The Glories of Student Cooperative Housing

Many years ago, I was lucky to live in The Co-op (officially known as the University Cooperative Housing Association, UCHA) in Westwood, only two blocks from UCLA campus. Aside from being an amazingly affordable and fun place to live, UCHA was one of the first desegregated student housing communities in the nation. See the paragraph on Westwood and UCHA below. The Co-op is thriving today and still requires residents to work a four-hour chore shift per week.

Color of law cooperative

Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.

What we know today about the commons economy

The proposal of this paper is to present a summary of ten years of research at the P2P Foundation, including by our own P2P Lab but also by our partners in common research programs, of what we know today about the emerging commons economy. It includes a basic account of why the ‘invention’ of the blockchain has been important, but stresses that the needed distributed ledgers may take other forms in the future. This section may not offer a lot of new elements for those that are already technologically savvy about the topic, but it does offer a critical engagement with the qualities and flaws of the current model, and suggests how it can be tweaked and transformed, to also serve as a basis for a post-capitalist, commons-centric economy.

Read more here:

“Cooperative Cities” tomorrow @10:30am

SuttonTune in to WOL 1450 AM and Tune-in Radio, on March 12, at 10:30 am, ET, for Everything Co-op. This week Vernon interviews Stacey Sutton, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois Chicago. Vernon and Stacey will discuss her research on “Cooperative Cities,” and proven strategies to educate legislators on the potential impact of cooperatives on economic development.

Prof. Sutton is Assistant Professor of Urban Planning and Policy in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUPPA), at the University of Illinois Chicago. Sutton’s research focuses on the solidarity economy specifically worker-owned cooperatives, community economic democracy, community land trusts, and equitable development strategies. In a recent study, Prof. Sutton examines how twelve cities are creating municipal enabling environments for worker-owned cooperatives, as well as potential limits of local state involvement in the cooperative movement.

Prof. Sutton has written on racial transition and gentrification, the Black exodus from Chicago, and why Black capitalism will not reduce the racial wealth gap. Her work has been published in top urban journals and policy reports. Prof. Sutton holds a Ph.D. in Urban Planning and in Sociology from Rutgers University, an MBA from New York University, and a BA from Loyola University in Baltimore.

To listen live online Click Here!
or Click Here! to Listen on your cell phone with Tune-in Radio


Recent Community Land Trust articles

Kristen A. Hackett, Deshonay Dozier, Mariya Marinova. 2019. “Community land trusts: releasing possible selves through stable affordable housing.” Housing Studies 34(1): 24-48.

Housing affordability – a long-standing issue for low-income households – is crucial for the flourishing of both households and communities. When housing is unaffordable, households struggle to attain and maintain housing, which negatively effects household well-being. Since the foreclosure crisis, community land trusts (CLTs) have emerged as a viable housing policy. Relying on quantitative and qualitative data collected by a Minneapolis-based CLT, this study examines the experiences of 91 CLT homeowners. Our analysis illustrates how the CLT’s institutional framework alters the political, economic, social and material relations that characterize the lives of these households to facilitate the provision of previously unavailable resources. Beyond indefinitely stabilizing households, this new arrangement of relations creates a foundation for the cultivation of ontological security and contributes to the opening up of possibilities and the unfolding of life in ways not previously possible.

Deborah G. Martin, Azadeh Hadizadeh Esfahani, Olivia R. Williams, Richard Kruger, Joseph Pierce, James DeFilippis. 2020. “Meanings of limited equity homeownership in community land trusts.” Housing Studies 35(3): 395-414.

Discourses regarding homeownership in the United States emphasize housing as an economic investment. This focus fosters a number of problems, including inflated housing values, increased segregation, economic divisions, and the foreclosure crisis. Community land trusts (CLTs) put land in a non-profit trust to keep it affordable long-term. We examine CLTs as affordable housing organizations where individual residents own homes in the trust and lease the land underneath from the CLT. Interviews of CLT homeowners and staff in Minnesota, USA, show that the use value of CLT housing creates opportunities for different life choices. CLT homeowners cite stability and autonomy as the primary benefits of homeownership. They expressed newfound confidence and freedom to pursue personal goals and live less restricted lives after moving into CLT homes, a finding also emphasized by CLT staff. Limited equity housing such as CLTs can both reinforce dominant meanings of homeownership as providing security and autonomy, while also fostering access and affordability for low-income residents.

New DC Limited-Equity Cooperatives Report

CNHED has a new report titled “Creating and Sustaining Limited Equity Cooperatives in the District of Columbia” with Kathryn Howell of VCU as one of the authors. The 2020 report discusses how LECs might be expanded in the District, knowing that “Limited Equity Cooperatives (LECs) provide a critical source of affordable homeownership, stable community networks, and political power in neighborhoods across the District of Columbia.” The report also refers to another interesting study titled “A Study of Limited-equity Cooperatives in the District of Columbia,” which examines 57 LECs and finds the overwhelming majority in stable or excellent shape. Learn more about LECs through these reports!

