La Borda housing co-operative in Barcelona, Spain.
The post features stories about housing co-operatives.
First up is a workers’ cooperative in Chicago, which was founded in 2020 to provide employment for people who had been incarcerated. ChiFresh Kitchen provides prepared meals for day cares and schools in low income neighbourhoods.
ChiFresh’s owners were having a hard time finding housing that was reasonably priced, safe and in good condition. Someone asked if the ChiFresh team had considered cooperative housing. With time to talk about the idea while they worked, they decided that a housing cooperative looked like a good fit for their housing issues.
Compared to other groups of people who are interested in starting a housing cooperative, ChiFresh has a corporate structure in place and assets from their food business. This gives them significant advantages when it comes to entering the housing market.
The second article is written by New York City resident, Katelin Penner, who recently visited her sister in Barcelona. Penner was favourably impressed with Barcelona’s efforts to provide deeply affordable housing for people who were at risk of losing their housing through gentrification. She contends that New York City could learn a lot from Barcelona, particularly when it comes to housing cooperatives and other forms of non-market housing which she toured while she was there.
Penner discusses La Borda, a housing co-operative that offers non-market low cost housing. La Borda also used construction materials and techniques that will help Barcelona meet its carbon reduction targets.
Penner points out that co-operatives are nothing new to New York. At 15,000 units and 35 high rises, Co-op City is a very large and famous example. It’s also been operating for 50 years. Penner says it is time to start building more housing co-operatives in New York City.
Read more about the ChiFresh housing co-operative in City Bureau: The Joy and Struggles of Building a Housing Co-op
Penner’s article about Barcelona appears in Next City: What Barcelona Can Teach New York City About Truly Affordable Housing