Caught between the public and the private: urban cooperative solutions in Central Europe

In the early 2000s, some cities in the Central Eastern European region began to introduce new mechanisms for citizen participation in urban development. These attempts have remained mostly sporadic however, and the possibilities of the third sector in shaping the region’s cities have remained very limited. In order to understand the reasons that hinder the […]

SQUICITY – SPERIMENTARE LA FILIERA CORTA DEL CIBO A ROMA

Con la crescita del fenomeno dell’e-commerce, sempre più persone scelgono di acquistare ogni tipo di prodotto su internet. Squicity utilizza la piattaforma virtuale per fornire ai consumatori romani i prodotti della loro terra, rigorosamente provenienti da produzioni biologiche nelle provincie di Roma, Rieti e Viterbo. In quest’intervista Alfredo Morales, tra gli ideatori di Squicity, ci […]

Szatyorbolt – Buy and consume local

Szatyorbolt has been operating an association and a food shop within a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) scheme for the past 9 years. The shop’s aim is to bring local produce from the countryside to the city, by connecting consumers with small and mid-size farms and food producers within a radius of 50-70km from Budapest. Establishing […]

Plateau Urbain – Temporary use for new ecosystems of work

Plateau Urbain is a temporary use organisation in Paris. Established in 2013, it examines the possibilities of vacant spaces in the city, bringing together property owners with a diversity of tenants. Together with the temporary housing organisation Aurore and the architecture collective Yes We Camp, Plateau Urban was a key actor in reactivating a former […]

PIGS, from crisis to self-organisation

Southern European countries were among the hardest hit by the 2008 economic crisis. In response to the economic pressure, declining public services and drastic unemployment situation generated by the crisis and the corresponding public policies, the Southern regions of the continent became terrains of experiments in self-organisation and gave birth to new forms of the […]

Toolbox Torino – Spaces for work, made of community and stimuli

Toolbox was established in 2010 in an industrial zone of Turin. In the city’s postindustrial search for new identity and new jobs, Toolbox emerged as a new workspace for the maker scene as well as for the field of digital economy, by bringing together many emerging initiatives from these fields. The experiment of turning a […]

Toestand – Temporary use for mixing communities

Toestand is a temporary use organisation in Brussels, helping citizen activities and community groups access spaces at an affordable rent or for free. While the organisation undertakes the work of identifying buildings, negotiating with owners, renovating the spaces and recruiting tenants, it is also responsible for the daily management of the reactivated sites, bringing together […]

The Welcome Class – Language learning for social integration

The last decade has seen a significant change in the nature and pattern of migration flows within the EU. As a result one can observe a rapid change in the population structure and interactions between individuals and social groups in cities. Cities of migration are places of inclusion and exclusion. Local authorities need to deal […]

ZOHO – Development with a hundred investors

ZOHO or the Zomerhofkwartier near Rotterdam’s Central Station has witnessed a significant revival in the past years. The area is composed of office buildings constructed after the war, and gradually witnessing a loss of attractiveness as well as tenants over the past few decades. Although a housing corporation had purchased many properties in the area […]

Paralelní Polis – Virtual economy for community spaces

Paralelní Polis is a community space organised around the notions of bitcoin and blockchain technology. Located in Prague’s upcoming Holesovice neighbourhood, it opened its doors in 2014 to provide a physical space for discussions and activities investigating the relationship between technology and self-organisation. Decidedly “state-free,” the organisation operates with private membership fees and donations, and […]

Complementary currencies for a commons-based economy

Responses to the economic crisis of 2007-2008, and ambitions to create autonomous systems of exchange generated hundreds of complementary currencies in the past decade. Created to connect local actors, help local businesses or assure financial transparency, mutual credit systems, convertible local currencies and cryptocurrencies have evolved into mechanisms used not only in socio-economic experiments, but […]

La Cooperativa Coraggio – Le terre pubbliche come opportunità per i giovani agricoltori

A due passi dalla Trionfale si estende la tenuta agricola di Borghetto San Carlo. Un angolo di campagna a Roma Nord, Borghetto San Carlo racchiude dei casali circondati da terreni agricoli pubblici che il Comune di Roma ha affidato in gestione alla Cooperativa Coraggio. Giacomo Lepri, attivista nel movimento per le terre pubbliche incolte ai […]

Public policies in support of civic initiatives

Civic initiatives regenerating urban areas emerged all over Europe as an answer to the crisis of traditional urban policies. Often they share a conflicting attitude towards the public sector or aim at extending their independence. In the following chapter, we focus on citizens’ demand for cooperation with public administrations. Firstly, we describe some opportunities for […]

Laituri Helsinki – An urban laboratory to make strategies alive

Laituri is an urban information centre in Helsinki established in 2008. Attached to the Helsinki Municipality’s city planning department, Laituri helps disseminating information about the city’s development plans and new projects through exhibitions and presentations. Instead of being a one-directional communication channel, Laituri also acts as an interface for feedbacks from citizens: with the help […]

