“Apartamentos Dotacionales” in the Basque Country- The Endowment Accommodation model


“Apartamentos Dotacionales” in the Basque Country- The Endowment Accommodation model

Mismatches Services Diversity
Policies and regulations Local policies Land Planning
Urban Design
Promotion and production Public promotion

Main objectives of the project

The Department of Housing in the Basque Country is repurposing vacant plots designated for municipal facilities as per urban planning regulations. They are transforming these spaces into residential accommodations with leases extending up to five years. This innovative initiative aims to facilitate access to the housing market for young or socially disadvantaged individuals.


  • 2006: En proceso


  • Department of Housing in the Basque Country


Continent: Europe
City: Bilbao
Country/Region: Bilbao, Spain


Located at the north of Spain, the Basque Country faces a scarcity of both private and public rental accommodations, leading to a delayed residential emancipation for young individuals, often occurring after the age of 30. In response, a pioneering initiative was established in 2006 to repurpose plots designated for municipal facilities, thereby creating a novel housing solution known as the Endowment Accommodation model. These plots, initially earmarked for municipal use as amenities, compelled by urban planning regulations, have been transformed into temporary residential units. Thus, by using the limited options urban planning rules, the authorities managed to build on public land. Apart from developing services for the community, they offer a diverse typology of accommodation (usually less specious than a housing unit) that enriches the diversity of the project and densify cities.

This innovative approach has not only empowered numerous young people to achieve housing autonomy but has also addressed certain social housing emergencies. Over time, the demographic benefiting from this model has expanded beyond solely young individuals. Recent revisions to the governing by-laws now allow older individuals to access this housing temporarily. In exchange for participating in social rental programs by offering their own homes, older homeowners can access more suitable accommodations tailored to their needs—accessible, equipped, and modern. Simultaneously, other families can access larger housing units through social rental programs.

The evolution of this housing model towards publicly managed intergenerational co-housing represents a significant development, facilitating the release of other housing units for social needs. However, challenges persist, primarily concerning communication. Clear communication is essential both with municipal authorities, who may require clarification due to the unconventional use of land, and with the occupants of these accommodation units, who must understand the temporary nature of their lease, limited to a maximum of five years.

The Department of Housing has actively collaborated with municipal technicians and social services to address these challenges. Efforts have been made to streamline communication and transition tenants to more permanent housing solutions after the expiration of their leases. The model has also been a success in Barcelona and Madrid, showing it remains crucial for densely populated cities with limited available land, offering an innovative and much-needed solution to the housing crisis within the constraints of urban planning tools available to local authorities.