In the context of the housing crisis, the role of bottom-up initiatives can have a crucial role to react to the dysfunctionalities of both the housing market, and the public sector. There are many examples from the world of housing cooperative movements providing affordable and good quality housing through non-profit, membership-based, democratic institutions, in partnership with various private and public actors. In recent years, Periféria Center has been facilitating a similar movement  in Hungary and in the broader context of Eastern Europe. Currently, our efforts are directed towards the running of two concrete subprojects the details of which are described below. 

RENTAL HOUSING COOPERATIVES

ANALYZING THE POTENTIAL FOR CATALYTIC CAPITAL INVESTMENT IN THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING SECTOR OF EASTERN AND SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE

This is a research project focusing on the housing sector in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe (ESEE) where for many years, housing has become increasingly unaffordable to a significant part of the population. In parallel, there is an increasing need for investment in sustainable housing solutions to address the climate crisis. Due to a lack of systematic public engagement in ESEE, the development of innovative housing solutions strongly relies on independent housing organizations. These organizations face important difficulties in accessing finance, mainly due to the risk-aversion of existing housing finance institutions in the region.

The research focuses on both EU and non-EU countries - 8 countries altogether, with 4 selected as core research countries, including Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, and Slovenia. Access to innovative forms of housing finance is quasi nonexistent in all target countries. We firmly believe that if patient or catalytic capital were to systematically endow the housing sector of the region, then this would allow new, innovative housing providers to consolidate their activities, meaning that the sector of permanently affordable housing - ranging from limited equity cooperative housing to more conventional forms of rental housing - can finally come to life and expand in this part of Europe. This, in turn, would mean access to housing for social groups currently excluded from the housing market. In the research we will uncover the characteristics of both the demand-side and the supply-side of this sector, and will also identify the bottlenecks that need to be overcome for the two sides to meet.

[A katalikus tőkebefektetések lehetséges szerepei a megfizethető lakhatásban - a kelet- és délkelet-európai lakáspiacok vizsgálata]

THE SOCIOLOGY OF HOUSING COOPERATIVES IN HUNGARY FROM A LONGUE DURÉE PERSPECTIVE

[A magyarországi lakásszövetkezetek szociológiája történeti megközelítésben]

Even though currently ca. 6% of the Hungarian population lives in housing cooperatives, there is hardly any public discussion about them. This sheer volume of housing cooperatives is the result of a long historical process, which started in the 1870s. This research follows the history of housing cooperatives in the last 150 years in Hungary, in order to understand the subsequent waves of how citizens and/or the state tried to mitigate the housing crises in different historical periods.

The historical sociological analysis will shed light on the changing role and relations of the market forces, state policies and bottom-up initiatives of citizens’ groups in addressing housing-related social problems. Through understanding the differences and similarities between different historical periods, and through pointing at the factors behind successful and failed attempts of cooperative housing initiatives, the research will provide a useful analytical frame to look at the contemporary wave of emerging collaborative housing initiatives, which have appeared after the 2008 global crisis both in Hungary, and in other countries around the world.

 

Reports

Rental Housing Cooperative Model in Hungary [Bérlői lakásszövetkezeti modell Magyarországon]

2020. Jelinek, Csaba and Zsuzsanna Pósfai. Periféria Working Papers 1.

 

The working paper provides a summary of our practical experience on the topic of rental housing cooperatives in Hungary. We provide an overview of the financial, legal, architectural/urbanistic and communal aspects of the potential framework, in which the implementation of a rental housing cooperative model in Hungary would be realistic. Besides analyzing inspirational examples from other countries, we also point out how the Hungarian regulatory framework should be modified in order to catalyze the spread of the model. The text introduces various Hungarian actors, who have been active in promoting and advocating for rental housing cooperatives in Hungary in the recent years.

Public lectures

MOBA Housing Network: Building finance for cooperative housing in Eastern Europe

March 10, 2021. Pósfai, Zsuzsanna. Periferia Center, Center for Solidarity Economy [Szolidáris Gazdaság Központ]

Housing Crisis and Renters' Self-Organization [Lakhatási válság és bérlői önszerveződés]

May 1, 2020. Pósfai, Zsuzsanna. Forum for Trade Union Cooperation [Szakszervezetek Együttműködési Fóruma]

A Response from Housing Cooperatives for Social Care Crisis [A lakásszövetkezetek válasza a gondoskodási válságra]

March 5, 2020. Pósfai, Zsuzsanna. Budapest: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung - Equal Care in East-Central Europe.

Publications

Rákóczi Collective - Alternatives to individual homeownership

2017. Gagyi Á., Jelinek Cs., Pósfai Zs., Szarvas M. Cooperative City Magazine

Conferences

The cyclical history of cooperative housing - a case from the European periphery

November 20, 2020. Jelinek, Csaba and Zsuzsanna Pósfai. Working Group on Collaborative Housing, European Network for Housing Research

The idea of housing cooperatives as a response to crisis

October 9, 2020. Jelinek, Csaba. Jani-Dán, Lilla. Prága: Institute of Contemporary History, Czech Academy of Sciences, v.v.i. Faculty of Architecture, Czech Technical University in Prague

A new wave of rental-based housing cooperatives in Eastern Europe? – The experience of the MOBA network

August 28, 2019. Jelinek, Csaba and Zsuzsanna Pósfai. Athens: European Network of Housing Research.

Press appearances

Can profit logic be substituted by mutual assistance in housing? Housing cooperatives in Eastern Europe [Felválthatja a profitelvet a kölcsönös segítség a lakhatásban? Lakásszövetkezetek Kelet-Európában]

March 25, 2021. Mérce.

Why is housing so expensive? [Miért ilyen drága a lakhatás?]

April 28, 2020. napiPartizán #18.