Chorweiler Social Housing, Cologne

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Chorweiler Social Housing, Cologne

Mismatches Functional adequacy Services
Urban Design Quality Liveability
Promotion and production Public promotion Industrialisation

Main objectives of the project

Gottfried Böhm's residential complex in Chorweiler, a key part of the new town built from 1957 onwards, exemplifies Brutalist architecture with its innovative design and exposed concrete facades. The centerpiece is a quarter-circle square bordered by a 9-storey curved apartment building with lively balconies and a ground floor featuring shops and a restaurant. Opposite this building is an L-shaped house with a pergola, and to the north, a pedestrian alley is lined with residential wings and apartments for the elderly. Böhm's design prioritizes human scale and livability, highlighting the importance of social housing in creating vibrant, community-oriented living spaces.

Date

  • 1973: Construction
  • 1966: En proceso

Stakeholders

  • Architect: Gottfried Böhm

Location

Continent: Europe
Country/Region: Cologne, Germany

Description

When planning the "new town of Chorweiler," which began construction in 1957 and stands as one of the largest satellite towns in the Federal Republic, the construction tasks were distributed among various architectural firms to achieve a diverse range of building styles. Among these, one residential complex, designed by Gottfried Böhm, stands out due to its wealth of shapes and colors, as well as its unique architectural language. This brutalist social housing complex features an innovative and bold design.

At the center of the residential complex on Ripphahnsche Strasse is a square shaped like a quarter circle. On the west side, this square is bordered by a 9-storey apartment building that follows the curve of the square. The building features a colonnade spanning the first two floors, with supports that define the structure of the façade. The dense arrangement of balconies and their vertical connections create a lively façade structure. The ground floor houses shops and a restaurant.

Opposite the 9-storey building, a house with a pergola and an L-shaped floor plan encloses the square. To the north, the square connects to a pedestrian alley. This alley is bordered on one side by residential wings, which step down in height from 9 to 7 storeys, and on the other side by two-storey apartments for the elderly.

All buildings in the residential complex are concrete structures with exposed concrete facades. Beneath the alley is a garage floor, accessible by stairs with large, green intermediate landings that also provide natural lighting for the garage.

The apartments are largely designed to be open to two opposing directions, allowing residents to experience the daily rhythm of light within their homes. The kitchens are designed as glazed rooms located in the center of the apartments. In contrast to other parts of the Chorweiler housing estate, Gottfried Böhm's ensemble is characterized by its orientation towards human scale.

Gottfried Böhm's residential complex in Chorweiler is a testament to the Brutalist tradition, showcasing bold and innovative design through its wealth of shapes, colors, and architectural language. The use of exposed concrete facades and distinctive structural elements like the colonnade and densely arranged balconies exemplifies the Brutalist aesthetic. This complex not only contributes to the architectural diversity of Chorweiler but also underscores the importance of social housing. Böhm's design emphasizes human scale and livability, with features like dual-directional openness in the apartments and naturally lit garages, enhancing the quality of life for residents. The thoughtful integration of shops, restaurants, and accessible pedestrian pathways further supports a vibrant community, illustrating how architectural excellence can serve social purposes effectively.

Village Vertical, Villeurbanne, France

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Village Vertical, Villeurbanne, France

Mismatches Vulnerable groups
Promotion and production Public-private partnerships Self-management Self-promotion Cooperatives
Ownership and tenure Shared ownership Protection of social housing

Main objectives of the project

Initiated in the fall of 2005, the Village Vertical became a reality in June 2013 when 14 households, members of our variable capital cooperative established in December 2010, moved in. These households, from diverse backgrounds, collaborated to bring the project to fruition.Each household resides in an eco-friendly building they helped design, sharing certain spaces and resources to foster genuine neighborhood solidarity. This human-scale project integrates conviviality, responsibility, savings, mutual aid, ecology, and democracy. As the collective sole owner of the building, each household rents its unit within a democratic management framework that prohibits speculation and profit.

Date

  • 2013: Construction
  • 2005: En proceso

Stakeholders

  • Promotor: Village Vertical Coop.
  • Promotor: HLM Rhône Saône Habitat
  • Architect: Détry-Lévy
  • Architect: Arbor&Sens
  • AILOJ
  • Habicoop