Regulating the Urban Commons – What we can learn from Italian experiences

The international debate on the commons has a long history but only in recent years has it started gearing towards the definition of Urban Commons and what their role is in shaping our society, especially at the wake of the economic crisis. This debate developed strongly in Italy as a result of a referendum refusing […]

Il programma Bip/Zip Lotta alla povertà nei quartieri prioritari di Lisbona

Per ridurre la povertà nei quartieri svantaggiati delle nostre città molto può anche essere fatto anche senza una forte cooperazione del governo nazionale. In questo senso, l’esperienza del Comune di Lisbona è di grande ispirazione grazie al programma Bip/Zip, ormai attivo da quasi dieci anni, che ambisce a ridurre la povertà nei quartieri svantaggiati della […]

Foundations for affordable space – a Swiss case study

While affordable space for housing and community activities in Europe has traditionally been provided by states, public companies and private corporations, the transformation of the welfare state and labour markets in the last quarter of the 20th century has gradually caused the disintegration of these institutions. The financialisation of real estate together with the growing […]

Stad in de Maak – From crisis to a shared ownership model

Stad in de Maak is an association set up to take on the redevelopment of vacant properties in Central Rotterdam, together with the local community. The association renovated six buildings, investing upfront the amount of loss the buildings were projected to generate for their owner, a housing corporation, in the coming 10 years. Stad in […]

Regulating crowdfunding – International resources for local communities?

In the past years, civic crowdfunding has become an increasingly used tool by communities to help finance their urban infrastructure projects. However, while some legal contexts encourage experiments around community finance, other national regulations categorically exclude the possibility of peer-to-peer lending or crowdinvesting, thus limiting the impact crowdfunding can have in the built environment. Jan […]

Community Land Trust Bruxelles – Enabling low-income homeownership

The Community Land Trust Bruxelles was created in 2012 as an initiative of residents, activists and neighbourhood organisations. The CLT was founded as a reaction to the emerging housing crisis of Brussels, addressing the insufficiency of public tools to create social housing. With 9 homes finished and many more in the plans, the Community Land […]

A bundle of rights and obligations: Privately Owned Public Spaces

In the winter of 2007, exactly nine years before Donald Trump became president of the USA, I was a regular visitor to Trump Tower. Not as a guest or an admirer though: each time I went to 725 Fifth Avenue, I went as an inspector, on behalf of the New York Department of City Planning’s […]

Exploring property: Perspectives of ownership

In the last decades, ownership has become a key factor of our societies and economies. As Thomas Piketty demonstrated in his recent book Capital in the Twenty First Century, the late 20th and early 21st centuries witnessed the return of the primacy of wealth over work in economic benefits and ownership has become an increasingly […]

New institutions and cooperative finance in times of austerity

To a large extent, the global financial crisis of 2007-2008 was a result of excessive real estate speculation and the irresponsible management of investments and debts by the mainstream banking system. Already before the current crisis, a variety of new, responsible financial institutions were established according to ethical and sustainable principles in order to counterbalance […]

Coop57 – Financing projects in the social and solidarity economy

Coop57 is a cooperative for ethical financial services with the objective of financing projects in the social and solidarity economy. It was created in Barcelona in 1995 from a compensation fund that former employees of the publishing house Bruguera received when the company went bankrupt. In the following years, the organisation gradually increased its member […]

Rákóczi Collective – Alternatives to individual homeownership

In 2011 a dozen young people retreated for a weekend to one of the suburbs of Hungary’s capital to discuss the alternatives of individual home-ownership, and to sketch the contours of a possible model of co-housing. By Ágnes Gagyi, Csaba Jelinek, Zsuzsanna Pósfai and Márton Szarvas for Autoportret Magazine Images by Community Living initiative

SANNAS – Creating a local network of cooperation among various enterprises

SANNAS is a group of enterprises in Madrid, working in a shared space on projects with social, environmental and economic dimensions. One of the projects of SANNAS is the co-housing project Entrepatios where SATT Architects takes care of the architectural part whilst Logica Eco of the management of the stakeholders.

