a wide variety of actors actively developing the Community Land Trust (CLT) model, either directly working with CLTs, networks of CLTs, or supporting the creation of new CLTs, with the aim of being the voice of the European CLT movement.

Global Platform for the Right to the City The GPR2C is an open, flexible, diverse network of civil society and local government organizations committed to political action and social change through the promotion, defense and fulfillment of the Right to the City at all levels, paying special attention to people and communities affected by exclusion and marginalization.

Habitat International Coalition Through solidarity, networking and support for social movements and organizations, HIC struggles for social justice, gender equality, and environmental sustainability, and works in the defence, promotion and realization of human rights related to housing and land in both rural and urban areas.

International Institute for Environment and Development IIED is an independent research organisation that aims to deliver positive change on a global scale through rigorous research that helps to drive progress, support sustainable development and protect the environment.

MOBA Housing SCE MOBA is a network of pioneering housing cooperatives from Belgrade, Budapest, Ljubljana, Prague and Zagreb promoting an innovative and anti-speculative cooperative housing model for the region, providing solutions to the challenges of housing affordability and accessibility.

UrbaMonde UrbaMonde is a French-swiss international cooperation NGO which promotes community-driven processes in the fields of participatory planning, neighbourhood improvement and housing. It facilitates the CoHabitat Network to disseminate community-led housing worldwide.

World Habitat World Habitat is an independent charity working internationally to help bring the best housing to the people who need it the most. World Habitat is the organizer of the annual World Habitat Awards rewarding inspiring initiatives from across the world and providing opportunities for peer learning.

Promoting and enabling collaborative housing is key to guaranteeing the right to adequate housing and the right to the city, and to ensuring that residents are at the core of the processes that shape their habitat and cities. Past editions of the (European) Collaborative Housing Days have proven successful in bringing together a variety of actors working to promote resident-driven, permanently affordable and sustainable housing solutions.

They have provided opportunities for peer learning, knowledge exchange and project documentation, increasing the visibility of collaborative housing solutions among social and public housing providers, citizens and public authorities alike. In Helsinki we expect to create again a space for multi-actor and cross-sectoral dialogue.