Location

Country/Region: France, Lyon

Description

The project began in 2005 when a group of four individuals sought to address their housing issues by designing a residents' cooperative. Only one couple from the original group remained until the project's completion, with others joining along the way. Initially, they attempted to acquire and convert existing buildings, such as an old factory, but abandoned this plan due to the volatile real estate market. To become more organized, they formed an association and dedicated several hours weekly to project development, including regular and thematic meetings focused on architecture, financing, and legal matters. In 2006, Habicoop approached the association, asking them to lead the cooperative housing movement in France. This partnership helped them secure a collaboration with HLM Rhône Saône Habitat, which enabled them to obtain land with support from Greater Lyon and Villeurbanne. By 2008, the land was secured, and discussions with architects Arbor&Sens and Détry-Lévy began. To ensure financial feasibility, two-thirds of the housing was allocated for home ownership, and one-third was designated for the "village." The building permit was obtained in 2010, and the association of future residents transformed into a cooperative. Habicoop devised a legal framework to compensate for the lack of formal recognition of residents' cooperatives, which was only established by the Alur law in 2014. From the start of construction in 2011 to the building's completion in 2013, residents ensured adherence to ecological standards. The artisans and architects, accustomed to traditional roles, were encouraged to adapt their approaches to the collaborative environment. Other partners, like AILOJ, which supports young people in integration, also joined the project.

Numerous contributors made the cooperative possible. Habicoop provided project management assistance, as well as legal and financial support. Architects Arbor&Sens and Détry-Lévy co-designed the project with residents. HLM Rhône Saône Habitat handled construction and financial backing. AILOJ managed the social housing units for young people in integration. Villeurbanne and Greater Lyon sold the land, with the Region granting a subsidy of 4,000 euros per unit. The Vertical Village is part of the social and solidarity economy movement, partnering with Enercoop for renewable energy, Miecyclette for organic bread delivery, Arbralégumes for organic produce, and Prairial for grocery deliveries.

Since there was no legal status for housing cooperatives in France before 2014, the Village Vertical operates as a "cooperative company with simplified shares and variable capital" with an initial capital of €380K. Residents collectively own the building and rent their units from the cooperative. Once the loan is repaid, an annuity can be distributed to them and their heirs. The social housing within the building is managed by HLM but will revert to the Village after 20 years.

The building houses 34 units, 14 of which belong to the Village Vertical: two T1s for young people in integration, five T2s, two T3s, two T4s, and three T5s. Shared amenities include a laundry room, a common room with a kitchen, and a vegetable garden. The building is energy-efficient with wooden facades, a photovoltaic roof, and a wood-fired boiler. Generous common areas support the sharing of equipment and services, fostering community interaction and cooperation.

Each resident, cooperator or not, signs the Village charter, emphasizing cooperation, ecology, democracy, and a balance between individual and collective spaces. Collective ownership and decision-making are governed by a democratic process, with "one person, one vote" principle. Weekly "Vertical Thursdays" include a meeting and a shared meal for discussing issues and organizing tasks, while monthly mandatory meetings ensure task distribution. About sixty tasks are identified and assigned among residents, with larger roles shared by multiple people. Residents share household appliances and vehicles and organize group food deliveries in partnership with local cooperatives. Departing residents must resell their shares without profit, and new members are co-opted unanimously from a waiting list.

Since 2013, the "vertical villagers" have lived together according to their ecological and supportive ideals. Significant resident involvement was crucial in the building's design. Managing the cooperative demands balancing personal, professional, and community responsibilities. Young people in integration, though less involved, benefit from supportive neighbors. The village functions as a laboratory for sustainable living, sharing equipment, managing waste, cultivating a vegetable garden, and utilizing rainwater. Democratic discussions and decisions are a daily norm. Over time, outreach projects like community composting, shared gardens, and food deliveries have developed, and a Citiz car-sharing station has been established in the neighborhood thanks to the villagers' efforts.

The cooperative is non-profit, preventing real estate speculation and enabling access to property for those with limited means. It is part of the participatory housing movement, giving residents a say in their housing's design and management. Sharing spaces fosters solidarity and reciprocity within the community.

The project's success relied heavily on the support of partners like Habicoop and Rhône Saône Habitat, and the residents' determination was crucial for maintaining its ecological focus. Effective communication and mutual understanding among the various contributors were essential. Learning to co-manage the project was vital for both residents and professionals. Ultimately, establishing democratic processes and balancing collective and private life have ensured the cooperative's ongoing viability and functionality.

State of Homelessness (US)

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State of Homelessness (US)

Mismatches Vulnerable groups
Policies and regulations National policies Data and monitoring Evaluation and impact Evictions

Main objectives of the project

The National Alliance to End Homelessness produces the influential "State of Homelessness" report, using HUD data to assess and analyze homelessness nationwide, while also evaluating emergency services and risk factors that might lead to homelessness.

Date

  • 2023: En proceso

Stakeholders

  • National Alliance to End Homelessness

Location

Continent: North America
Country/Region: United States of America

Description

The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated solely to eradicating homelessness in the United States. Utilizing research and data, they seek solutions to homelessness, collaborating with federal and local partners to establish robust policies and resources supporting these solutions. Subsequently, they assist communities in implementing these strategies. Annually, they produce the "State of Homelessness" report.