Lessons from community-led housing for city-makers across Europe

During the past few decades, housing has been at the forefront of community-led initiatives to guarantee the right to an affordable city. As a consequence, housing, in many respects, has been leading the way for experiments with innovative financial and organisation models for community-led urban infrastructure and development projects. Solidarity funds, shared ownership models, organisational […]

Goteo – Crowdsourcing for open communities

Goteo is a platform for civic crowdfunding founded by Platoniq, a Catalan association of culture producers and software developers. Goteo helps citizen initiatives as well as social, cultural and technological projects that produce open source results and community benefits, with crowdfunding and crowdsourcing resources. Since its launch in 2011, Goteo’s crowdfunding campaigns have mobilised more […]

Vivero de Iniciativas Ciudadanas – Mapping and co-producing citizen initiatives

Vivero de Iniciativas Ciudadanas is a platform to support citizen projects in Madrid. Initiated by the architecture office Estudio SIC, the platform maps and brings together citizen initiatives that shape the city’s various neighbourhoods, identifying their competences and needs. Based on this mapping process and the related research, Vivero de Iniciativas Ciudadanas teamed up with […]

MÜSZI – Public functions in private spaces

Művelődési Szint (MÜSZI Art & Community Centre) is a cultural space operating on the 3rd floor of a socialist-style department store. Besides hosting events ranging from concerts to theatre performances and film screenings, Müszi also offers studios for artists, NGOs and start-up companies. Müszi stands as an unprecedented venture in Budapest, a venue that positions […]

Stiftung Trias – Taking properties out of the speculation market

Stiftung trias was established in 2002, to help community groups and co-housing projects access financing. Trias takes land off the market by separating the ownership of land and buildings: supported initiatives lease the land from the foundation in the form of a long-term Heritable Building Right (Erbbaurecht) and their lease fee is collected in a mutual […]

Casa Netural – New economy for a small town

Located in a building of 220 m2 in Matera, Casa Netural includes a co-working space, a playroom, a kitchen, meeting rooms, relaxing rooms and bedrooms. Casa Netural works as incubator for innovative and experimental projects which are enabled through a variety of economic resources coming from private funds, as well as by the income coming […]

Largo Residências – urban regeneration through local jobs

Largo Residências is a hostel, hotel, artist-in-residence and café in Lisbon’s fast-changing Intendente neighbourhood. Largo, run by a cooperative, aims at connecting the area’s past and future: it serves as a community hub for many of the area’s residents and initiatives, and develops projects to support the cultural and social inclusion of the neighbourhood’s precarious […]

Carrozzerie n.o.t. – Where the theatrical workspace is ours

Carrozzerie_n.o.t​ is an ex-car repair workshop in Rome that has been transformed into an independent cultural and performing arts centre focusing on theatre and dance. The space accommodates both rehearsals and shows, and organises workshops conceived for teenagers and non-professionals, as well as for professional actors. “Culture needs public support for some activities, but it […]

ExRotaprint – Community ownership against speculation

“If you have space, you should do something directly for the people who make up the area.” ExRotaprint was founded in 2007 by tenants of the Rotaprint industrial complex in Wedding, a traditional working class district in Northwest Berlin. When the complex was put up for sale by the Berlin Municipality’s Real Estate Fund, members […]

De Besturing – From tenancy to collective ownership

De Besturing was founded in 2006 in an industrial area of The Hague and over the years it has been transformed from a temporary studio complex into a sustainable collective of artists and designers. Initially rented out for free on a temporary basis from the municipality, the community nevertheless collected the rent from tenants, constituting […]

Stara Trznica – New purpose for a public building

Alianca Stará Tržnica is an NGO managing the Old Market Hall, a historic building in the centre of Bratislava, combining a food market with cultural, as well as two cafés, a grocery shop, a cooking school and a soda water manufacturer. Rethinking the opportunities of the Old Market Hall allows the organisation to run the building in an economically sustainable way, while gradually renovating it, creating a new event venue and meeting space in the heart of the city.

BIP/ZIP – Promoting partnerships in sensitive urban areas

BIP/ZIP is a pioneering strategy by the Lisbon Municipality’s Body of Housing and Local Development, promoting partnerships in the city’s priority neighbourhoods. Besides establishing local governance structures that facilitate communication and shared decision-making between the public administration and neighbourhood organisations, BIP/ZIP also includes an ignition funding programme for community partnership initiatives with a strong local […]

Community Capital in Action: New Financial Models for Resilient Cities

In the past decade, with the economic crisis and the transformation of welfare societies, NGOs, community organisations and civic developers – City Makers – established some of the most important services and spaces in formerly vacant buildings, underused areas and neglected neighbourhoods. Consolidating their presence in the regenerated spaces, these initiatives are increasingly looking into […]

Vacant City

The economic crisis brought about a new paradigm in architecture and planning. Instead of serving large-scale investments and targeting fictional customers, the new development logic gives preference to the reuse of existing buildings and spaces by helping them to gradually adapt to new functions and accommodate new users. Dutch practitioners were at the forefront of experimenting with new approaches to vacant properties and community-led urban regeneration. By pioneering innovation in design, policy and management to address the problem of vacancy, they established models that inspired like-minded initiatives across the world. Between 2012 and 2015, the KÉK – Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Centre invited to Budapest a dozen Dutch practitioners, whose work is organized around the reuse of vacant buildings and areas. Vacant City is the result of these encounters, assembling the key thoughts and experiences of the program's 3 years. Direct download here.

