Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Resource Economics

Housing co-operatives

The promotion of membership in housing co-operatives as a challenge for a sustainable development of enterprises

Start: 12/2001
End: 07/2005

The housing market is - primarily in Eastern Germany currently in radical change connected to environmental factors e.g. the loss of economical and social function in many towns and deficits of regional labour markets. The problems of housing co-operatives are increasing dwelling vacancy, threatening insolvency, socio-spatial inequality (segregation and exclusion), unstable neighbourhoods, increasing mobility of residents, dynamic demand for living space and doubtful frameworks of housing politics. In the last decades oligarchic tendencies and efficiency criteria defined enterprise concepts, but since end of 1980s housing co-operatives discusses increasingly their specifically co-operative profile which distinguishes them from private economy and community enterprises and constitutes comparative advantages by other housing enterprises. Given in front of this background the question of investigation is whether housing co-operatives improve the legally specified member participation and informal member support improving neighbourhood and social networks. Member rights and member support are very important for identity of co-operatives, but are they realised as advantages under market competition? Empirical intention is to point out institutional and informal configurations of enterprise strategies orientated on membership, the stabilisation of neighbourhoods, the reorganisation of settlement structures and how far they contribute to ensuring specific living needs. Methodical procedure is a comparative case study of twenty housing co-operatives different in size, regional location and enterprise-established period in the region Berlin-Brandenburg. It bases upon interviews with the boards, employees and engaged members with regard to the actions and effects of members participation and social relationship.

Researcher: Prof. Dr. Stephan Beetz

Lead: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Konrad Hagedorn

Funding: German Research Foundation (DFG)

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