This report relies on data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to offer an overview of homelessness in the U.S. on a given night in 2022 and highlight emerging trends. Drawing from HUD's Point-in-Time (PIT) Count and Housing Inventory Count data, the NAEH organizes and analyzes the information.

Through this process, the NAEH obtains a count of homelessness in each U.S. state while also evaluating the state of emergency services and assistance available to homeless individuals. This comparison between the number of people experiencing homelessness and the aid accessible to them is crucial. Additionally, they consider risk factors contributing to homelessness, such as rent burden, which helps forecast potential increases in the homeless population.

In summary, the NAEH's "State of Homelessness" report stands as the premier nationwide assessment of this pressing issue, providing invaluable insights into the state of homelessness across the country.

Housing Solutions Lab, US

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Housing Solutions Lab, US

Mismatches
Policies and regulations Governance Data and monitoring Evaluation and impact

Main objectives of the project

The Housing Solutions Lab, part of the NYU Furman Center, assists small and midsize cities in developing, implementing, and assessing evidence-based housing policies that promote racial equity, enhance access to opportunities, and enhance the long-term health and well-being of residents.

Date

  • 2024: En proceso

Stakeholders

  • NYU Furman Center
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Location

Continent: North America
Country/Region: United States of America

Description

While larger and coastal cities tend to dominate national housing discussions, small and midsize cities—defined as those with populations between 50,000 and 500,000—encounter their own set of intricate housing challenges. These challenges range from disinvestment and concentrated poverty to housing instability and affordability gaps. However, small and midsize cities also present fertile ground for innovation. They often exhibit greater agility and less bureaucratic red tape compared to larger cities, enabling them to more effectively involve higher levels of leadership, gain recognition for promising strategies, and foster trust and engagement within their communities. Nonetheless, they may lack the philanthropic and corporate support enjoyed by larger cities, as well as the necessary staffing, resources, and access to data, best practices, or specialized expertise required to develop and implement effective housing responses. Additionally, the affordability crisis in rental housing disproportionately impacts people of color, who are more likely to be renters, exacerbating existing disparities in homeownership rates between white, Black, and Latino households, which are already pronounced in larger cities and even more pronounced in small and midsize cities.

Recognizing these challenges, the NYU Furman Center established the Housing Solutions Lab—an interdisciplinary team of housing research and policy experts housed within the NYU Furman Center, a collaborative initiative between the NYU School of Law and the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Through its Local Housing Solutions website and Lab Notes blog, the Lab provides a plethora of housing policy resources, data tools, cases of study and analyses. Furthermore, it facilitates peer learning opportunities for city leaders, furnishes access to local housing and neighborhood data, conducts rigorous research and evaluations, and offers technical assistance to cities striving to achieve their housing policy objectives. Continually seeking opportunities for collaboration, the Lab endeavors to support local government leaders, researchers, and other housing stakeholders in pursuing equitable, evidence-based housing policy goals.

In addition to providing strategies, data, case studies, and other innovative solutions, the Lab spearheads two main initiatives. Firstly, it administers The Peer Cities Network—a year-long program that convenes leaders from small and midsize cities to explore housing policy research, innovative practices, and avenues for achieving local housing objectives. Secondly, it conducts the Housing Solutions Workshop—an intensive three-week training program offered annually to teams of housing leaders from small and midsize cities, equipping participants with the skills necessary to develop comprehensive local housing strategies.

Las Carolinas-Entrepatios, Madrid

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Las Carolinas-Entrepatios, Madrid

Mismatches Location Price Functional adequacy Services Diversity New family structures
Urban Design Modelos De Ciudad Environments Quality Liveability Inclusion Participatory processes
Promotion and production Private promotion Materials Self-management Self-promotion Cooperatives
Ownership and tenure Shared ownership

Main objectives of the project

Las Carolinas-Entrepatios is the first ecological building with right of use in Spain that has been built between the centre of Madrid and the suburbs. It is a cohousing project, which means that it is the neighbours, members of the cooperative, who, through a participatory decision-making process, have decided on everything from the ecological materials to be used in the construction of the building to what part of the budget will be allocated to the insulation of the building and the type of air conditioning, among other things. Communal spaces make up 15% of the building: a communal courtyard; a room that serves as a children’s play area and as a space for weekly food distribution; a garage with mainly bicycles; a room dedicated to housing a large cistern where rainwater is collected, treated and used for toilets and gardening, by drip; a workshop room where neighbours work with their hands; a communal laundry; and a rooftop dedicated to adult leisure. The child population accounts for almost half of the total, some twenty children between the ages of two and twelve. Las Carolinas cooperative is made up of the fifty-three people who live in its seventeen dwellings. Depending on the size of their dwelling, they have paid between 40,000 and 50,000 euros as a down payment, an amount that will be returned if they leave the cooperative and replaced by those who move in. The ownership of the building remains in the hands of the cooperative and its members use the homes, but never own them.