Creating-and-Sustaining-Limited-Equity-Cooperatives-in-Washington-DC_FINAL pdf

Review of Huron’s wonderful commons book

Today Washington, D.C., seems like a terrain of hyper-gentrification and widespread displacement. Yet D.C. has also been and continues to be at the forefront of grassroots experiments combating these destructive trends and creating new, democratic worlds. Amanda Huron, an assistant professor of interdisciplinary social sciences at the University of the District of Columbia, brings us into this on-going history in her new book, Carving out the Commons: Tenant Organizing and Housing Cooperatives in Washington, D.C. Read the full book review published in Washington History (Fall 2019, volume 31 (1-2), pp. 100-101) here: Huron review.

Monte Verità in Switzerland

I was reading a description of an upcoming conference:

The conference will be held at Monte Verità, a former utopian-like hub of alternative cooperative life and now site for numerous formidable architectural works, standing in the beautiful landscape between the Alps and Lago Maggiore in the Swiss canton of Ticino.

Which made me wonder what Monte Verita was. There is much more to find out, but here is the official website:

Their social organisation based on the co-operative system and through which they strove to achieve the emancipation of women, self-criticism, new ways of cultivating mind and spirit and the unity of body and soul , can at the best be described as a Christian-communist community.

Love & Solidarity Collective

Learn more about the Love & Solidarity Collective (née Lamont Street), one of DC’s oldest intentional communities, and its Dec. 8th event “What happened 2 Chocolate City?”:

Since the LSC was established 1974 as the Lamont Street Collective, literally hundreds of people have called it home–over its more than forty years in Mount Pleasant, it became a neighborhood icon and cultural fixture.

Thanks to the hard work of John Acher (1946-2004), a founding member of the collective and one of DC’s most prominent socialists, the LSC was a center of leftist political activism and neighborhood advocacy for decades.

Through the anti-globalization & anti-war times of the late 90s and early 00s, when we housed & resourced out of town protesters and artists, we evolved into a living community of socially conscious artists and activists. After a decade living under the threat of eviction, we were forced from our Mount Pleasant home by a house-flipping landlord in June 2016.

Through the hard work of a few Collective residents working on an emergency timeline, we found a new home in Park View. We changed our name (but kept our initials) to christen our new home and build our continuing legacy: we are now the Love + Solidarity Collective.
As we approach half a century in existence we continue to bring our community together by hosting organizing meetings, film screenings, musical performances, community dialogues, and unique events like Salon de Libertad–our annual celebration of local art.

Street Sense Media Filmmakers Cooperative

In the Street Sense Filmmakers Cooperative, participants create and share visual narratives from the viewpoint of the street. In the process, co-op members learn the methods and tools of cinematic production (literacy and resume skills) as they help activate one another’s stories.

View their videos here.

Read more about the co-op in The Washington PostThe Atlantic‘s CityLab, PBS, and  The Washington City Paper.

Listen to the cooperative at this weekend’s DC Historical Studies Conference. They will be speaking on Saturday, November 23rd, 5:15 – 6:30 pm, Special Performance with the Humanities Truck exhibit, “Downtown Displaced: A Case Study of Gentrification in Mount Vernon Square 1840-Present.” Street Sense Media Filmmakers Cooperative performers will provide their own interpretation of the neighborhood change and the meaning of Apple moving into Mt. Vernon Square. Performers: Bryan Bello, Street Sense Media Filmmakers Cooperative, Reginald Black, Street Sense Media Filmmakers Cooperative, Angie Whitehurst, Street Sense Media Filmmakers Cooperative.

International Association for the Economics of Participation

The International Association for the Economics of Participation (IAFEP) gathers scholars dedicated to exploring the economics of democratic and participatory organizations, such as labor-managed firms, cooperatives and firms with broad-based employee share-ownership, profit sharing and worker participation schemes, as well as democratic nonprofit, community and social enterprises. The IAFEP Conference, which take place every two years, provides an international forum for presentations and discussions of current research on the economics of participation. The 2020 IAFEP Conference will be held in La Jolla, CA June 21-24 alongside and in collaboration with the Beyster Symposium, sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing of Rutgers University.

Key themes:

  1. Development and dynamics of financial and decision‐making participation
  2. Effects of participation on firms’ and workers’ outcomes
  3. Socio‐economic and political environment
  4. Economic participation and political democracy

For further questions: e‐mail Trevor Young‐Hyman and Nathalie Magneat

Extended Abstracts (max. 1000 words) in English should be sent by e‐mail to Trevor Young‐Hyman and Nathalie Magneat by February 28, 2020.