The Wooncoop model of cooperative living and inclusive sustainability

Wooncoop makes the city fairer and more sustainable by managing housing projects together. This is how they introduce a concept forgotten in Belgium: cooperative living.

Through the cooperative society, residents and investors own the housing projects, thus wooncoop keeps the city in the hands of citizens. Through architecture, wooncoop also creates a more connected city. The houses encourage interaction with fellow residents and the neighbourhood. Also, their residents pursue equality and social inclusion.

Residents rent from themselves at actual cost. Buildings and management costs are covered. No more, no less.

Also, the housing cooperative system has some solidarity mechanisms that can make housing more affordable: (1) friends and family can support residents by investing in the cooperative, (2) residents who can contribute more capital support other residents who can contribute less capital and (3) there are also solidarity shares. Through these shares, investors cede their returns so that residents can live at a lower monthly cost. This is applied for vulnerable groups who find it harder to enter the housing market. For example: people on the run or people with disabilities.

Wooncoop no longer sells those housing projects, so they manage the property on a very long-term basis. As a result, truly sustainable and circular choices are made. They choose high-quality and durable materials so that the homes last a long time. They also insulate the houses thoroughly and invest in sustainable techniques such as solar panels and heat pumps. By combining this with a fair business model, ecological and social sustainability also becomes economically sustainable.

More information via www.wooncoop.be