Date

  • 2020: Construction
  • 2016: En proceso

Stakeholders

  • Promotor: Entrepatios
  • Architect: Lógica’Eco
  • Architect: TécnicaEco
  • Architect: sAtt

Location

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

Description

A few meters from the Manzanares River, in the neighborhood of Carolinas, in Orcasur (Usera), stands the first right-to-use collaborative housing building in the city of Madrid. This project, focused on environmental and community sustainability, has been conceived as a building with its own energy production and a very low energy demand, housing a community based on mutual support. The Las Carolinas development consists of 17 homes, inhabited by 32 adults and 20 children.

Usera, where this innovative building is located, is a peripheral municipality of Madrid that has faced social challenges, including difficulties of access to housing. Emerging from an active neighborhood movement, this project represents a radical, anti-speculative and accessible solution that integrates with the local community. In contrast to the dynamics of marginalization and privatization that have affected the neighborhood, the Entrepatios initiative aims to create inclusive spaces that strengthen the community fabric.
The system used involves a group of people forming a cooperative, which acquires the land and constructs the building. However, the residents do not own the land; instead, they only have the right to use the building as part of the cooperative. This approach prioritizes the use value of the building over land value speculation, offering a solution against gentrification and dispossession.

Since the acquisition of the site in 2016, the cooperative has navigated various forms of participation in the management of the process, with the collaboration of Lógica'Eco for technical aspects and the architectural design by the sAtt studio and TécnicaEco. Funding came from ethical banking and donations. The building, located on an elongated south-facing site, consists of 17 apartments with access through an outdoor corrala, which serves as a circulation and meeting space. Common spaces include first floor and attic space for various community activities, as well as a small workshop in the basement and a common laundry room.

In keeping with its commitment to climate change mitigation and resident comfort, the building prioritizes energy efficiency and comfort, especially in summer, through quality insulation and renewable energy generation. The garden is drip-fed, a rainwater cistern is provided for water savings, and the materials used prevent the release of volatile organic materials. A wooden structure is used. In order to have clean air, we will have a double-flow controlled mechanical ventilation system, which will prevent pollutants from entering from the outside thanks to a filter. This initiative seeks to reduce energy demand and promote a more sustainable lifestyle in a city increasingly affected by heat. The project has been certified with ECOMETRO and has been designed with high energy efficiency standards, incorporating renewable technologies such as solar panels on the roof.

The Entrepatios building is proof of the possibility of housing that is free from speculation, resilient to climate change, and fosters cooperative and communal living in a vulnerable neighborhood of a large metropolis.

Kyoto tax on vacant housing

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Kyoto tax on vacant housing

Mismatches Vacant housing
Policies and regulations National policies Local policies
Financing

Main objectives of the project

The Kyoto municipal government implements a vacant home tax to combat the city's housing crisis, targeting unoccupied properties, including vacation homes and tourist rentals. With the tax set to be enforced in 2026, owners face increased tax bills, with exemptions for historically significant or lower-value properties. The tax aims to address housing shortages and declining population by encouraging property utilization.

Date

  • 2026: Implementation
  • 2023: En proceso

Stakeholders

  • Kyoto City Hall

Location

Country/Region: Japan, Osaka [Kyoto]

Description

Kyoto, renowned as one of the nation's premier travel destinations, boasts a considerable number of privately owned vacation homes. Moreover, unoccupied residences are not uncommon across Japan as a whole. Unlike many other countries, homeowners' associations in Japan are less stringent regarding a property's outward appearance. Moreover, vandalism rates remain low, and there's generally minimal intrusion from the homeless community, contributing to a relaxed attitude towards leaving homes unattended for extended periods. Consequently, it's not surprising for individuals to find themselves with vacant properties, especially in a city like Kyoto. However, despite this abundance of empty homes, Kyoto is grappling with a pressing housing crisis. Strict building regulations aimed at preserving its historical landscape have led to a shortage of available housing, prompting a significant exodus of younger residents who struggle to afford skyrocketing prices.

To address this crisis, the government has introduced a pioneering measure in Japan: a tax on vacant buildings and housing units. Approved by the central government in 2023, this vacant tax is slated for enforcement in 2026. he goal of this vacatio legis is to gove time to owners to either sell, rent or occupy their properties to avoid the tax. The message of the government is clear: the aim of the tax is not to increase public revenue, but to force a solution to the housing crisis.

