The cohousing model puts ownership in the hands of a cooperative, while the land is offered with surface rights and remains publicly-owned. Residents in these communities are not owners, but members of the cooperative who live there under a system which offers indefinite rental at a more affordable price and joint management of communal areas. The winning cooperatives in the competition are: La Xarxaire SCCL, Llar Jove SCCL, Associació Parkformes, Associació Cohabitatge Cooperatiu and Sostre Cívic SCCL.
During the presentation of the competition results, the Councillor for Housing, Josep Maria Montaner, highlighted the harmony of the projects with the local territory, noting that this model “has much to do with the municipal government’s fight to prevent gentrification”. The five plots of land where the new cohousing blocks will be built are in the districts of Ciutat Vella, Sants-Montjuïc, Sarrià – Sant Gervasi, Nou Barris and Sant Martí.
The resolution of the cohousing competition provides a boost for new forms of accessing and relating to social housing which prevents property speculation, guarantees stability over time for users and fosters communal management of the buildings. It also bolsters the city’s affordable property stock and provides new opportunities for cooperatives and social housing promotors.
Besides making municipal plots available, the City Council is also in contact with ethical and cooperative banks to facilitate funding for the projects.
Projects already under way
Last October, Barcelona City Council ran a public competition to award seven plots of land around the city to be used to build cooperative housing projects offering surface rights or cohousing options. The competition was limited to cooperatives promoting new forms of accessing and relating to social housing which neither depend on ownership nor rent. A total of nineteen projects were presented by twelve different entities. Finally, projects for two of the sites were disregarded.
The five promotions which will go ahead come on top of the two already under way: work started in February with a project to provide 28 wooden homes in Can Batlló, and in mid-April work began on another project to provide a further five flats in C/ Princesa, in Ciutat Vella.