2014. július 5., szombat

What to do in times of money shortage?


- how to improve your housing conditions during an economic crisis -

This paper was inspired by a research[1] focusing on the current housing conditions in Greece and their future prospects. The situation of housing and housing policy in Greece is almost as much alarming as in Hungary. Not enough and deteriorating dwellings; unaffordable housing conditions; loneliness or isolation, impoverishment; lack of adequate strategies etc. More frequent discussions about housing and housing policy should be a particular focus of attention, not only examining the Hungarian situation in itself, but defining new directions by comparing Hungary with other Western European countries with similar or more developed circumstances. Learning more about the problems of our time and comparing them with similar cases of the past might be even more useful than developing brand new strategies.

Picture 1
New Lanark -
a British reaction to the horrible working
and housing conditions of the early 1880s

Picture 2
Homesgarth - an example of
community-oriented garden city planning

Picture 3
Kraftwerk1 - Heizenholz shared-flat -
a potential contemporary solution
for avoiding isolation and loneliness

Now is the time and possibility to thoroughly examine our options and explore worldwide tendencies and potential instruments, since there is little energy and money for physical developments. What could be the role of the state and civil society in such case? What fields could be the targets of development (social, cultural sector, new forms of housing) in times of money shortage? 
Cohousing and housing cooperatives are potential instruments. In Western Europe these initiatives have been gradually coming into focus since the similarly problematic early 1880s due to their social (healthy communities, cohabitation), economic (non-profit, 20-30% cheaper than market real estate prices) and cultural (community goals, diverse cultural developments) advantages. They offer diverse forms of housing, communities become stronger, housing cooperatives react better to changes, among other advantages. The current Hungarian housing situation is the perfect basis of the discourse on cohousing and housing cooperatives.

Picture 4
community-oriented housing developments
of the past 200 years in accordance
with social and economic changes

In a country which is constantly learning and practicing democracy it would be of utmost importance to the citizens to improve living conditions through cooperation and bottom-up developments. The state, acting as a top-down body, could support these initiatives by improving legal and economic conditions. These initiatives (bottom-up and top-down alike) will be the most successful if they meet and mutually support each other. 

Picture 5
Wo-wo-wonige”, Zurich – squatting and
organized demonstrations as instruments
of the city-dwellers for self-expression

How can civil society establish improved cohousings and how can the state support the creation and development of such cooperatives? Preparations have to start right now, since when there will be money and “energy”, there will be no time to prepare. Housing associations, citizens and their political representatives have to define strategies individually and hand in hand for the common goals of long-term and sustainable development.

In Budapest the presently founded “Community Living - Közösségben Élni” is seeking the answer on how to initiate bottom-up non-profit co-operatives based on common purposes with active participation of members from the foundation to upkeep.

Community Living – Közösségben Élni

Zsófia Glatz
Bence Komlósi
October 05, 2013.
Zürich

Picture 1 - New Lanark – a British reaction to the horrible working and housing conditions of the early 1880s - http://scottishgenealogyblog.blogspot.ch/2010/09/new-lanarks-people-early-years.html, accessed: May 04, 2013.

Picture 2 - Homesgarth, an example of community-oriented garden city planning - http://cashewnut.me.uk/WGCbooks/popup.php?title=Homesgarth%20quadrangle, accessed: March 03, 2013.

Picture 3 - Heizenholz shared-flat – a potential contemporary solution for avoiding isolation and loneliness - http://www.kraftwerk1.ch/assets/plaene/heizenholz/Kraftwerk1_Heizenholz_Clusterwohnung.pdf accessed: June 07, 2013.

Picture 4 - community-oriented housing developments of the past 200 years in accordance with social and economic changes - Roland Burgard, Standards der Zukunft – Wohnbau neu gedacht (Springer, 2008), 23.

Picture 5 - Wo-wo-wonige”, Zurich – squatting and organized demonstrations as instruments of the city-dwellers for self-expression - http://www.wonige.ch/diashow.html accessed: October 01, 2013.

The text was published on the 18th of June, 2013 in Hungarian.
http://hg.hu/cikkek/varos/15951-lakhatasi-teendok-penzhiany-eseten





[1] Elissavet Tamvakera - ”When the State has no more money – Looking for qualitative affordable housing models”