Despite not being a prime goal, revenues from the tax are projected to be substantial, with an additional ¥950 million annually for the municipal budget. The tax itself will be calculated based on the value and location of the empty home, expected to be approximately half the standard homeowner/property taxes. Consequently, owners of unoccupied homes could see their tax burdens increase by around 50 percent. Notably, the tax structure is tailored to each unit, imposing higher taxes on luxurious real estate. For instance, the Kyoto municipal government estimates that a vacant 40-year-old apartment, struggling to find a buyer, would incur an annual tax of around ¥24,000, whereas a five-year-old condominium used sporadically as a vacation home could face an annual bill of approximately ¥939,000.

It's worth noting that the tax indirectly affects tourist apartments within the city. The definition of vacant houses encompasses those temporarily rented for tourism. However, there are exceptions. Homes of historical significance and those below a certain value are exempt from the tax. The government's rationale is that tourism contributes to the preservation of such buildings, thus warranting tax exemptions.

Given its pioneering nature, other cities in Japan are likely to monitor Kyoto's implementation of the vacant tax closely, with the potential for similar measures to be adopted elsewhere in the future.

Seattle “Grand Bargain” and the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program

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Seattle “Grand Bargain” and the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program

Mismatches Financing
Policies and regulations Local policies Regulation Building capacity Planning Public-private initiatives
Promotion and production Public-private partnerships
Ownership and tenure

Main objectives of the project

On July 15th, 2016, a coalition comprising 10 city officials, private developers, and advocates for affordable housing came together to sign the Seattle "Grand Bargain." This agreement, forged through unprecedented negotiations and collaboration, aimed to implement an inclusionary zoning and linkage fee program across upzoned neighborhoods in the city. Central to the Grand Bargain is the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program, which mandates the incorporation of rent-restricted units for low-income households in new developments, but specifically within neighborhoods upzoned for increased density. Consequently, the Grand Bargain ensures the inclusion of affordable units in new developments while also offering development incentives to facilitate the construction of more units on a given lot, thereby mitigating the revenue loss associated with affordable housing. Through the negotiation of the Grand Bargain, the city sought to simultaneously expand the overall housing supply (by increasing density) and the availability of dedicated affordable housing for lower-income households (via mandatory inclusionary measures).

Date

  • 2019: Implementation
  • 2016: En proceso

Stakeholders

  • City Council of Seattle
  • Grand Bargain coalition

Location

Continent: North America
Country/Region: Seattle, United States of America

Description

In 2016, the City Council of Seattle ratified the Grand Bargain's Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program, incorporating it into city law. This program encompasses zoning code revisions to boost density across much of the city, the establishment of a mandatory inclusionary housing scheme mandating certain affordability standards for new apartment complexes, and the introduction of commercial linkage fees requiring owners of new commercial spaces to contribute funds toward constructing affordable units within the city.

The MHA program, spearheaded by then-Mayor Ed Murray in collaboration with Seattle's Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee, aims to produce 6,000 affordable housing units for families at or below 60 percent of the area median income (AMI) within a decade. This initiative is anchored by 65 individual policy recommendations, with the MHA being a prominent feature. Under the MHA, the city undertakes zoning changes to boost density in commercial and multifamily residential areas and neighborhoods near transit lines. Developers are then obligated to include dedicated affordable housing within new constructions in these areas.

To offset the costs associated with incorporating affordable units into new developments and to bolster the overall housing supply, the city representatives agreed to heighten residential density in select neighborhoods in exchange for affordability requirements in new development. The MHA mandates that approximately six percent of single-family zones transition to a newly designated category termed Residential Small Lot, facilitating the construction of multiple "cottage" homes on a single lot, as well as the creation of duplexes and row houses. Additionally, some single-family zones will permit the construction of triplexes, townhomes, row houses, and three- to four-story apartment buildings.

Once an area undergoes rezoning to increase density, the Grand Bargain stipulates that residential developers constructing new units must incorporate units affordable to families at or below 60% AMI. This requirement applies solely to new constructions and/or alterations that increase the total number of units within a structure. The Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program dictates that a percentage of units constructed be rent-restricted for a minimum of 50 years. The affordability criteria range between 3-7% of units, depending on the market. Developers opting out of including affordable housing must pay the city a per square foot in-lieu fee ranging from $5 to $33, contingent on the development's size and location.

Furthermore, in neighborhoods rezoned for increased density, commercial developers are mandated to pay a linkage fee on new developments, ranging from $5 to $17 per square foot. These fees, contingent on building size and location, apply to all new constructions, expansions, or conversions from residential to commercial use. The collected linkage fees are allocated to nonprofit organizations to aid in constructing affordable housing in Seattle.

However, the path to implementing these regulations was fraught with challenges. The Mandatory Inclusionary Housing components within the MHA program only take effect once neighborhoods are upzoned, and since the program's adoption, the city's upzoning efforts have faced legal disputes and community resistance. After nearly four years of legal battles, the agreed-upon timeframe for adopting all zoning changes extended beyond the original 2017 deadline. In 2019, eventually, all the rezoning measures were enforced.

