ICA - CCR European Research Conference Berlin 2019

Panel Housing Coops and Urban Transformation: A strategy for Urban Transformation? Housing Cooperatives in England, Switzerland and Germany Session Chair: Barbara König, Marleen Thürling, Genossenschaftsforum e.V., Berlin


Nic Bliss is the Head of Policy for the Confederation of Co-operative Housing – the UK’s representative body for co-operative housing. A member of a Birmingham housing co-operative himself, Nic has had over 30 years’ experience in the UK’s co-operative and social housing sectors and has produced many publications in relation to that work. His experience spans from expertise in governance and management in the UK’s small housing co-ops through to supporting larger scale mutual housing associations. Nic is part of a team that is working with the UK Government to explore new ways of developing community led housing.

Nic will discuss the following in his address:

· The history of the UK co-operative and social housing sectors and how they relate to each other

· The culture and structures that have limited the growth of the UK’s small co-operative housing sector

· How the UK’s current housing crisis is leading to an emerging renaissance of UK community led housing

· How learning the CCH has taken from the Community Land Trust in British Columbia and from Berlin to explore new ways to develop co-operative housing at scale in the UK.


Dr. Jennifer Duyne Barenstein is a social anthropologist specialized in socio-cultural dimensions of housing and urbanization, displacement, resettlement, and post-disaster reconstruction. Between 1999 and 2008 she was a senior lecturer at the Department of Social Anthropology of the University of Zurich and from 2004-2016 at the University of Applied Sciences of Southern Switzerland, where she founded and directed the World Habitat Research Centre. She has directed several international research projects in South- and South-East Asia and Latin America and was a senior consultant for various international organisations including The World Bank, UN Habitat, FAO, IFAD, SDC and DFID. She joined the ETH CASE in 2016 as a senior researcher and lecturer and is currently directing the MAS ETH in Housing.

She will present the results of an research project dwelling on economic and social advantages and disadvantages of new forms of housing in Switzerland with regard to future developments such as inner-city density, demographic change and integration.



Dr. Barbara König is both director of the innovative Housing Cooperative "Bremer Höhe" in Berlin as well as responsible for the Genossenschaftsforum e.V. in Berlin, an association for research and promotion of housing cooperatives in Berlin in Potsdam. Barbara dedicated her academic and later also practical work to the cooperative principles in the field of housing and urban development after her Diploma in architecture at the Technical University Karlsruhe, studying Urban Planning at the Columbia University, NYC. and her PhD in Urban Sociology at the Humboldt University Berlin.

Barbara will discuss the increasingly restrictive situation for the broad scene of cooperative housing on the ever sharpening real estate markets in German metropolises.

· Cooperatives in Germany have an verifiable attenuating effect an the development of the housing market.

· The non-profit orientation of housing cooperatives are a competitive disadvantage, that makes the sector loose significance

· The political polarisation ignores the versatile cooperatives as partners in the urban development

· The bundling of cooperative resources might be an approach to gain market power and to furthermore play a role in the urban transformation