Designing the Conditions: Cooperative Housing in America

At the heart of how we conceive of housing in the United States lies a paradox: the goals of a house appreciating as an asset and that home remaining affordable for future generations cancel each other out. But there are existing and practicable alternatives both in the US and around the world that move beyond this dichotomy. These include limited-equity cooperatives and community land trusts. The studio will analyze the conditions that make these forms of decommodified housing possible within capitalist systems, at scale and across time. We will focus on Zurich, Switzerland, and selected municipalities in the US, including Burlington, Vermont, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Washington, D.C. Students will then design the conditions for cooperative housing for a site in the US, testing their proposals at a scale of their choice (architectural, urban design, planning) through a specific project. In so doing, we will proceed from the assumption that architecture, finance, and regulation are always mutually constitutive.