The adoption of zoning changes to boost density marks Seattle's efforts to expand its housing supply by facilitating the development of new multifamily buildings. While increased housing supply theoretically improves affordability, the significant supply deficit in high-cost cities often means initial expansions merely meet existing demand, having limited immediate impact on housing prices. By coupling increased density with mandatory inclusionary housing requirements, the policy ensures the availability of lower-cost units for low-income families and their continued affordability through legal constraints.

Habitat for Humanity Egypte (HFHE)

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Habitat for Humanity Egypte (HFHE)

Mismatches Price Financing Vulnerable groups
Policies and regulations
Financing Financial actors Supply subsidies Sustainable development financing Progressive financing

Main objectives of the project

Since 1989, Habitat for Humanity Egypte (HFHE) has effectively assisted more than 25,000 impoverished households across selected rural and urban areas by offering interest-free loans for essential housing improvements, renovations, and new construction projects. Within Egypt's developing microfinance sector, HFHE stands as the sole provider of micro loans dedicated solely to housing-related endeavors. These short-term loans, averaging EGP 7,000 (US$ 890) each, are repayable over a 24-30 month period in monthly installments, with the first payment due a month after loan receipt. All loans are structured without profit or interest, but include an inflation adjustment to safeguard HFHE's loan capital value and support the operational costs of partnering NGOs.

Date

  • 1998: En proceso

Stakeholders

  • Habitat for Humanity

Location

Continent: Africa
Country/Region: Cairo, Egypt

Description

In Northern Africa, addressing the housing sector's challenges, particularly in financing projects for low and medium-income families, remains a significant issue. Despite having homes and support from NGOs, non-profits, or the government, many struggle to secure financial assistance for refurbishment or reconstruction while maintaining their autonomy. This is where Habitat for Humanity Egypt (HFHE) steps in. Habitat for Humanity is an International NGO. Yet, has a great implementation in Egypt. Since 1989, HFHE has effectively aided over 25,000 impoverished households across selected rural and urban communities by providing "no-profit, no-interest" loans for essential housing improvements, renovations, and replacement home construction.

HFHE functions as a national intermediary NGO, abstaining from directly disbursing loans. Instead, it offers loan capital, technical assistance, training, and oversight to partner NGOs and participating community-based organizations (CBOs), which assume direct responsibility for loan management. In FY2015 alone, this decentralized network of independent non-profit entities disbursed 2,393 HFHE loans, totaling EGP 20.2 million ($2.6 million USD) to needy families in 22 rural and provincial urban communities. The process is straightforward: HFHE allocates loan capital exclusively for housing microloans to its NGO partners, who, in turn, supervise local CBOs and loan committees to administer and oversee these loans. HFHE provides training and technical support to partner NGO staff responsible for these loans, as well as to participating CBOs and loan committee members in each community.

HFHE operates autonomously from the financial system. It has never sought loan capital from Egyptian banks and maintains no microfinance relationship with local banks. Egyptian banks typically refrain from extending banking or home improvement loans to HFHE's clientele—poor and low-income households—due to their unregistered homes and lack of property ownership documents. Consequently, Egyptian banks and HFHE are not seen as direct competitors, with HFHE clients eschewing Egyptian banks as alternative lenders. Meanwhile, the annual interest rates on personal loans from Egyptian banks, ranging between 10.5% and 12.5% since 2008, far exceed the 7% annual inflation adjustment applied to HFHE microloans.

The lending approach of HFHE consists of three main strategies: normal lending, wholesale lending, and home improvements for the poorest households. In normal lending, HFHE partners with NGOs for an indefinite period, sharing the risk of bad loans. The loans have no end-date, with an average size of EGP 7000. In wholesale lending, a pilot initiative with CEOSS, loans are disbursed for five years, with the partner NGO bearing all risk. Higher fees are charged, and the repayment period is defined. Both approaches have identical loan terms and conditions. Home improvements for the poorest households are charitable initiatives, targeting those unable to repay loans. The improvements aim to enhance living conditions and are funded through various means, including donations and partner NGO commitments.

The majority of borrowers additionally benefit from complimentary engineering technical services for their intended home improvements. Notably, the expense is not incorporated into the loan amount for repayment; instead, HFHE covers the entire cost of these engineering services from its own budget. Skilled and trained engineering graduates are engaged on a part-time basis to support CBOs and loan applicants in defining construction requirements, creating engineering designs (if necessary), assessing actual costs for planned home renovations and new construction, and inspecting completed projects. These engineering graduates are engaged on an annual basis, with HFHE currently maintaining contracts with four part-time engineering graduates.

