A housing cooperative in the heart of Zurich, Switzerland, aims to overcome the negative effects of gentrification with participation tools at every level and a deliberately chosen, diverse mix of residents.
In many urban centres, housing is becoming increasingly expensive, rents are rising and people on lower incomes, in particular, are being forced out into the outer districts. Even within the same district, people live in anonymity and rarely meet each other.
a diverse Mix of residents
The Kalkbreite cooperative runs a property with a variety of businesses and 95 affordable apartments in the heart of Zurich. Its 160 residents are chosen to represent a mix of different ages, genders, income levels, and professional and educational backgrounds, as well as nationalities. Attractive common spaces promote interaction.
Using participatory methods and including many people in the planning process inevitably led to the creation of expectations that could never be fulfilled. Managing these expectations (and sometimes the disappointments that result) is a crucial part of the process. The second property, the Zollhaus, set to open in 2020, aims to further explore the ideas of how housing can be both super-dense and highly individualised, while still sharing key parts of urban living with the wider community. This method of developing projects received an overwhelming amount of attention, both nationally and internationally. The number of cooperative members supporting the cause is steadily growing and just recently reached 2000.
One of the ideas was to lessen the amount of area that every single person consumes.