Funding the Cooperative City explores, promotes and assists experiments in community-led urban development in European cities. Through workshops (Rotterdam, Berlin and Paris in 2014 and BudapestMadridRomeRotterdamBratislavaPrague and Warsaw in 2016) as well as investigative reports, video portraits and a publication, the project brings together protagonists from various cities to help shaping a new European culture of urban development based on community-driven initiatives, civic economic models and cooperative ownership.

Funding the Cooperative City focuses on the post-welfare transition of today’s European societies: with austerity measures and the financialisation of real estate stocks and urban services, the gradual withdrawal of the state and municipal administrations from providing certain services and maintaining certain spaces have prompted citizen initiatives and professional groups to organise their own services and venues.

The self-organisation of new spaces of work, culture and social welfare was made possible by various socio-economic circumstances: unemployment, solidarity networks, changing real estate prices and ownership patters created opportunities for stepping out of the regular dynamisms of real estate development. In some cases, cooperative ownership structures exclude the possibility of real estate speculation, in others, new welfare services are integrated in local economic tissues, relying on unused resources and capacities. The new cooperative development processes also witnessed the emergence of new types of investors, operating along principles of ethics or sustainability, or working on moving properties off the market.

Initiated by Eutropian, Funding the Cooperative City presents cases of emerging community-led real estate development projects from all over Europe in a series of workshops, video portraits and a publication. By looking at the economic contexts in which these initiatives unfold and the social challenges to which they give answers, as well as by analysing the ownership, management and economic models and urban impacts of the presented projects, the workshops and the publication have highlighted new urban development tendencies and emerging actors in contemporary European societies.

The project’s objective is to highlight the potentials of new, community-based logics of urban development, and to inspire new commitments and frameworks enabling similar experiments to unfold. We work on making the project influential at various levels: while helping initiatives “on the ground”, we also engage politicians, municipal officers and financial decision-makers to help these new processes.