© Marius Schwarz pour Operation Housing Cooperative (Valiz, 2022)



BMA will highlight several initiatives over the coming year that contribute to the realization of cooperative housing. We see these as new responses to the challenge of affordable housing in Brussels. Whilst the financial aspects may not be simply compatible with the Belgian context, foreign examples can provide insightful ideas on how such collective projects can be shaped by their future residents.

We participated in the Cera Coop Tour to discover what is happening in Geneva. The situation in Geneva is quite similar to Brussels as – unlike in Zürich- there is no century-old tradition of housing cooperatives. How is it than that new housing cooperatives have been thriving in Geneva for the past decade?

A first insight from the report of the Cera Coop tour indicates a firm political commitment in Geneva towards a comprehensive housing policy that integrates the cooperative model, which is anchored within a general housing law.

A second success factor is the land policy of the authorities. Experiences in Geneva show that public land ownership is a crucial lever for urban development in general and for housing cooperatives in particular.

Thirdly, access to financial institutions is essential to give housing cooperatives a chance. To this end, the government does not need to spend money, but bank guarantees are sufficient to reassure banks and initiate a dialogue with new cooperatives.

To read the full report (only in FR and NL)


If you wish to gain a better understanding of how this approach was translated into interesting housing cooperatives, click on the images below to watch different projects in Geneva and their accompanying interviews with residents, politicians, and experts (in FR subtitled in FR or NL).


Housing cooperatives: the cooperative model creates desire
« All residents or households were to have an even opportunity to benefit from the sunlight, through an identical exposure of their flats to the south. Another self-imposed constraint was to provide a rooftop garden instead of flats, serving as a communal outdoor space. And the third was to limit the number of lifts.»

– Olivier Krumm, architect, cooperative member of Luciole an resident of Soubeyran

© Architectuurwijzer & CERA



Housing cooperatives: the residents have the ability to think for themselves on how they want to live
« We as cooperative members and future residents of a cooperative housing project can decide more for ourselves on how we want to live. »

– Philippe Bonhôte, architect of the Rigaud project by the LA COHDA cooperative

© Architectuurwijzer & CERA



Housing co-operatives: working on a neighbourhood scale means working on society as a whole
« A project in central Geneva with 115 flats, some of which – through subsidies – are rented out at a social rate. But you can’t tell who lives in a social flat and who lives in an ordinary one. »

– Eric Rossiaud, director and co-founder of LA CODHA

© Architectuurwijzer & CERA