HFHE imposes specific criteria for borrower selection, categorized into three areas: the need for adequate shelter, ability to repay the loan, and willingness to partner. Eligible borrowers must be homeowners within the community, with no discrimination based on demographics. To qualify, households must lack adequate shelter, demonstrate low income, and exhibit financial stability. They should also display willingness to contribute to home improvement costs and participate in related activities. The organization gives priority to vulnerable groups like orphaned children, widowed women with dependents, and married couples with dependents.

The loan application process of HFHE involves several steps. First, applicants submit a one-page Loan Request Form to the CBO loan committee, providing personal and project details. Then, the committee reviews the form and contacts an engineer for a home inspection and cost estimate. Together with the applicant, they complete a Loan Request Review Form gathering financial and household information. The committee periodically meets to approve loans, determining sizes based on their discretion. Disbursements occur in two installments, contingent on satisfactory completion of construction work. Repayment typically starts 30 days after the first tranche. Finally, an HFHE engineer inspects completed work for quality assurance. Loan documents are maintained by the partner NGO for audit, while CBOs keep records for active loans. Additionally, the average cost per loan includes engineer fees for initial visits and inspections.

With this simple scheme, HFHE provides finance resources to the communities and the poorest homeowners in Egypte. Thanks to it, and without the burden of the financial system, people can have an affordable and decent housing.

Cireres

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Cireres

Mismatches Financing Functional adequacy Services Cultural suitability Diversity Climate change
Policies and regulations Local policies Land Public-private initiatives
Financing Financial actors
Urban Design Environments Quality Liveability
Promotion and production Public-private partnerships Participatory processes Self-management Self-promotion Cooperatives
Ownership and tenure Shared ownership Protection of social housing Land ownership

Main objectives of the project

Cireres is a housing project whose goal is to build a cooperative housing that avoids speculation and the market dynamics. Thanks to a leasing of public land, a group of people in search of affordable housing could form a community with sustainable and top-tier housing units.

Date

  • 2022: Ganador
  • 2022: Construction
  • 2017: En proceso

Stakeholders

  • Promotor: SostreCivic (Coopertaiva Cireres)
  • Promotor: Barcelona City Hall
  • Constructor: La Constructiva
  • Architect: CelObert
  • Matriu
  • Col·lectiu Ronda
  • Fiare
  • Arç

Location

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

Description

Cireres is located in Roquetes, a popular neighborhood of Barcelona, with significant levels of vulnerability. This neighborhood has undergone considerable urban improvement since the 1990s. Originally, it was formed as a neighborhood of informal housing. Over the years, these dwellings have been integrated into the urban fabric and living conditions have improved. Today, the neighborhood faces new challenges. Mainly, housing speculation has entered fully into the daily life of the neighbors. For this reason, an investment in social housing is necessary. However, social housing is often expensive for the administration and has no roots in the neighborhood.

Cireres wants to solve the above problems. The project follows the logic of cooperative housing in lease of use. The public administration leases a municipal lot to a cooperative for a long period of time. In exchange, the cooperative builds the building and its members have the right to use the housing. In this way, the municipality does not lose public land for affordable housing. On the other hand, tenants have secure tenure and are part of a larger community integrated into the neighborhood, with the agency to build and decide on their project. To move in, each cohabitation unit has had to make an initial returnable capital contribution and then monthly payments, including services and utilities, which are below city rents.

Cireres also goes a step further. The objective is to generate a community that can build the entire project and live thereafter from the social and solidarity economy, not linked to the speculative market. Thus, the financing comes from Fiare, an ethical bank. The insurance company, the construction company, the management company... and all the agents involved are non-profit cooperatives. In this way, the value of use is put in front of the value of exchange, demonstrating another way to build affordable housing. In addition, the project includes a social economat, a working cooperative of residents dedicated to the trade of agro-ecological products.

The community life of Cireres is structured in an assembly, linked to the realities of the neighborhood and the residents. Its 32 dwellings are organized around common spaces. Thus, the idea is to be a single house, erasing the distance between the public and the private, integrating community life in the residence. For example, the houses are structured around a landing where neighbors can go out to hang the laundry, play... There are also communal indoor spaces. The communal project has an ideology that everyone must respect, the framework from which the activities, complicities and constructions of relationships, group and building are developed.

The site is a plot of 428 m2 located in the street Pla dels Cirerers, 2-4, We wanted to have shared spaces of quality, which allow to release functions of the interior of the private spaces to give them to the community, so 190m2 of buildability of the site are no longer exhausted by the commitment to make community spaces. We have built reduced private living spaces (50 m2 on average), which are compensated by 771 m2 of space for community use. The material used in Cirerers is mainly wood, and also lime mortar on the facades and plasterboard in the interiors. All of them are biodegradable materials with a low ecological footprint, since their production, transport and recycling involve very low CO2 emissions.

The building has won several awards: Advanced Architecture Awards 2022 in the Sustainability category - REBUILD, European Social Innovation Competition (EUSIC) and finalist of the MINI Design Awards 2022 - Madrid Design Festival.