Cascina Roccafranca – The Public-Civic Governance of Space

Cascina Roccafranca is a multi-functional community centre operating in a building owned by the City of Turin. Partly financed by the municipal budget, the centre is managed through a cooperation between public and civic actors: a scheme that offers a valuable governance model while providing a wide range of social and cultural activities.

Afrikaanderwijk Cooperative – Pooling Neighbourhood Resources

Afrikaanderwijk Cooperative operates in South Rotterdam’s Feijenoord area. Evolved from an art project conducted in the area by the Freehouse Foundation, the Cooperative works on bringing together existing workspaces, entrepreneurs, producers, social organisations and the market. The Cooperative began its work by mapping the unrecognised skills and competences of residents in the Afrikaanderwijk neighbourhood, suffering […]

Stará Tržnica – New purpose for a public building

Alianca Stará Tržnica is an NGO managing the Old Market Hall, a historic building in the centre of Bratislava. The building closed down after years of unsuccessful attempts by the municipality to keep the market alive. Years later, the market hall reopened with a redevelopment plan proposed by the Alianca, combining a food market every […]

New Life to Markets – regenerating public space in Rome

With public spaces being created by the interaction of various social groups, marketplaces have traditionally constituted some of the most important public spaces, attracting people from all ways of lives and all financial capabilities. In the past decades, however, they gradually lost their role: while urban and metropolitan agriculture are flourishing, and an increasing number of […]

Banca Etica

We met Massimo Marinacci at the Primavalle market in Rome. Massimo is the membership coordinator in the northern part of Lazio for Banca Etica, a bank that hardly resembles any other financial institution in Italy.  As Massimo passionately explains, Banca Etica’s strength lies in its popular and cooperative nature. Indeed, it is entirely run and […]

Squicity – piloting short chain food delivery in Rome

Shopping online has become a common habit in our society. More and more people choose their products online and have become accustomed to this new practice. Squicity uses the virtual platform to offer to Roman consumers the products of their land, exclusively grown in the province of Rome, Rieti and Viterbo. The following interview features […]

Officine Zero – experimenting new ways of co-working

Officine Zero (OZ) was born in 2012 following the failure of the RSI corporation (ex Wagon-lits). The re-appropriation of the corporation’s facilities by the workers, with a vast support of the social network, has fuelled a process of revaluation of the space, based on a collaborative economic system. Officine Zero is made up of diverse […]

ANVA – promoting the interests of food vendors in markets

ANVA, the National Association for Commerce on Public Areas, is a professional association that gathers workers operating on commercial public areas. ANVA is counted among the founding members of Confesercenti and it promotes the idea of an Italian self-managed market, designed according to the market requirements, defending the expertise and the rights of professional workers.

We defend markets – citizens’ initiative to protect the public good

Anna Maria Bianchi is the president of the association “carteinregola”, an initiative aimed at promoting collaboration between citizens and committees as well as other associations in Rome. Among the activities offered by “carteinregola”, Anna Maria is in charge of the initiative “We defend neighbourhood markets”, which she will present in this interview. She not only highlights […]

Borghetto San Carlo – a young farmers’ cooperative

A few steps away from Rome’s Via Trionfale you can find the Borghetto San Carlo. A little piece of countryside in North Rome, the Borghetto consists of several farm buildings surrounded by public farmland that the Municipality of Rome entrusted to the Cooperativa Coraggio. Giacomo Lepri is an activist advocating for access to public, non-cultivated farmland, […]

About us

About Cooperative City Magazine The Cooperative City Magazine is a project run by Eutropian, based in Vienna, Austria. The company is working with various European cities and partners in order to improve the urban tissue, involve citizens and defend their rights to the city.  This online magazine is collecting and sharing promising practices from European […]

Topics

Urban regeneration Neighbourhoods, the building blocks of cities, are in constant transformation. Improving the quality of life, relationships and opportunities in a specific area requires an integrated approach to urban regeneration. Our stories explore how building new communities, networks and services can contribute to more liveable and inclusive urban areas. All articles on Urban regeneration […]

Accommodating innovation: temporary use and the access to vacant urban properties in Europe

Temporary use is a learning process of accommodating innovation and adapting needs and capacities to available resources. It offers benefits to owners and users, in terms of security, maintenance, anchor tenants and social vibe on the one side, and affordable rents and spaces on the other. And it can help shaping new forms of cooperation […]

Civic participation and the management of urban green spaces

European cities are still in the wake of the economic crisis. Public administrations are struggling with urban maintenance and the delivery of local services. Driven by community energies, citizen participation and a multi-stakeholder approach, small-scale local development is on the rise. Levente Polyak and Daniela Patti explain what is happening across Europe and how sustainable […]