La Balma

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La Balma

Mismatches Location Financing Functional adequacy Cultural suitability Diversity Vulnerable groups New family structures
Policies and regulations Local policies Land Governance Public-private initiatives Participatory processes
Financing Financial actors
Urban Design Quality Liveability
Promotion and production Public-private partnerships Participatory processes Self-management Self-promotion Cooperatives
Ownership and tenure Shared ownership Rental and temporary tenure Protection of social housing Land ownership Public-private partnerships

Main objectives of the project

La Balma is a housing cooperative on public land. Through a system of rights on land ("cesión de uso"), the municipality leases the land for a long period of time. In exchange, a cooperative of people who meet the requirements to build social housing builds their cooperative. About thirty people live in La Balma, with 20 cohabitation units.

Date

  • 2021: Construction
  • 2017: En proceso
  • 2016: Ganador

Stakeholders

  • Promotor: Sostre Civic (Coopertiva La Balma)
  • Architect: La Boqueria
  • Architect: LaCol
  • Constructor: La Constructiva SCCL
  • Constructor: Arkenova
  • Barcelona City Hall
  • Fiare Banca Ètica
  • Òmnium Cultural
  • Coop57
  • Punt de referència

Location

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

Description

La Balma is located in the Poblenou neighborhood of Barcelona. The neighborhood is an old industrial center of the city, which in recent years has become the first district of technological innovation in the country. It is called 22@. This project was intended to generate a technological district while maintaining the residential-industrial mix characteristic of the neighborhood. The reality has been more complex. The neighborhood has suffered a clear process of gentrification. Housing prices have skyrocketed and many of the traditional premises are no longer there. Thus, one challenge is to maintain a population involved in the neighborhood and that can afford to live in it.

It is from this logic that La Balma was born, a cooperative housing made on public land. Being part of the cooperative requires an initial contribution and the payment of monthly installments that are derived from the costs of acquisition, maintenance and operation of the cooperative housing project, and not from the situation of the real estate market. Thus, one does not acquire the land nor does one acquire the housing. Being part of the cooperative you have the right of use (or the transfer of use) for a long or lifetime period, without real estate market rises and without possible speculation. In this way, the municipality does not lose public land for affordable housing, only leases it without the cost of building social housing. On the other hand, tenants have a secure tenure and are part of a larger community integrated into the neighborhood, with the agency to build and decide on their project. To move in, each cohabitation unit has had to make an initial returnable capital contribution of between €28,000 and €38,000. The monthly payments, which include services and utilities, range from €512 to €800 per dwelling. The financing of these amounts has been made possible thanks to Fiare, an ethical and community bank.

The community at La Balma is heterogeneous and intergenerational. There are 30 people living in 20 units. We find single-parent families, couples, couples with children, cohabitant adults and individual units (from young people to retired people). Many of these people are lifelong residents of Poblenou. In fact, the community was formed prior to construction, participating in all phases of the project, from design to move-in. It also includes a pioneering social project. One of the homes is destined for two young people in exile, thanks to a joint program with Punt de Referència, an organization that works to promote the emancipation of these young people in vulnerable situations, and financed by the Libres Project (Coop57, Òmnium Cultural and ECAS). In addition, these young people participated in the entire design process of the project and participate in the democratic management of the building. To promote the interrelationship with the neighborhood, we also have a first floor space shared with associations and individuals to promote their projects. On the other hand, we are committed to ecological consumption, linking the cooperative with consumer cooperatives in the surrounding area and to self-production with vegetable gardens on the roof.

As far as the building is concerned, it has flexible and multipurpose spaces that evolve with the group according to the changes of both the living units and the people who will inhabit the building: incorporation of new members, births, growth processes of children-adolescents, aging processes of adults ... Thus, the typologies start from a basic module of 50m2 and from the annexation of living units of 16m2 (considered common space for private use in legal terms) allow to grow and shrink the houses. These units are ceded by the cooperative to the family units that need them at any given moment, therefore, it becomes a mechanism to manage changes as an alternative to rotation. This proposal is viable due to the fact that the management of the building is the responsibility of the community itself. The dwellings reduce their surface area (5-10%) to share services such as laundry, study, guest rooms or storage rooms, thus allowing that the collectivization does not involve a cost overrun, but rather the opposite, a saving and a gain in surface area and quality of life.

The architectural project has 225m2 of interior area destined to communal spaces, plus semi-exterior and exterior areas, where we find the following uses: living room - dining room, multipurpose room, library and work space, a laundry per floor, health and care space connected with auxiliary rooms, guest rooms, common and individual storage per floor, equipped deck and outdoor living area, bicycle parking, tool space and workshop area.

In 2016 the competition for the construction was won and in 2021 the building was move-in ready.